Don't we all love spilling our guts?
Credit: Instagram @updateoliviarodrigo
I was so obsessed with the SOUR era–personally, it is a no-skip album for me. Before SOUR was released, I remember when Driver's License came out I was watching a countdown to midnight, desperately wanting for her to announce an album and falling down a rabbit hole of possible names. Next came “Deja Vu,” SOUR announced, and then “Good 4 U" dropped. So I have been patiently (not so patiently) waiting for new music.
With the GUTS era, Olivia has reaffirmed purple as her color with the cover of GUTS keeping a background similar to SOUR. By not completely reinventing herself, she pushes back against the idea that women in the music industry must constantly change in order to stay relevant. However, the darker purple with shadows on the GUTS’ cover signals a more mature album. Meanwhile, the chipped black polish on the back cover with the track list emphasizes the complex theme. They also show us she is a little messy (just like us).
In interviews, Olivia said she came up with the idea for GUTS back in the SOUR era.
She loved the notion of guts and all the phrases that come along with it: trust your gut, spill your guts, hate your guts.
Everyone wanted the second album to be called Sweet, but I love the meaning behind GUTS.
“all american b—h”
Olivia highlighted this song as one of her favorites from the album, so I was excited for this one. In her interview with Phoebe Bridgers for Interview Magazine, she said the inspiration for the title came from a quote from reading the book White Album by Joan Didion–she just loved the phrase and had to write a song about it.
The song starts slower than I expected and shifts to a more angsty vibe back and forth. The slower and faster parts show a juxtaposition, between how she needs to present herself as the perfect American girl versus how she truly feels about herself.
It shows the pressure of fitting the impossible standards and instead, her embracing that she is the perfect American girl the way she is.
The back and forth may also could have an undertone of conflicting identity being half-Filipina.
“bad idea right?”
This song marks the second released single on GUTS. This one was for the girls who claimed Brutal as their song when SOUR came out. I personally loved this one, I even bought the red heart necklace she wore in the music video. This song is different from the first released single, “Vampire.” However, I found that it was fun and playful. We see her more punk-pop side here, showing her range.
Honestly, this song was so real of her–she’s just like us. But in all seriousness, this song is not a sign. Don’t hook up with your ex, they didn’t change.
Credit: Instagram @petrafcollins
Vampire was the first released single, marking Olivia’s return. Since I love Olivia’s ballads, I have had it on repeat and I have made everyone around me listen to it. If you are a big fan of Olivia like me, you know she has loved the Twilight series since she was young.
Credit: Instagram @oliviarodrigo
The way she incorporated the vampire metaphor was the perfect use of the things she loves. I find this to be so special.
I specifically loved the lyrics, “And every girl I ever talked to told me you were bad, bad news / You called them crazy, God, I hate the way I called them crazy too.” One thing about Miss Rodrigo is she will never place the blame on other girls. I love that about her. It’s so important to be a girl’s girl. Remember that.
The first chords of this song had me hooked. This song has lyrics that appear soft with underlying darker undertones. The lyrics “Like ribbons in your hair, my stomach's all in knots” highlight how these all-consuming feelings of the girl you want to be can be negative. Ribbons are pretty; knots in your stomach highlight an adverse nature. Admiration for someone could turn into jealousy. This one is a favorite for me as it is very different from anything she has ever released
“ballad of a homeschooled girl
The hook drew me into the song, “Cat got my tongue.” I love the angsty vibe of this song as it explores social awkwardness (which we can all relate to). The song had my jaw on the floor. This song is another favorite for me and I was not expecting it to be.
The lyrics “Everythin’ thing I do is Tragic / Every guy I like is gay.” I gasped.
“making the bed"
This song reminds me of “Liability" by Lorde in its theme of self-reflection. I mention this also because it’s one of Olivia’s favorite songs. This one felt very vulnerable as Rodrigo accepted the blame for her actions as she dealt with the bleak sides of her fame. It’s not all glitz and glam.
This song is more of a ballad; I have a soft spot for Olivia’s ballads. This song explores how when you love someone, you can let them manipulate you to change the concept of everything you know. She uses the lyrics “ ‘cause if rain don’t pour and sun don’t shine / Then changing you is possible” to show how love can be all-consuming in a negative way. We do this because we think we can change to make that person fit our life. From a bird's eye view, this makes no sense. However, as the lyrics say, “Love is never logical.” Wow ouch!
The bridge, oh wow. Specifically the lyric “Can't take a joke, can't get you off.”
