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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

After her first studio album Good Riddance earned her a Best New Artist nomination at the 2024 Grammys and opened for the most talked-about tour of the moment, “The Eras Tour by Taylor Swift,” the 24 year old singer Gracie Abrams released her second studio album, The Secret Of Us, on June 21.

The album, which features contributions from Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift, and Gracie herself, is nothing if not captivating, challenging and more extroverted than any of her previous work – we can say it a “risk”.

Abrams told Billboard this weekend that she didn’t set out to write a new album so quickly after her debut record Good Riddance dropped in February 2023, much less one that sounds so distinctly different from her past work. “But the songs just kept coming to me as intuitively as on that spontaneous night in New York, many of them about unrequited love so strong it ‘felt like a sickness’”, she said.

In a unique and impactful album, Gracie Abrams explores profound themes such as traumas, love, loss, addictions, and the darker aspects of life. Today, we’ll go track by track to better understand the stories and parts of herself that Gracie Abrams brings to us.

Felt Good About You

Opening The Secret of Us, with “Felt Good About You,” a slow-paced track, Gracie presents what happens after her debut and what fans can expect from this album. For some fans, “Felt Good About You” is seen as a continuation of her debut album, Good Riddance, and its closing track, “The Blue.” 

In “The Blue”, Abrams talks about a new love that appeared in her life unexpectedly, yet she can’t help but gravitate towards them and open up. In “Felt Good About You,” she sings about a love that had a lot of hope until it didn’t: “Felt good about you ’til I didn’t”. What leaves the listener curious to understand more about Gracie, her relationships, and her feelings. It’s a perfect opening track for capturing the listener’s attention.


For me, the best song on The Secret of Us is its first single, “Risk”, which was released earlier on May 1st. The music video, directed by her best friend Audrey Robert, captures the song’s essence perfectly. In the video, she is stuck in an angst-filled loop, searching for someone who doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, acting in ways people don’t expect, and taking risks.

As one of the most energetic and angst-filled tracks, Gracie sings about unrequited love and the risk of falling for someone who may not feel the same. 

"God, I'm actually invested, Haven't even met him, Watch this be the wrong thing, classic".

Despite the potential rejection, she takes on the risk and will go for it. “Risk” has lyrics so emblematic that blend seamlessly with the music, leaving listeners unsure if she is having a panic attack over this “risk” or simply confessing her love.

In an interview with Spin, Gracie described the risk as “equal parts heartfelt and tongue-in-cheek.” She explained that the song is inspired by “the mania before you actually even know someone, where you get it all sick and twisted in your head and feel like you have a fever and can’t control your body and mind.” This honest portrayal of love and its risks makes “Risk” a standout track on the album.

Blowing Smoke

“Blowing Smoke” is the third track, and it’s so addictive. The song narrates Abrams’ internal battle of moving on while still feeling jealous of her ex’s new relationship.

She starts by showing that she decided to move on – “I cut the rope and you fell from the tower” -, followed by insecure assumptions about what he’s doing with his new girlfriend – “Tell me, is she prettier than she was on the internet? Are your conversations cool? Like, are you even interested?“. At the same time, she asks her ex about his new relationship, expressing her insecurities and fears, intertwined with the desire not to feel this way and knowing she did the right thing by ending it with him.

It’s perfect for everyone who always checks their ex’s Instagram, wondering if their life is better with a hint of selfishness, hoping they wonder if it was better with you

I love You, I’m Sorry

On April 8, 2024, a track titled “I Love You, I’m Sorry,” the fourth song on the album, was teased on Instagram. This date coincides with the four-year anniversary of the single “I Miss You, I’m Sorry” which was Gracie Abrams’ first viral song. In this new track, she playfully references her earlier hit.

In the first song released in 2021, Gracie apologizes for still missing her ex. However, in “I Love You, I’m Sorry,” she melancholically reflects on how life unfolds, how she meets her ex partner, and her tendency to run away when faced with problems, making everything about herself. Gracie candidly sings about their flaws, always making it clear that she loves them but also asking for forgiveness for her actions.

I love this song, I am sorry…

Us. Ft Taylor Swift

If Taygracie are composing and producing together, we know it’s going to be an anthem. With a candle-lit fire on the night they composed the song, “Us” stands out on the album. 

During the third night of Taylor’s The Eras Tour in London, Gracie Abrams sang with Taylor for the first time, sharing that they were both heavily intoxicated when they wrote the song. The lyrics explore the complexity of emotions surrounding a love that seemed eternal but ultimately fell apart.

From the outset, the song conveys melancholy and regret. The repetition of the question ‘Do you miss us?‘ reveals the persistent pain and uncertainty, questioning whether the former ex-lover shares the same feelings of loss and regret. Taylor Swift’s collaboration seamlessly complements the song, adding an extra layer of authenticity and depth. Ultimately, “Us” becomes a reflection on loss and the search for meaning in a love that has passed.

Let It Happen

For me, one of Gracie Abrams’ most positive and exceptional qualities is her ability to convey the emotions she writes about to the listener, especially when it comes to developing feelings for someone new. “Let It Happen” is a proof of this. In just 4 minutes and 20 seconds, she captures the essence of the confusing and turbulent emotions of starting to like someone.

