Rodrigo spills her guts in her new album as she sings about heartbreak, expectations and pain.
Rodrigo spills her guts in her new album as she sings about heartbreak, expectations and pain.
Juliana Conyer

Olivia Rodrigo shows ‘GUTS’ and glory with new album

Olivia Rodrigo stole the stage with her sophomore pop album “GUTS,” released on Sept. 8, 2023. “GUTS” followed Rodrigo’s first album “SOUR,” which earned her a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album and a Billboard Music Award for Top New Artist.

“SOUR” took the world by storm, causing many to wonder if Rodrigo could answer with her new music. “GUTS” is a dynamic, unique and masterful collection of songs that shows her capabilities as a writer and vocalist. Rodrigo explores the topics of love, beauty and jealousy with her music, creating a relatable and emotional album.

Rodrigo released the single “vampire,” on June 30, 2023. “vampire” is the most distinctive song on the album due to the mix of classical piano and modern pop beats that make up the composition of the music.

“vampire” tells the story of a girl recalling her manipulative relationship with an older man and how the experience has permanently traumatized her.

“I used to think I was smart / But you made me look so naive / The way you sold me for parts / As you sunk your teeth into me.”

The song conveys a haunting tone, and Rodrigo’s vocals amplify this mood. She sings quietly in the verses, then builds up until her voice soars in the chorus. Rodrigo has a full, layered voice that encircles the ears of listeners.

The 11th track on the album, “pretty isn’t pretty,” challenges societal beauty standards and expectations. The song has a nostalgic 80’s feel with an upbeat and energetic tune, a contrast to the sorrowful and hopeless lyrics. Rodrigo sings with a grungy voice and projects an undertone of anger.

“There’s always somethin’ in the mirror that I think looks wrong.”

“pretty isn’t pretty” exposes the human obsession with outward appearances and validates the pressure people feel to comply with what the world has deemed beautiful. While the message of the song is dreary, it reveals the reality of living in this society.

“teenage dream” is the final track on “GUTS” and reveals Rodrigo’s fear that she has peaked in her youth. Rodrigo touches on the deep-seeded fear that plagues many–growing up. She sings about being forgotten as she ages, a common thought that troubles many.

“But I fear that they already got all the best parts of me / And I’m sorry that I couldn’t always be your teenage dream.”

The song has a wishful tone and employs a piano playing the background music. The bridge is the climax of the song where the delicate piano is paired with loud percussion, creating a dramatic ending.

A song on “GUTS” that left something to be desired was Rodrigo’s second single, “bad idea right?” Rodrigo talks more in the song than she actually sings. “bad idea right?” doesn’t deliver an impactful message; the song is essentially about a girl who continues to see her boyfriend after they have broken up.

“Yes, I know that he’s my ex, but can’t two people reconnect?”

Although “bad idea right?” didn’t live up to the rest of “GUTS,” it’s still a fun song with a positive, strong beat that would be ideal for dancing or a party.

“GUTS” is a product of musical artistry. Each song has its own personality, mood and sound: creating an album with individual, unique songs that complement each other.

Rodrigo displays her talents as a storyteller and vocalist. Her lyricism is genius and elevated by her voice. “GUTS” is a genuine representation of what modern pop music should sound like and represent.

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  • S

    Susie BrownSep 21, 2023 at 5:04 pm

    Wonderful well written article!!!

    • L

      lilhuff2316Feb 3, 2024 at 11:30 am

      OMG i love her so much !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! she is fire??????