In the internet age there’s the obvious peculiarity of being at once better socially connected and not. The ease of communicating via social media has in some ways kept our relationships ticking along without committing to a coffee date IRL.
LA singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams has utilised social media over the last few years to build personal connections with fans, either by sharing song snippets or chatting to them via DM. It’s funny to think that people around the world “truly feel like friends” to the 21-year-old who’s never seen them beyond screen (the opportunity to rectify that was blocked by the cancellation of her first live shows). The current pandemic exposes the curious possibilities and limitations of relying on virtual connections, and with Abrams’ short career so far, that’s all she’s ever known.
The current slow-down has arguably fostered a more considered, intimate space with which to digest Abrams’ debut EP, ‘Minor’: seven emotional diary entries transposed to song form from the confines of her bedroom.
At its centre is ‘I Miss You, I’m Sorry’, the most pointed of Abrams’ heartbreak songs. Here, the musician mourns so badly for a disintegrated relationship that she longs even for its volatile parts. “I miss fighting in your old apartment / Breaking dishes when you’re disappointed,” she sings over a simple piano progression that unfurls with pining strings. There’s a universality to feeling like “Every corner of this house is haunted” with regards to a lost love. And it’s a sentiment seemingly not lost on the literal millions of people who’ve watched the song’s accompanying lyric video. Stuck in lockdown, Abrams filmed herself via webcam passing the time away idly in her bedroom. It beautifully captures the raw restlessness of heartache. 5.3 million viewers and counting seem to agree
’21’, the EP’s most upbeat track, is propelled by muffled dance beats, muted guitars and glassy keys. The relationship Abrams reflects on in ‘I Miss You, I’m Sorry’ pulls focus in again here, this time inviting voyeurism of a particular night that she missed her ex’s birthday. Like her hero Phoebe Bridgers, Abrams uses clever wordplay to deliver devastating one-liners: “When the night is over / Don’t call me up I’m already under.” Abrams toys with the over/under breakup trope, knotting her breathy vocals with an army of harmonies to fight her corner.
There are too few clear melodic distinctions across this collection, however. With the exception of ‘I Miss You, I’m Sorry’ and ‘21’, languid tracks such as ‘Under Over’, ‘Long Sleeves’ and ‘tehe’ are rapidly wiped from memory.
‘Minor’ EP confirms Abrams’ talent for writing cutting, confessional lyrics with the occasional jolt of a catchy hook. But, with time, opportunities to make her diary entries really pop off the page and burrow in your brain will likely emerge. Abrams is at the beginning of what looks to be a promising career – her global legion of fans united through whatever medium necessary.
- Release date: July 14
- Record label: Interscope Records