“get him back!
Oh wow, I love this one. I have never heard anything like this. Please get Alexander23 to produce more songs. I think this song is going to be the one to blow up. It’s for the girlies. I don’t want to see any men posting this on their Instagram story. Some of the lyrics are just so fun. “He saіd he’s siх-foоt-two and I’m like, “dudе, niсe try,” and “I am my father’s daughter so maybe I can fix him.” My mouth fell open.
This song shows the love-hate relationship with a crappy ex you don’t have anymore but you want back. As Rodrigo reflects, she misses him, wants to kiss him, and wants to key his car.
These conflicting back-and-forth emotions are something any girl who dates men can relate to.
The bar is on the floor (it’s underground). Through these conflicting lyrics, the song shows the complexity of romance.
“love is embarrassing"
This song has very 90s and early 2000s punk pop vibes. The title “Love is Embarrassing” is so true. Already, I am excited to sing the chorus of this song with the girls. This song is kind of when you take a step back from your feelings for the person you were obsessed with. When you take a step back you are like, “Wow I put up with all that”-- that’s embarrassing, and so is love. My favorite lyric is “You found a new version of me / And I damn near started World War 3.” Yeah, maybe it's dramatic, but aren't we all? Well, I am. I also love the lyrics, “Just watch as I crucify myself / For some weird second string / Loser who's not worth mentionin'.”
These lyrics connect it to the bad idea right? music video where she gets a call from her ex, and the contact is "Loser Not Worth Mentioning."
Credit: Instagram @petrafcollins
This one is my favorite. Yes, I know this is the saddest song on the album; don’t read too much into that. I am a silly teenage girl who loves my sad girl songs (I am 21). I will have this one on repeat, so don’t lurk on my Spotify activity. This is the “traitor" of this album. The lyric “The undying love I hold like a grudge” was a sharp stab to the heart.
I love the contrast between the words love and grudge. We usually think of hatred as something we hold as a grudge.
However, we can love people who hurt us and hold that grudge. It sucks to love someone who hurt you. But sadly who hasn't been there?
The lyric “Took everything I loved and crushed it in between your fingers,” shows how this person was able to take all the things Rodrigo loved and crush it easily just between their fingers like it was nothing. The lyric, “We both drew blood, but those cuts were never equal” connects to the vampire metaphor. Again, I admire the cohesion of this album across the songs and extending into the music videos.
“pretty isn’t pretty"
The theme of this song reminds me of “jealousy, jealousy. This idea that someone as gorgeous as Olivia Isabel Rodrigo could think she is not good enough reminds me we all are hypercritical of ourselves.
This is the perfect closing song. There is an art in choosing a closing song for an album. The last song of course is a ballad (my favorite type of Olivia song). This gave me chills. I love songs that explore the pressure women have when they start getting older. This pressure on women in the music industry is insane, everyone wants them when they are this shiny new thing, forcing them to reinvent themselves just to stay relevant. This is damaging. She paints the popular phrase pretty young thing in a negative light with the lyric, “When I am going to be a pretty young thing to guys?”
This song connects to ideas that Olivia began to explore in SOUR. In “Brutal” (the opening track of SOUR) Olivia says “Where is my fucking teenage dream?”
Being a young girl is so rough, it's the trenches.
Overall Review of GUTS!
Overall, Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album was more mature than SOUR, which represented a less complex first heartbreak. SOUR came out during my freshman year of college. Now I’m a senior and GUTS is here with a more grown-up version of me. GUTS shows the extreme love-hate relationship of a more mature love. I love how raw and messy this album was.
The album had a perfect mix of angsty punk rock, playful songs, and emotional ballads.
I love the album; Dan Nigro (Olivia’s producer) and Olivia Rodrigo make magic. Anything made at the Electric Lady Studio is a chef's kiss. I am super excited about the deluxe tracks "Obsessed,” “Scared of My Guitar,” “Stranger” and “Girl I've Always Been.” Fingers crossed I can get tickets to see her on tour this time around.
Olivia Rodrigo does an incredible job of capturing all the conflicting, all-consuming, dramatic emotions of being a young girl dealing with crappy romantic relationships while simultaneously finding herself. She is such a Pisces. I have found a new favorite album to listen to on repeat. I will trust my gut on that one.
Paulina is a senior majoring in Political Science and Women’s Studies. When it comes to her taste in music she loves her sad girl music. When she’s not studying, you can probably find her protesting about the latest in Florida politics.