MOORHEAD — It has now been three years since Olivia Rodrigo released her debut album, SOUR. On Friday, Sept. 8th, Rodrigo released her sophomore album, GUTS, and took the internet by storm. After a few listens of each song on the record, I thought the album was a much grittier and rawer album compared to its junior. With fun, upbeat songs such as “bad idea right?” and “ballad of a homeschool girl”, it seems as if Rodrigo wanted to make this album more diverse with its composition. With twelve songs on GUTS, here are my reviews on each song after listening.
As the first song on the album, “all-american bitch” gives a great transition from SOUR to GUTS. “all-american bitch” has the same energy and feeling as SOUR, but in a matured and older setting. To me, this song felt as if it could’ve been a Paramore song in another life. At the end of the track, you hear Rodrigo knock on a door of some sort for a perfect segue into track two: “‘bad idea right?”
“bad idea right?”
The second single released from the album; “bad idea right?” is the anthem for making bad decisions. The upbeat tempo, the angst and rage of the song make it stand out immediately from the overall vibe of GUTS, and it is probably one of Rodrigo’s more risqué songs. I think it’s a fun, tongue-in-cheek song with a strong beat and fun lyrics.
As the first track released from GUTS, “vampire” felt very nostalgic of SOUR, but with a new twist that seemed to ode to Billie Eilish’s song, “Happier Than Ever”. Personally, when the track first came out, I was not a big fan of it, but once the rest of the album came out, it seemed to fit sonically and became one of my favorite songs off of GUTS. I think that the bridge of this song was the reason it immediately became a top hit on the US Billboard Top 100.
After the high energy of the last three songs, “lacy” is a miss for me. The lyrics are beautiful, but I am not a fan of the song. There wasn’t anything that stuck out to me within this song.
“ballad of a homeschool girl”
Rodrigo could’ve had this as the only song on GUTS and I would’ve listened to it religiously. “ballad of a homeschool girl” is a relatable song for not only homeschooled girls, but anyone who ever went to a public high school in their lives. This song has very niche lyrics, but there is something very relatable about this song. This one is probably my favorite from the whole album.
“making the bed”
In the middle of the album, Rodrigo gives us the masterpiece that is “making the bed”. This song feels like a very reflective song within Rodrigo’s career. Respectively, I don’t think I am okay after this song.
As the official anthem for anyone who has dated someone with multiple red flags (decided ‘official anthem’ by me), “logical” is a deep cut about a relationship that Rodrigo sacrificed her own needs for the happiness of her partner. The song hits in ways that I didn’t know could hurt, and during the outro of the song, Rodrigo still blamed herself for the partner’s actions and used the line “I know I’m half responsible and that makes me feel horrible”. Ouch.
“get him back!”
The chorus of this song gives “Here’s to Never Growing Up” By Avril Lavigne. Following “logical”, “get him back!” is it’s petty older sibling that is ready to stir up chaos and drama with the ex. Competing along the lines of “Before He Cheats” and “Picture to Burn”, this is Rodrigo’s angry song about wanting to spite your ex or frankly, any person who has ever wronged you.
“love is embarrassing”
This one was not my favorite along the first listen, but after taking a day to ponder on it, ”love is embarrassing” is the perfect song after leaving a partner who is still not over their ex. With lyrics like “I consoled you while you cried over your ex-girlfriend’s new guy” and “Just watch as I crucify myself for some weird second string” is a not-so-subtle dig at whoever had wronged Rodrigo.
OUCH. WHAT A DEEP CUT. “the grudge” is such a hard hitter and I have never been in a relationship that would give me something to relate to in this song. The lyric, “We both drew blood, but, man, those cuts were never equal” unleashed some sort of sadness in me that I have never felt and would like to never feel again.
“pretty isn’t pretty”
As a pushback to today’s beauty standards, “pretty isn’t pretty” lists ways that many people have used to try and fit in with the beauty standards of 2023. She also subtly alludes to beauty and the need to succeed as one reason for an anxiety disorder and getting medicated for it with the lyric “I bought a new prescription to try and stay calm”. I very much like this song and how it talks about the realness of the vicious beauty cycle.
As the last song of the album, Rodrigo is reflecting on growing up as a woman in the music industry. “Got your whole life ahead of you, you’re only nineteen, but I fear that they already got the best parts of me. I’m sorry that I couldn’t always be your teenage dream” makes it seem as if she is coping with the struggles of growing up within the entertainment industry and as one grows up, they need to fight to stay relevant. Rodrigo seems a little nervous about falling out of the public eye and as if she is wondering if the public and media will ever get sick of her.
Overall, GUTS is a great predecessor for SOUR. SOUR, though a masterpiece within itself, seems now young and childish when compared to GUTS. GUTS feels real, raw, and seemed to grow with Rodrigo over the past three years.