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GUTS by Olivia Rodrigo: The new Gen-Z anthem

“It’s a bad idea right?” Olivia Rodrigo spills her GUTS on her newly released sophomore album, but does it live up to the hype of SOUR?

GUTS is a diverse collection of punk and bratty rock anthems that could fit into the soundtrack of a 90s high school movie. Several of the songs on the album are witty and ambitious, all depicting a teenage girl’s messy mind, such as the opening track “all-american b*tch” and track five, “ballad of a homeschooled girl.” Rodrigo’s angst shines through the entire album, the way a rock star is truly meant to be. She yells with us, laughs with us, and cries us to sleep. 

Rodrigo’s first hit in January of 2021, “drivers license,” skyrocketed her popularity. Her subsequent album SOUR came out three months later, diving headfirst into teenage heartbreak with melancholy tunes, such as “enough for you” and “1 step forward and 3 steps back.”

 GUTS, however, takes a completely different direction than SOUR. 

In this album, Rodrigo branches out into different directions of her music and explores a genre that many people wouldn’t expect from her. Sky-scraping vocals, pulsing piano tunes and dismal lyrics that every teenage girl can relate to characterizes her rise to fame, yet her biggest hits on GUTS are the songs with the heaviest hard rock tunes. “bad idea right?” and “get him back!” are filled with lyrics about reckless behavior, such as “Now I’m gettin’ in the car, wreckin’ all my plans / I know I should stop-, but I can’t”. Rodrigo drowns it with a chorus of “blah blah blah,” portraying thrills of delusion of going back to your ex. My favorite part of this album is that Rodrigo makes acting stupidly and being an unapologetic teenage girl with the mindset of “you only live once,” fun. She remorsefully admits to her listeners that they will probably regret their decisions in the morning, but “whatever, it’s fine,” she dismisses. 

The opening track of the album, “all-American b*tch” stood out to me because it characterizes the pressures of being a teenage girl. She reckons with the impossible expectations young girls face today: to always be selfless, ambitious and most importantly, grateful. Throughout the whole song, it is almost as if Rodrigo is singing these lyrics sarcastically, which is how many teenage girls express their emotions. The twinkly guitar in the background going straight to an electric guitar with heavy drums depicts mood swings and the feeling of a burnt-out teenage girls’ experience. The entire bridge goes from screaming straight into the mic yelling “I’m the eternal optimist, I scream inside to deal with it,” to her saying, “I’m grateful all the time,” in a much calmer voice, which captures the essence of recovering from a mental breakdown and repeating those affirmations to yourself in the mirror. “get him back!” is also a huge highlight on this album, a song that reads right into the mind of a girl choosing between love or revenge. Her chorus clearly describes her motivations with whether or not she wants to rebuild her relationship with a guy who broke her heart or “get him back” with lyrics such as, “Oh, I want sweet revenge and I want him again.” Just the song’s title reflects all of her emotions, where one minute she wants to demolish his car, and in the next, she wants to get back with him. 

However, Rodrigo still includes songs with sorrowful lyrics and tunes, such as “vampire,” which was the first hit single on this album, and “the grudge”. The song “vampire” recognizes the theme of an older guy and a younger girl, and all of the issues that come with the difference in maturity. The song starts off with Rodrigo portraying a vulnerable young girl with soft piano in the background, and as the song progresses, a driving bass drum builds up as she begins to climb out of her shell and yell out her lyrics in angst. Diving even deeper into the softer side of the album, “making the bed” is also one of my favorites, because it captures Rodrigo’s stellar songwriting abilities with pulsing chords and a mellow guitar in the background of the song. Rodrigo never fails to provide her fans with dramatic yet relatable stories of heartbreak, which is why she has been able to grow so fast as an artist. She’s an expressive singer with stories and experiences that many find relatable, and she doesn’t allow her fame to get in the way of that. As a teenage girl myself, I believe Rodrigo’s album, GUTS paints the perfect picture of the angst and internal battles of girlhood. I truly see potential in her upcoming music career. 


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About the Contributor
Blenda Undrakhbold, Feature Writer