Gracie Abrams’ New Single Risk is a Dramatically Charming Acoustic-Pop Hit

In 2023, Gracie Abrams released her debut LP Good Riddance, opened for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, and performed multiple legs of her own Good Riddance Tour as well as acoustic shows with collaborator stroke producer Aaron Dessner. What we didn’t know was that she was also writing her sophomore album, The Secret of Us, set to be released 21 June on Interscope Records.

The first taste of The Secret of Us hit streaming on 1 May, with the release of Gracie’s lead single from the project, Risk. The track was teased acoustically on tour last fall, but now, with its full-blown, acoustic-pop production perfected by Dessner, Risk shines with overdramatic vocal desperation and get-stuck-in-your-head lyrics.

Since her debut in 2019, Gracie Abrams has always confessed the deepest distress of her heart. But this time around she’s passionate, she’s reckless, and she’s a little bit melodramatic. Risk opens with the soft, willowy acoustics and whispered vocals easily recognisable as Abrams’ sound. But the pre-chorus leans into the tone of running home to tell the most over-the-top story to your friend, the narrative Gracie has voiced is the energy that describes her full sophomore project.

The chorus of Risk is an extravagant, cheeky delusion that a doomed relationship is worth the fall. Abrams’ higher vocal tones echo “God, I’m actually invested/Haven’t even met him/Watch this be the wrong thing/Classic!.” The simple acoustic-pop production builds upon a sound defined by Abrams’ own “Mess It Up” and “The Bottom,” with simple vocal layering and an addictive drum-guitar coupling. Later in the track, the slight lyrical switch to “No, I’m actually invested/Haven’t even met yet/Wish that I was kidding/I’m not and I hate itcharmingly depicts Gracie’s building frustration with her own neurotic romantic choices.

And let me tell you this – Gracie Abrams knows how to write a bridge. In juxtaposition to many of the soft-spoken lyrics in her discography, the bridge of Risk is written to be scream-sung, whether it’s in your bedroom in front of a mirror, in the car driving with the windows down or in a 70,000-capacity stadium. The turbulent craving for consolation in, “I’m gonna bend ’til I break/And you’ll be my favourite mistake/I wish you could hold me, here shakin’/You’re the risk, I’m gonna take it”, builds to Abrams crying out with frustration that it’s just too soon to confess her infatuation – “Too soon to tell you I love you!

For a first glimpse into what’s to come on The Secret of Us, Risk is the sparkling, more extroverted iteration of the candid lyricism and vibrant production that have already become a trademark of Abrams’ discography. With Gracie now fully embracing her flaws and ready to quite literally risk it all, is it too soon to tell you I love this new era of Gracie Abrams?

Listen to Risk

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