An artist like Gracie Abrams comes around once in a blue moon. Her songwriting is delicate, meticulous, and soft-spoken but carries with it all the emotional depth and weight of the songwriting stars she grew up idolizing. More than just an avid student of the likes of Joni Mitchell and Carole King, her influence spans generations, from the crisp pop aesthetic of The 1975 to the constantly forward-thinking approach of Tyler, the Creator.
"21," Abrams' latest single, is pure magic. Draped in deeply personal sentiment, the track plays out with equal parts wistful intent and lingering hopefulness. "Just because you're hurting doesn't mean I'm not / If it doesn't go away by the time I turn thirty / I made a mistake and I'll tell you I'm sorry / Sorry," confesses Abrams in a series of lines that could have very well been pulled from her own diary entries.
And while "21" is without question intensely intimate, it never feels overwrought in excessive mawkishness. The production is airy and light, drifting between understated pop swells and an infectious backbeat that continually carries Abrams through her remembrances and reflections. Abrams spoke on writing "21" alongside Sarah Aarons and enlisting Joel Little for production, sharing,
"Writing '21' felt like a therapy session. It was everything I needed to say but couldn't really, before being in that room. Working with Joel and Sarah, all I really wanted to do was sit back and watch them as I think they're two actual geniuses, but after ten minutes of talking it became apparent to me that they're such geniuses because of how comfortable and open they make you feel. Once we started writing it just felt like every sentence we spoke made its way into the song."
"21" is a song that breaks your heart all over again. In wearing her own heart on her sleeve, it becomes all too easy for Abrams' music to find its way into the innermost recesses of your own.
Listen to "21" below: