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I Know It Won’t Work


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Kristin Smith

Album Review

You know who J.J. Abrams is, right? 

Let me give you a hint. He’s a filmmaker.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the 2009 Star Trek movie, the TV shows Alias and Lost … all him. 

But what about his daughter, Gracie Abrams. Ever heard of her? 

If you haven’t already caught the buzz, let me tell you a bit about this multi-talented, 24-year-old artist on the rise. 

Other than being the daughter of an extremely famous filmmaking father, Gracie is holding her own in the musical world. She opened for Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour tour and Taylor Swift’s Eras tour. And, ironically, she sort of sounds like the both of them combined, while bringing her very own sound (and killer lyrics) to the table. 

She has more than 700,000 subscribers on YouTube, 10.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify and 2.3 million followers on Instagram. She’s also up for a Grammy for Best New Artist. 

In addition, she released an EP back in 2020, and another in 2021. And now, her first studio album, Good Riddance, houses the song I’m going to talk about today. 

It’s called “I Know It Won’t Work”. And it contemplates a breakup and all the complicated feelings and emotions that come with a decision you can’t help but second guess. 


Gracie is mulling over a relationship that is no more. 

She knows that her ex-boyfriend is still waiting for her to change her mind, and that makes her decision all the more difficult (“Why won’t you try moving on for once? That might make it easy/I know we cut all the ties but you’re never really leaving”). 

She admits that she doesn’t feel like she’s worth his waiting (“What if I’m not/Worth the time and breath I know you’re saving?”). 

Still, she knows that even though part of her would love to continue this relationship, the reality just doesn’t hold (“The whole facade/Seemed to fall apart/It’s complicated”). 


Gracie says that an ex-boyfriend is keeping a part of his home cleared for her, just in case she comes back to live with him (“Heard you keep the extra closet empty/In case this year/I come back and stay throughout my twenties”). 


This is an incredibly vulnerable song. You can feel the emotion in every word she sings.

In my late teens and early twenties, “I Know It Won’t Work” would have hit home in a lot of ways: The desire to move on from a long-standing relationship, and knowing that it’d be for the best–then questioning the decision and every thought that led there. Replaying memories and specific moments in my mind.  

I’d imagine that many can relate to these lyrics, just like I can. And there’s nothing wrong with that. 

There’s also not a lot of negative content in this song–at least compared to so much of what you’ll stream today. Yes, it’s clear that Gracie and this ex had a sexual history. But it’s alluded to without being graphic. There’s no profanity. No crude lyrics. It’s mostly contemplation. 

But listeners–especially those who feel Abrams’ lyrics powerfully–should still be cautious. 

Thinking things through to make a solid decision to move forward is a good thing. Wondering what could have been is also normal. 

But staying in that place isn’t. 

Remaining in a what-could-have-been state can become extremely unhealthy. It can lead to depression. Desperation. A lack of clarity. Problematic regrets.

So, when you’re ready to make a decision, do it. And then firmly close the chapter, move on and trust God’s leading in your life. It’s always best.

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).