Gracie Abrams’ debut EP, “minor,” is a true ode to teenage girlhood. The seven-song EP, which spans only 20 minutes, mixes soft vocals and harmonies with lyrics about past love and troubled relationships. With each track, Abrams seems to pull her listeners a little closer, adding another layer of detail to the ongoing story of her youth.
Abrams has cultivated a following of 334,000 people on her Instagram, where she frequently posts videos of herself singing into a microphone, accompanying her lyrics with an acoustic guitar. Abrams’ vocals are soft and raw enough to create a kind of intimacy on each track, and as a listener, it feels like you might be right there with her in her bedroom, listening to her put words and music to her most recent heartbreak.
Abrams’ most successful tracks, “21,” “Friend” and “minor,” are the ones that employ lyrical specificity, especially in the choruses. The second track on the album, “21,” pairs an upbeat melody with a quick, catchy chorus. Abrams sings, “I get a little bit alone sometimes and I miss you again/ I’ll be the love of your life inside your head/ When the night is over/ Don’t call me up I’m already under.”
The odd intersection of a quick beat and layered harmony, with lyrics about loneliness and lost love, is somehow the perfect tribute to young romance, which for many, is simultaneously sweet and fleeting. The song “21” is the kind of music that you belt out while driving a little too fast on the highway, a sad but warm track profiling a romance that didn’t quite work out.
“Friend” also stands out on the EP for its honest account of what it feels like to move on from a relationship, platonic or otherwise. The song begins, “Pictures of the old us got me feeling older/ I just thought you should know I never wanted closure/ But you had no problem leaving/ Now I’m the one to feel it.”
The song has the unique feel of a journal entry with musical accompaniment, a refreshingly candid and emotional track in a world of pop songs that feel increasingly vague and generic in their effort to appeal to mass audiences.
But Abrams saves the best for last. The EP’s title track doesn’t make an appearance until the very end. It is one of her best musical endeavors yet, both in terms of production value and lyrical poeticism. The song is about being a teenager — quite literally about being a minor — and wanting desperately to spend time with someone special but not having the autonomy to do so.
Abrams sings in the incredibly catchy chorus, “I would run for miles to get to you/ But you gotta understand I can’t ‘cause/ M-I-N-O-R/ I’m minorly stuck/ And it’s not your fault/ Just how things are.”
The song couples a relatively stripped-down background track with Abrams’ delightfully raspy voice, and the chorus is one of those melodies that sticks in your head long after you’ve heard the song for the first time.
Her candid lyrics, playing on the word “minor,” are sure to resonate with any teenagers who feel stuck in one place due to their young age, and it allows their emotions to roam free. Earlier in the song, Abrams references her curfew; it’s all the angst and excitement of teenager-hood wrapped up in a song that’s just 2 minutes and 40 seconds long.
Based on her personable social media presence and relatable lyrics, one could reasonably assume that Abrams is just like any other young girl who grew up in a household with a curfew and some ground rules. But her dad isn’t just any other dad. He’s “Star Wars” director J. J. Abrams.
However, at just 20 years old, Abrams seems set to strike out on her own with her musical career. It’s unclear whether her familial fame has helped her secure appearances on Jimmy Fallon and in the LA Times, but Abrams’ talent and songwriting prowess is all her own.
True to her young age, Abrams’ EP has all the qualities of a promising artist’s first work. At its best moments, it is cohesive and raw, but some tracks do not feel as fully formed, especially in terms of their lyrics.
As a project, “minor” is especially successful in songs that paint specific images about friendship, love and heartbreak, but it falls short on tracks that are more lyrically vague — where “Friend” struck a chord for its sincere exploration of a breakup, “Long Sleeves” did not resonate in the same way.
And where an album would usually give an artist the opportunity to build a certain kind of narrative arc in terms of sound and subject matter, “minor” functions more as a collection of singles, loosely connected in terms of lyrical content and Abrams’ signature bedroom pop sound.
As Abrams continues to explore songwriting, she is sure to come up with more thematic and extensive pieces of art, but for now, listeners are left piecing together individual tracks.
Of course, Abrams’ career is just beginning. If you follow her on Instagram, you know that she is constantly penning new tracks and coming up with thematic inspiration for songs.
Her page is filled with videos that showcase the artist crooning into a microphone while strumming an acoustic guitar. There are also many promos for her album’s release, and my personal favorite post — Abrams photoshopped onto the face of a young fan being held by One Direction in their peak boy band days. Words truly do not do the visual justice.
Though the EP “minor” does not feel fully fleshed out as a piece of art, it promises to be a jumping-off point for future full-length releases. Abrams’ organic passion for lyrics and music is very much present in each of her songs and in her social media presence. Fans of bedroom pop and breakup songs alike should keep an eye on Abrams’ career. She is just getting started.