"I'm a walking contradiction and it shows got a history of being in control...Don't love you yet, but probably will"

Demonstrating Abrams’ struggle with trying to maintain control while simultaneously allowing herself to be vulnerable is a perfect fit in an album that includes ” Risk” and “Close To You.” which uniquely address the same theme.

Tough Love

Sometimes all we need is to listen to a good song and dance, realizing that a random guy will never be cooler, smarter, or more thoughtful than all our friends. In “Tough Love,” Gracie delivers this message, singing about how she will encounter random boys in life who might break her heart, but she’s certain it’s okay because that’s love and life.

The song focuses on self-care and understanding that what truly matters in the end is yourself. Gracie emphasizes the importance of friendship and the value of self-worth, highlighting that no random men should compromise your well-being or the bond with your friends.

I knew it, I know You

If “Tough Love” was about prioritizing oneself in a relationship, “I Knew It, I Know You” addresses the consequences of that on the other person. Set to an addictive beat, Gracie starts by singing that she no longer thinks about the other person and has moved on, creating a contrast as the other person never did. The song tackles feelings of guilt, responsibility, and a lack of remorse as Gracie acknowledges that her actions, focused on her well-being, caused pain.

Furthermore, the song explores loneliness and emotional disconnection. Gracie questions if the other person feels alone, suggesting that despite her achievements, there is an emotional void. Personally, this is one of the rarest “Gave You I Gave You I” saddest song on the album for me.

Gave You I Gave You I

The song “Gave You I Gave You I,” the ninth track on the album, presents a reflection on the feelings that arise after the end of a relationship where love and effort were not reciprocated.

The lyrics express Gracie’s sadness and disappointment, having dedicated herself intensely, only to feel disregarded and undervalued. The repetition of the phrase “Gave You I” emphasizes the sacrifice and commitment she invested in the relationship, only to realize it was not what the other person wanted – or needed.

The song also addresses the importance of communication and honesty in relationships, questioning what she asked for and what she is suffering for now, suggesting that the lack of clarity and communication contributed to the breakup. The feeling of being “used” and the resulting sadness are themes that make this one of the saddest songs on the album.

Normal Thing

In “Normal Thing,” Gracie reflects on what it’s like to fall in love with movie stars and how delicate and real those relationships can be. For some fans, this song is about Gracie Abrams’ relationship with Dylan O’Brien -photos of them together were leaked in 2022- whether it was for him or another guy from Hollywood, we’ll never know, but from the song, we understand that things didn’t end well.

Throughout the song, Gracie Abrams expresses resignation, knowing that while it was a unique and impactful experience for her, she doesn’t recommend getting too close to these illusions and this illusory world, because you’ll always end up hurt, it’s a normal thing. 

“Normal Thing” is a quest for something genuine in a world already scripted, questioning how real and possible it is, and how willing you are to have a ‘’different thing”. 

Good Luck Charlie

With the same name as the Disney Channel Good Luck Charlie(2015), Abrams depicts the end of a relationship between two friends. It’s no secret that Audrey is her best friend, with whom Gracie has collaborated on other projects such as the single “21” and the music video for “Risk”. In an interview with Billboard, Gracie shared that she feels a lot of love for both and is caught between mourning and wishing the best for everyone involved.

The line “I hope you’re ready  ‘Cause this isn’t what you wanted you know that it’s her or nothin‘” emphasizes that Audrey was Charlie’s great love, highlighting his struggle to find happiness without her.

The song concludes with a repetition of the chorus, leaving a blend of hope and uncertainty about Charlie’s future. In good luck Charlie, to be honest, in the end, we understand that it’s better not to break up with a singer-songwriter’s best friend because you might end up with a song.

Free now

In “Free Now,” Gracie addresses and reflects on a difficult relationship ending and the struggle between them and how it hurt both. Gracie expresses compassion and admiration for the person, acknowledging their internal battles, but also recognizes her own emotional limits and unmet needs.

Despite the pain, she feels a sense of relief and freedom now that it’s over. In a surprising twist, she ends with hope, saying that perhaps now isn’t their time, but she remains open to trying again in the future.

Close To You

“Close to You” was the second single from The Secret of Us and almost didn’t make it onto the album.

Written and posted online seven years ago, it nearly got left out, but after a 20-second clip went viral on TikTok, Gracie decided at last minute to include it as a pre-deluxe track. As she explained in an Instagram post:

“I wrote ‘Close to You’ seven years ago and we made a demo that I posted 20 seconds of, and you somehow cared about it enough for us to revisit the song seven years later. ‘Close to You’ was not initially a part of TSOU — it’s from a different time entirely. We had finished the whole record top to bottom, but I heard you loud and clear. Consider this one a bonus track pre-deluxe??”

“Close to You” closes the album with an upbeat, catchy song that makes you want to get up and dance. Like other songs on the album, the song narrates the feeling of falling for someone and burning with unreciprocated feelings. Gracie uses melody and her voice to convey to the listener that, regardless of whether the love is reciprocated, what matters is to feel and enjoy the moment.


The article above was edited by Malu Alcântara.

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Rebeca D’Angelo

Casper Libero '26

A journalism student living for the hope of it all