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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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Olivia Rodrigo spills her ‘GUTS’ with sophomore album

Singer-songwriter+and+actress+Olivia+Rodrigo+poses%2C+biting+her+thumb+and+displaying+the+rings+on+her+hand+spelling+out+her+sophomore+album%E2%80%99s+name%2C+%E2%80%9CGUTS.%E2%80%9D+The+album+came+out+Sept.+8%2C+charting+all+12+tracks+on+the+top+40+of+the+Billboard+Top+100.+Tracks+on+her+album+vary+from+pop+to+punk+and+have+relatable+lyrics+to+entice+her+fans.+%0A
Photo from oliviarodrigo.com
Singer-songwriter and actress Olivia Rodrigo poses, biting her thumb and displaying the rings on her hand spelling out her sophomore album’s name, “GUTS.” The album came out Sept. 8, charting all 12 tracks on the top 40 of the Billboard Top 100. Tracks on her album vary from pop to punk and have relatable lyrics to entice her fans.

“I know my age, and I act like it:” this rage-filled line is screamed in the opening song of singer-songwriter and actress Olivia Rodrigo’s newest album “GUTS.” On May 21, 2021, when Rodrigo’s debut album “SOUR” came out, people around the world were shocked to hear the 18-year-old Disney star’s talented voice. Her debut album had an estimated amount of 295,000 sales in the U.S., and her musical and social career skyrocketed from that point on. Fast forward to Sept. 8, and millions of fans stayed up to watch the Spotify countdown for the release of “GUTS.” As the timer struck zero, people frantically pressed play, ready to hear the music.

Ranking of the "GUTS" tracks, beginning with "logical" and ending with "teenage dream."
My ranking of every song on the album, one as my favorite and 12 as my least favorite. ( Audri VanKirk)

But before the album came out, fans got a taste of what was coming through the singles “vampire” and “bad idea right?” Rodrigo used the perfect two songs to help advertise the album. “vampire” is reminiscent of one of her most popular songs from “SOUR,” “drivers license,” which was Rodrigo’s first hit on her debut album, hitting No. 1 for eight straight weeks. “vampire” is one of Rodrigo’s most well-performing songs, taking only 15 days to hit the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100. “bad idea right?” is an amazing second single — it’s relatable and fun to sing along to, setting up the edgy theme of her album well and showing her pop-rock vibe beautifully.

Alongside the rock elements in “bad idea right?” the album has its slower moments, too. “making the bed,” is a more relaxed song compared to the singles, using rich vocals and insightful lyrics to spill her “GUTS.” Rodrigo sings, “Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to be where I am” and “I’m playing the victim so well in my head, but it’s me who’s been making the bed,” expressing her troubles with her sudden rise in fame. This slower song explains how Rodrigo feels like she is creating some of her problems or “making the bed” that she lays in. Being relatable and having a beautiful tune, this track is worth the listen. 

get him back!” took the internet by storm as one of the first non-singles to go viral on TikTok. It was also the first non-single to have a music video released. The video starts with two drumsticks clicking against each other and a voice saying “one, two, three, wait, is this the song with the drums?” then transitioning to Rodrigo’s acapella voice before the drums and electric guitar come in with a bang. The double meaning behind “get him back!” is made apparent with skillful lyricism like, “I want to kiss his face with an uppercut,” and “I want to meet his mom and tell her, her son sucks.” Being one of the more upbeat and extremely relatable songs on the album, “get him back!” is by far one of the most successful songs on “GUTS.” 

 Throughout her album, Rodrigo uses many different styles: she has some ballads and some more punk-pop songs, along with some songs that can even be considered rock. She shifts all through the album. “lacy,” track four, is a sweet and slow ballad about the toxicity of comparison, followed by track five, “ballad of a homeschooled girl,” which is anything but a ballad, despite the name. “ballad of a homeschooled girl” is a fast pop-punk song about Rodrigo’s struggles in social situations, relating it back to being homeschooled. The shifts throughout the album make her style unique and special to her. 

Olivia Rodrigo

This shift is also very evident between “get him back!” and its following track, “pretty isn’t pretty.” This second-to-last song is about unrealistic beauty standards and trying to keep up with the rapid change within them. Getting straight to the point, Rodrigo sings, “Bought a bunch of makeup, trying to cover up my face.” The lyrics do a great job of getting her point about unrealistic beauty standards across with lines like “I could change up my body and change up my face, I could try every lipstick in every shade, but I’d still feel the same because pretty isn’t pretty enough, anyway.” These lyrics express how it feels to be held to unrealistic standards; no matter how much makeup she puts on, she will never feel as pretty as other girls. Hearing somebody as gorgeous as Rodrigo sing and think this way about herself demonstrates how society’s standards can affect everyone, even celebrities as famous as her. It helps listeners realize that everybody feels this way about themselves sometimes, and you will never be up to those standards that society sets in your head. This song leaves listeners with an important message: learn to love yourself for who you are, and try not to care about what others think of you. 

“GUTS” has some beautiful songs, but it is quite short, and with only 12 tracks, fans were wishing for more. But on the morning of Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, they got just that.  As the first shipment of vinyl copies of “GUTS” arrived, they were in for a surprise: Rodrigo had four unreleased bonus tracks that she added exclusively to her vinyl copies. Each vinyl has a different bonus track based on the color. After discovering the new tracks, fans noticed something they had not seen earlier in one of Rodrigo’s promotional videos. The tracklist in the video glitched to show the names of all her bonus tracks: “Obsessed,” “Scared Of My Guitar,” “Stranger” and “Girl I’ve Always Been.” I am hoping that Rodrigo comes out with a “GUTS” exclusive album or releases the bonus tracks online soon so that everyone can give them a listen.

Olivia Rodrigo

Ultimately, “GUTS” is an amazing sophomore album. Rodrigo’s vocal strength, in addition to her captivating musical shifts and stunning writing, creates the perfect formula for a successful album. Rodrigo sings about relatable social issues — unhealthy relationships, beauty standards, and betrayal — hoping to connect with her audience. It is safe to say that with her creative brilliance and beautiful voice, she will go places in her career. Overall, I give this album an 8/10!

 

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About the Contributor
Audri Van Kirk, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 10 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? "One Of Us Is Lying" by Karen McManus. Who is your hero? My mom. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Ice cream.
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  • L

    Liz BarclayOct 23, 2023 at 8:18 pm

    Love this review! Great write up.

    Reply
  • L

    Lauren HolcombOct 20, 2023 at 8:28 am

    also the ranking is good but personally i’d put lacy, logical, love is embarrassing, pretty isn’t pretty, get him back, ballad of a homeschooled girl, bad idea right, and all-american b*tch ALL tied for 1

    Reply
  • L

    Lauren HolcombOct 20, 2023 at 8:26 am

    i’ve listened to this album like a million times and i’ve never noticed the rings on her fingers until now am i stupid

    Reply
  • S

    Serena LiuOct 19, 2023 at 11:22 am

    This was such a fun read Audri! Although “the grudge” deserves better.

    Reply