Olivia Rodrigo spills her ‘GUTS’: Album review

Photo courtesy of @oliviarodrigo on X

GWEN PAVICH | STAFF REPORTER | gpavich@butler.edu

In early 2021, singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo became an overnight sensation when she released her debut single, “Drivers License”. When her full debut studio album “SOUR” was released later that year, it was no surprise that it received 385 million streams on Spotify the first week of its release. At the 2022 Grammy Awards, Rodrigo won Best New Artist and her debut album won Best Pop Vocal Album. 

Since then, Rodrigo’s fans have been highly anticipating her next album. Her sophomore album “GUTS” was released on Friday, Sept. 8 and this young pop-rock artist did not disappoint. 

Before the release 

Prior to the full release of Rodrigo’s new album, she gave a teaser of what was to come when she released two singles. 

The first single “Vampire” was a massive success on its release day with the music video on Youtube surpassing 10 million views. This song is a powerful ballad that alludes to a much older ex-boyfriend who took advantage of her rising fame — “Cause girls your age know better/bloodsucker, fame f–ker.” Fans of Rodrigo appeared to love this single considering it earned 35.5 million streams in its first week. The song’s popular release sparked excitement for what was to come next. 

A little over a month after the release of “Vampire”, Rodrigo released a second single titled “Bad Idea Right?” which has a similar pop-rock stylistic sound to “Brutal”, a song from Rodrigo’s debut album. This song has an upbeat rock sound, and the lyrics hint that Rodrigo is justifying hooking up with an ex-boyfriend — “Yes, I know that he’s my ex/I only see him as a friend/I just tripped and fell into his bed.” Even though the topic is somewhat serious, it is executed in a comedic way. Additionally, fans were also excited to see Madison Hu, Rodrigo’s co-star on Disney’s “Bizaardvark”, appear in the music video, as well as actress Iris Apatow

With both of these singles receiving an overall positive reaction, fans were hopeful that this new album would be just as good, if not better, than “SOUR”. 

How relatable is “GUTS”? 

The album comprises 12 songs, equaling a little less than 40 minutes of music. While “SOUR” had more of a pop sound, “GUTS” leans more into a 90s and 2000s pop-rock style. 

Rodrigo’s fans appeared to connect with her debut album because of how well they could relate to those songs. Although many of the newly released songs in “GUTS” are enjoyable to listen to, there are a couple that seem to stand out amongst the rest because of how easily the audience can connect with them. 

Rodrigo’s song “The Grudge” is stylistically similar to “Drivers License”. She sings about how someone close to her betrayed her trust — “You built me up just to watch me fall/Took everything I loved and crushed it between your fingers.” Throughout the song, the lyrics indicate that Rodrigo may still care for this person but is not sure if she can trust them anymore. This emotional ballad is intriguing to the audience because of its relatability. Many people have had trust issues in relationships but it can still be challenging to let go of that relationship because they still care about them. 

Another song that has been tugging at fan’s heartstrings is “Logical”. This time, Rodrigo describes an ex who seemingly convinced her into staying with them — “Master manipulator/But you convinced me, baby.” It is difficult for all listeners not to feel for her when she is being vulnerable about how she neglected her own needs to stay in this relationship but was still treated awfully. While not everyone has been in this situation before in a romantic scenario, perhaps some could see themselves in this relationship in regards to family or friends. 

Although it may seem that Rodrigo only writes songs about her relationship troubles, that is far from the truth. In her song, “Making the Bed”, Rodrigo reflects on how this new growing fame has changed her life. She hints through her lyrics that the things she used to love doing are things she cannot enjoy anymore because of how famous she has become. Interestingly, Rodrigo does not go about this song pointing fingers at someone else for this, but rather sort of blames herself for how things have turned out — “Another thing I ruined I used to do for fun/I thought it, so I said it, took it ‘cause I can.” 

The phrase “making the bed” itself means facing the consequences of one’s own actions. Although her fans may not understand the consequences revolving around fame, they could still relate to it in a different way. Everyone has made decisions that alter their lives negatively, but everyone must come to terms that they have to live with the consequences of these actions in order to better the situation. 

Reception of “GUTS” 

Whether Rodrigo’s fans ended up thinking that “GUTS” was better than “SOUR” or not, it is obvious that they still believe her music is as moving and captivating as ever. Within the first 24 hours of its release, “GUTS” earned over 60 million streams on Spotify

Regardless if her fans enjoy her more angsty rock songs or her emotional ballads, Rodrigo seems to always provide something for everyone. Also, with the hope that the “GUTS” tour will be announced any day now, her fans are not going anywhere anytime soon. 

“GUTS” is now available to listen to on any major music streaming platform and in stores.


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