Today’s Song: Gracie Abrams Dives Headfirst into Love on Her New Single “Risk”

Gracie Abrams © Abby Waisler
Gracie Abrams © Abby Waisler
On “Risk,” the first single from her upcoming album, Gracie Abrams depicts a dramatized version of her own life.
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Stream: “Risk” – Gracie Abrams

You can’t find love without taking a chance.

“I feel like that is the nature of falling for someone you don’t know at all,” Gracie Abrams said, explaining the story behind her new song “Risk” in a recent interview with Zane Lowe. “You’re kind of like, ‘this feels serious, but actually, I don’t really know what we’re taking about yet.’”

“Risk” is the first single from the rising star’s upcoming album The Secret of Us, which is slated for a June 21st release via Interscope Records. As she told Zane later in that same interview, it was also the first song she wrote for the new record.

The Secret Of Us - Gracie Abrams
The Secret Of Us – Gracie Abrams

The past year has been a whirlwind of productivity and acclaim for Gracie Abrams. She has opened for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and received a Best New Artist Grammy nomination. And now, just over a year after the release of her excellent album Good Riddance, Abrams has a new set of songs ready.

“Risk,” which was cowritten with Abrams’s good friend and roommate Audrey Hobert, is a catchy, upbeat song that explores the excitement and anxiety of jumping into a new relationship. The song’s foundation is pulled from Abrams’s life experiences, but instead of writing a confessional track that sticks to real life details, Abrams gave herself the freedom to dial things up to the extreme. “We were like, ‘We know how this night went down,” Abrams said of her conversations with Hobert in a SPIN feature, “but how do we amplify it or make it so dramatic that people want to scream it when we’re all at a show together?’”

Gracie Abrams © Abby Waisler
Gracie Abrams © Abby Waisler

The track begins with the quick strums of a palm-muted acoustic guitar. The lyrics set a dramatic scene from the start, opening with details about the love interest and the risk involved in chasing after them:

Look at me now
Said I wouldn’t do it, but I hunted you down
Know you had a girl, but it didn’t work out
Know you bought a house, but you had to move out, and
I’m not proud
Guess I’m just scared of you shooting it down
You can just talk, and I’ll stare at your mouth
It could be bad, but I want to find out

Abrams sings with a fast-moving cadence throughout the song, and her voice complements the gradual build of the instrumental to create a track that is constantly propelled forward. The song’s frantic energy skillfully mirrors the uncertainty of the situation Abrams is singing about:

God, I’m actually invested
Haven’t even met him
Watch this be the wrong thing, classic
God, I’m jumping in the deep end
It’s more fun to swim in
Heard the risk is drowning
But I’m going to take it

Gracie Abrams has talked about how her experience touring and hearing fans sing along to her songs has influenced her songwriting. In a recent interview, she said that she wanted to give fans something “worthy of their lung capacity.”

Being a part of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has also taught her a lot about translating her songs to the stage. “[Taylor] makes everyone feel seen and heard,” Abrams told Elle Magazine, “and she also at different points in the shows makes it feel like an intimate venue despite the fact that there are 80,000 or 100,000 people sharing the space. That’s what I want so badly, because the joy is infectious.”

Gracie Abrams © Abby Waisler
Gracie Abrams © Abby Waisler

You can see Abrams has taken these lessons to heart on her performance of “Risk” for The Tonight Show. In the live performance, which features Abrams on acoustic guitar along with a full band, the song has a bigger, even more energetic sound, and the drums are more prominent. Her vocals also have an emotive, breathless quality as she races through the lyrics, especially as the song’s bridge crescendos:

I’m going to bend ‘til I break
And you’ll be my favorite mistake
I wish you could hold me here, shaking
You’re the risk, I’m going take it
Why aren’t you here in my bedroom?
Hopelessly boring without you
Too soon to tell you I love you

While a performance on a late-night show isn’t the same as playing to a massive audience of your own fans, it’s clear that this song makes good on the promise to give fans something they can scream along to.

And even if “Risk” is a dramatized and extreme version of real life, it still tells a timeless story of risking heartbreak to pursue someone you are falling for head over heels. Sometimes, pushing past the limits of reality allows the truth to be revealed in unexpected ways.

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:: stream/purchase The Secret of Us here ::
:: connect with Gracie Abrams here ::
Stream: “Risk” – Gracie Abrams

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? © Abby Waisler

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