Album Review: The Secret Of Us // Gracie Abrams


After a Best New Artist Grammy nomination and a support slot on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, Gracie Abrams has returned with her sophomore LP, The Secret Of Us. She’s best known for her indie-pop music infused with sad, relatable and vulnerable lyrics. This record largely sticks to what we know and love Gracie for and it’s where she excels.

‘Felt Good About You’ opens the album by exploring a relationship that she had high hopes for before it faded into disappointment: “Felt good about you til I didn’t / Fell hard, then I lost your interest”, she sings in the chorus. This sentiment enables the record to feel like a continuation of her previous studio album, Good Riddance. ‘True Blue’ ended Good Riddance chronicling hope while falling in love. The continuation in this way is a bittersweet transition into the new era. 

The end of relationships is also detailed on ‘Blowing Smoke’ and ‘Tough Love’. ‘Blowing Smoke’ focuses on the jealousy felt after seeing an ex with their new romantic interest. “Tell me, is she prettier than she was on the internet”, she questions. Whereas, ‘Tough Love’ has a more optimistic outlook as she feels liberated after the breakup. “No chances I’m wasting my twenties on random men”, Gracie chants on the chorus. Both songs are all too relatable to listeners.

The lead single, ‘Risk’, showcases Gracie singing in a panicked cadence as she recounts falling for someone yet having anxieties about it. “Heard the risk is drowning, but I’m gonna take it”, she sings. It’s a catchy and fun track. In a similar way, ‘Let It Happen’ sees Gracie tell us how she is willing to risk everything for this person. “I’d bet all my money that I will / Lose to you and hand you my life”, Gracie confesses. It’s comforting to hear positivity in Gracie’s music and her storytelling is so infectious that it’s hard not to feel the emotions while listening.

Of course, the record also contains the much-anticipated collaboration between Gracie and Taylor Swift, ‘us’. This hauntingly beautiful track reflects on past relationships as they question if their exes miss them as much as they miss the exes. “Do you miss us, us / I felt it, you held it, do you miss us, us / Wonder if you regret the secret of us, us”, Grace sings while Taylor provides some backing vocals. Their voices are mesmerising together; it’s a heavenly listen. The song is definitely a standout on the album.

The production is largely from Gracie Abrams and Aaron Dessner. They work well together as the production is flawless. The sound is reminiscent of Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift, particularly the likes of Swift’s evermore and folklore albums (also produced by Dessner). A standout for production is ‘Free Now’ which has a cathartic build-up, like that of Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’. It works well with the song’s theme of liberation post-break-up; it sonically reflects the feeling of breaking free. The production is definitely not something to fault and will surely be appreciated by indie fans.

Lyrically, each track feels like a diary entry. Gracie lets us into her personal feelings and experiences around her relationships. There’s a reassuring quality to this style of music. This might be influenced by Gracie’s close friendship with Taylor Swift as it’s a feeling also seen in her songwriting. The anthology, at times, has the air of a conversation between friends about their experiences and feelings. Perhaps, this is due Audrey Hobert, Gracie’s long-term best friend, being a co-writer on many of the songs.

Overall, the record is a comforting and beautiful listen. It allows Gracie to cement her position as one of music’s next it girls. The Secret Of Us feels like an evolved version of the Gracie we have previously heard from.

Words by Connor Franks

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