The Student News Site of Los Osos High School

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

Spilling My GUTS (Olivia Rodrigo Album Review)

Olivia Rodrigo released her sophomore album, “GUTS”, on September 8, 2023. After her chart-topping and award-winning debut album, “SOUR”, many fans were ecstatic for the release of “GUTS”. 

Already, “GUTS” has been incredibly successful. All 12 tracks have been on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album itself has debuted at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart. 

The lead single and track three on the album, “vampire”, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed in the top ten to date. I was extremely excited when it came out, as I have been a fan of Rodrigo’s since her days in Disney’s “Bizaardvark”.

Upon first listen, I was instantly reminded of Rodrigo’s first hit, “driver’s license”. It felt more like a continuation of “SOUR” or “driver’s license” than something brand new. 

While I prefer the explicit version, the raw emotion and ethereal vocals gave me chills and it was a song I would cry to because of it, but since the drop of the album, the emotional pain “vampire” caused me is miniscule. 

The second single, “bad idea, right?”, which is track two, struck me as an immature song until it was revealed that the chorus of the song started as a joke. Since then, I have admired the energy and I enjoy singing along to the second verse, with the pause after “I know I should stop” and the audible smirk when she sings “or in whose sheets”.

The rest of the tracks were released with the album on September 8. The opening track, “all-american b***h”, is the perfect opener for an album about insecurities, maturing, and relationships. She describes characteristics of hers that society would deem as “perfect”, such as her physical appearance, reputation, and persona. The modern rock, almost pop-punk sound, as well as the overall message of the song perfectly reflect the rest of the album. The Paramore influence is very evident, which I love. 

The fourth song on the album, “lacy”, is a lovely ballad describing the admiration and jealousy Rodrigo has for someone she calls “Lacy”. The vocals remind me of something Conan Gray would sing, which was a pleasant surprise. I don’t listen to the song much, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a masterpiece. 

Ironically, “ballad of a homeschooled girl” is not a ballad, but an upbeat song that I can see myself dancing in my room to, and I have. The song beautifully describes what social anxiety feels like and how every insecurity feels amplified. 

The upbeat and angsty music beautifully juxtaposes the meaning of social anxiety. My favorite line, however, is towards the end when she sings “can’t think of a third line”, which also depicts anxiety by feeling the pressure to fill silence, but unable to think of anything.

Track six, “making the bed”, is another lovely ballad. It reflects insecurity and a touch of regret regarding Rodrigo’s fame. She uses the metaphor of making one’s bed to describe how she put herself in her situation. 

The line “I’m playing the victim so well in my head, but it’s me who’s been making the bed” is heartbreaking at face value, but even more so in the context of the rest of the song. 

Track seven, “logical”, feels like another version of “vampire” with parallels such as mentioning a large castle, repeating how the subject has lied to her, and mentioning how Rodrigo was much younger. 

While the song is lyrically a masterpiece, I listen to “vampire” more often. I will, however, be listening to this heartbreaking song when I’m sad. 

The third single, “get him back!”, was released with the rest of the album and was instantly my second favorite upon first listen.

It depicts the bittersweet feeling one has after an unhealthy relationship. The double-meaning of the term, “get him back”, of either wanting to be with the person again or wanting revenge beautifully represents the meaning of the song. Everything about the song is a masterpiece and is still one of my favorites from the record. 

My absolute favorite track from the album, “love is embarrassing”, has been on repeat since the album’s release. The energy, the melody, and the lyrics all fill my whole body with so much joy. It also portrays the bittersweet emotion after an unhealthy relationship and while the lyrics don’t resonate with me, I am absolutely obsessed.

As previously mentioned, since the release of the album, “vampire” was not as sad in comparison to another song, track ten, “the grudge”. 

It’s very rare that I have to replay a song on first listen because of how sad it is and how much I resonate with it. After I had listened to it twice, I had to pause the music to compose myself. 

Another devastating track about an unhealthy relationship and the weight it bears, even long after the end of it, was expected, but I did not expect the lyrics to be as personal as they were. Rodrigo perfectly articulates the regret and guilt a victim may feel, and for that reason, “the grudge” is one of my favorites.

The nostalgic and calming intro and melody as well as the beautiful lyrics reflecting impossible beauty standards and insecurities is why “pretty isn’t pretty” is in my top five favorite songs by Rodrigo. I love every song by Rodrigo that reflects insecurities, but this one is my favorite. 

When the “GUTS” track list was announced, I thought the final song, “teenage dream”, would be a sweet ballad about finding love, but I was wrong. While a ballad, “teenage dream” is about Rodrigo not being able to live up to what society would want her to be. It reminds me of Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers’s “Nothing New”, which I love.  

While the message of the song is perfectly fitting for the album, I have not listened to it as much as the others.

With each edition of the “GUTS” vinyl, available on Rodrigo’s website, a bonus track is available. The four titles are “obsessed”, “scared of my guitar”, “stranger”, and “girl i’ve always been”. The latter is available on the Target Exclusive of the vinyl. 

“GUTS” is an absolute masterpiece and I look forward to watching Rodrigo grow as an artist. She deserves every award and record she has and more.

Donate to The Grizzly Gazette

Your donation will support the student journalists of Los Osos High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The Grizzly Gazette