The Secret of Us

The Secret of Us

Gracie Abrams may be fresh off her teenage years, but she’s old enough to know risk and reward belong together. That’s part of why she’s done leading with fear on her stripped-down new record The Secret of Us. She tells Apple Music: “This album is kind of like the inner tornado, I guess, when you’re trying to present a way and then it just doesn’t actually really ultimately work.” Since Abrams began releasing music in 2019, the singer-songwriter has homed in on emotional leaps of faith, her tremulous vocals expertly evoking the tear-splattered diary scribbles a great young love inspires. On The Secret of Us, she takes stock of every crush and contradiction that led her to this chapter, reflecting the glow of formative past romances through soft prisms of pop, folk, and indie rock. The through line between these different shades of Gracie’s warm style, of course, is the kind of intimate writing she developed in a private journal long before songwriting with partners as esteemed as Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift. “I think the most important thing with songwriting, and it’s what we really wanted to do with this album, is just if you can articulate a feeling,” Abrams tells Apple Music. “I’ve always worked with people who I genuinely love and trust. And so, it’s been such a privilege that that’s been the baseline for me, because I know that that’s a really rare thing for young musicians—for musicians, period.” Anyone who missed Abrams’ coveted stint as an opener on the Eras Tour will welcome Swift’s feature on “us.,” a soaring centerpiece addressed to an older partner Abrams can’t be sure ever took her seriously. She isn’t afraid to face the anxiety around her own legitimacy or face it alone—Swift is the only feature across these 13 tracks. (“She’s been an unbelievable friend to me,” Abrams says of Swift.) But between the cathartic power chords of “Tough Love,” the twinkling balladry of “I Love You, I’m Sorry,” and the delicate simplicity of “Free Now,” the real secret to Abrams’ success shines through in her craftsmanship: She’s as serious as it gets. “I hope I’ll always feel like I’m chasing the next best version or whatever I actually need for myself at any given time with each album that I’m lucky enough to make,” Abrams explains. “But this [album] just matched where I’m at in such a real way.”

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