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Gracie Abrams’ Song With Taylor Swift, ‘Us,’ Explores Secrets

“I don’t wanna keep secrets just to keep you,” Taylor Swift sang in “Cruel Summer.” Now, the theme of the cost of maintaining a hidden relationship returns in a new duet between Gracie Abrams and Swift, “Us” (which is styled “us.”), that premiered at the crack of midnight Friday morning.

The song is the fifth track on Abrams’ official sophomore album, titled “The Secret of Us,” which effectively makes “Us” the title track, give or take a few words. Swift fans know that a track 5 on one of her own albums holds a special place; does the same hold true for Abrams, fans may wonder?

The track is produced by their common producer, Aaron Dessner, of the National fame. The finger-picking intro, common for one of his productions, gives way a lusher balladic sound, in which the two singers’ voices are often entwined to the point that it’s not always easy to distinguish them in the mix, although Abrams gets the lion’s share of the lead vocals, and Swift gets a few solo lines later on.

The breakup theme won’t come as unfamiliar to fans of either artist’s work, with pointed lines that seemingly could have come from either songwriter’s pen. The first verse ends: “And if history’s clear someone always ends up in ruins / And what seemed like fate becomes what the hell was I doing.”

Later on, a few specifics enter the lyrical picture, which will likely intrigue fans of both singers. “You’re 29 years old / So how can you be cold when I open my home? / And if history’s clear the flames always end up in ashes / And what seemed like fate give it 10 months and you’ll be past it.”

The singers poke fun at an ex’s gifts of poetry books. “Robert Bly on my nightstand / Gifts from you, how ironic / The curse or a miracle / Hearse or an oracle / You’re incomparable / Fuck, it was chemical.”

Everything comes back to the question: “Wonder if you regret the secret of us”… leaving open whether it would be the “us” that is most regrettable, or the fact that the relationship was kept as a secret.

Is it fiction, or memoir? That part, presumably, will remain… secret.

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