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Music Review: The Glory of “Guts,” Olivia Rodrigo’s New Album

Larissa Hofmann

“Guts,” the outstanding sophomore album from young superstar Olivia Rodrigo, which dropped on Sept. 8, is a fine follow-up to “Sour,” her award-winning debut record from 2021.

The first track, “all-american b—-,” features grungy lyrics through which Rodrigo unleashes her opinions about being a woman in the music industry. The song begins with her beautiful soft vocals, but she quickly pivots into a brutal punk-rock anthem, singing, “I am light as a feather, I’m as stiff as a board,” as a guitar peacefully plays in the background.  Only seconds later, Rodrigo breaks out screaming, “I know my age, and I act like it” into the microphone, as a heavy drum beat builds the song into a punk-rock crescendo.

The next track, “bad idea right?” is as easy to dance to as it is addictive. It starts with vintage pop flair as Rodrigo struggles with the romantic dilemma of returning to an ex. This part-spoken, part-sung track conveys the internal conflict pulling at Rodrigo’s brain and moral compass.

‘Guts’ touches on internal conflicts and the stage of leaving the teenage years for adulthood and validates the fears and anxieties that everyone feels growing up.”

— RHS senior Rishika Dubey

The single “vampire,” the third track, is a strong and emotional ballad that captures the intensity of Rodrigo’s feelings as she remorsefully reflects on a past relationship.

Next up is “lacy.” Rodrigo’s soft and airy voice shows her vulnerably as she sings about becoming obsessed with a powerful, beautiful woman whom she worships. A guitar strums in the background as Rodrigo sings about Lacy having skin like “puff pastry” and eyes as “white as daisies.” It’s her delicate and dainty presence that obsesses Rodrigo and “takes over [her] life” as “the sweetest torture one could bear.”

The beautiful end of “lacy” is quickly replaced by the hard-hitting, thumping beat of “ballad of a homeschooled girl.” In this song, the lingering fear of social anxiety eats at Rodrigo, which she conveys through lyrics such as “I stumbled over all my words / I made it weird, I made it worse.”  Relatable and catchy, “ballad of homeschooled girl” is bound to be a hit.

Punk-rock turns to melodic self-deprecation as “making the bed” begins to play.  Rodrigo has grown up in the public eye, but in this song, she reveals that her contentment with her current fame and lifestyle is diminishing.  Rodrigo feels as though she has only herself to blame; she has made her bed, and now she must lie in it.

The next track, “logical,” is a powerful ballad where Rodrigo describes the feelings of being humiliated and controlled by a “master manipulator.”  As soothing piano music plays, Rodrigo blames herself for not being able to end the relationship sooner, as she makes clear in the final lyrics, “Why didn’t I stop it all?”

The peaceful vibes of “logical” are quickly replaced by the sick drumbeat blasts of “get him back!” In the song, Rodrigo contemplates how she wants to get him back, by either reconnecting or getting revenge. In the end, she decides she wants both simultaneously.

Pop-rock vibes continue as “love is embarrassing” conveys Rodrigo’s emotional journey toward self-discovery while being in a relationship with a “loser who’s not worth mentioning.”  Rodrigo fantasizes about romantic scenarios that she believes she will never experience in reality, and listeners can’t help but hope that she’ll find what she’s looking for soon.

In “the grudge,” Rodrigo paints the scene of standing up to her ex, but it’s not until after their relationship is over. In the song, she practices what she wishes she had said sooner, during their prior arguments.  Rodrigo emotionally tortures herself over this breakup, wondering why she did not stand up for herself earlier and pleading, “It takes strength to forgive, but I don’t feel strong.”

A thumping beat ramps up next with “pretty isn’t pretty.” The song is a heartfelt reflection on self-esteem and the nearly impossible, ever-changing expectations that society sets for a woman’s appearance, which girls are encouraged to follow, as these images are plastered all over social media. Rodrigo feels as though she can never fit into society and be the perfect girl everyone expects her to be.

After 11 songs that take listeners on an emotional roller coaster, the final song begins to play.  In “teenage dream,” Rodrigo blows out her birthday candles, leaving her teenage years behind, while pondering why she still carries all her old teenage confusion, doubt and worries into her new decade.  Rodrigo reflects on her journey under the spotlight and expresses the pressures that come with it.  She can’t help but fear that she’s leaving the best parts of herself behind as well as she grows up.  Rodrigo concludes “Guts” by singing the brutal lyric, “They all say that it gets better, it gets better, but what if I don’t?”

Fans were not sure what to expect, but to no surprise, Olivia Rodrigo has released yet another incredible album with “Guts.”

About the Contributor
Jenny Bloom, Staff Reporter
Jenny Bloom is a junior and first-year staff reporter for Rampage.  She loves writing and is very excited to join the staff.  Jenny is a section leader in the Randolph Marching Band and has been a member of the RHS varsity swim team for the past three years. She takes great pride in being a member of National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, National Social Studies Honor Society, and National English Honor Society. Additionally, she is vice-president of the RHS Future Medical Leaders of America Club and hopes to make a difference with a career in the field of health science.
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