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  • Writer's pictureCasey Ollom

Olivia Rodrigo - GUTS review

Olivia Rodrigo is an American pop/pop rock star who gained fame from landing lead roles on Disney’s channel Bizaardvark and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. She left High School Musical: The Musical: The Series in 2022, after releasing her first album Sour in 2020, which earned her three Grammy Awards. Rodrigo has since released her second album GUTS on September 8th which has 12 songs, including her singles “Vampire” and "Bad Idea Right?”. She performed on the TODAY Show and the MTV VIdeo and Music Awards Show. She also announced the GUTS Tour along with a memorable performance at MTV’s VMAs.

Olivia Rodrigo with her Grammy awards. Source: The Independent

  1. “all-american b*tch”- 7/10:The back and forth between soft and intense adds to the message of the song of being the perfect American woman. The lyrics are clever, such as “I am light as a feather and stiff as a board,” alluding to the game Light as a feather, stiff as a board, and “Coca-Cola bottles that I only use to curl my hair”. The oddest part is the abrupt ending. There was no wind down or a fade out, it was just suddenly over.

2. “bad idea right?”- 2/10: The subject of the song is so immature, talking about how she knows seeing her ex is a bad idea (hence the name) and the chorus is awful. The notes she chooses for the line, “yes i know that he’s my ex, but can’t two people reconnect” clash and emphasize the line in a way that is not pleasant.

3. “vampire”- 9/10: The pain and frustration she conveys through her voice is shocking. Along with great musicality, the lyrics contain a clever metaphor when comparing some ex to a vampire, and creates an important lesson. The bridge of the song “You said it was true love, but wouldn’t that be hard? You can’t love anyone ‘cause that would mean you had a heart,” is fantastic. This song is so passionate and makes for a great song to scream in your car.

Olivia Rodrigo’s performance at the VMA’s. Source: NBC News

4. “lacy”- 8/10: It is a very soft and emotional song that demonstrates how much admiration Rodrigo has for others while hating them for making her hate herself. The line, “Lacy, oh Lacy, it’s like you’re out to get me, you poison every little thing that I do.” is presented in the way one would talk to a friend, but is also so spiteful towards Lacy.

5. “ballad of a homeschooled girl”- 6/10: This song is not bad, it is just not notable. The lyrics are fine, but not particularly impactful, and the artistry is not original or interesting. It’s certainly catchy, but it doesn’t stand out compared to the rest of the songs on this album.

6. “making the bed”- 8/10: The beginning reminds me of the chorus in “Falling” by Harry Styles. The song has a unique subject about feeling out of control despite controlling where your life goes and making your decisions, which the verse, “And every night, I wake up from this one recurrin’ dream, where I’m driving through the city and the brakes go out on me. I can’t stop at the red light, I can’t swerve off the road, I read somewhere it’s ‘cause my life feels so out of control” demonstrates so powerfully.

Source: Harper's BAZAAR

7. “logical”- 8/10: Everything but the chorus is good. The series of notes Rodrigo uses every other line in the verses is beautiful. The way she sings the chorus does not match the notes or the accompanying music, but the raw emotion you feel is you can feel every wave of sadness and frustration and anger and disappointment as she sings, and the bridge is where you can feel her frustration the most.

8. “get him back!”- 9/10: This song is so playful, and I think it is what “bad idea, right?” was trying to be. The chorus is super catchy, and the bridge is so fun in going back and forth between loving and hating this mystery man. “I want to meet his mom, just to hear her son sucks,” is such a fun line, and the beginning sets up the story so well.

9. “love is embarrassing”- 8/10: It’s so interesting to hear Rodrigo angry about a past relationship instead of sad, and it feels refreshing compared to the rest of her downcast songs. I think her frustration is most evident when she says, “My god, how could I be so stupid?” and “Just watch, as I crucify myself, for some weird second string loser who’s not worth mentioning”.

10. “the grudge”- 8.5/10: The vulnerability and raw emotion in this song is palpable. You can feel her trying to be understanding when she says, “You must be so insecure, you must be so unhappy, and I know in my heart, hurt people, hurt people,” but then immediately pairs it with “and we both drew blood, but man, those cuts were never equal,” which demonstrates her inability to understand and push aside her pain.

Shot from the "Get him back!" music video. Source: The Rolling Stones

11. “pretty isn’t pretty”- 6/10: The music is soft rock, but her voice and the way she’s singing clashes. Her voice feels very wispy, and almost gets lost in the music as it plays. Judging the song on just the lyrics, it has a great message and has similar ideas to “lacy”.

12. “teenage dream”- 8.5/10: The lyrics “I’ll blow out the candles, happy birthday to me. Got your whole life ahead of you, you’re only 19,” reveal her bitterness towards adult figures in her life so clearly, and as the song goes, Rodrigo develops the message of the fear of growing up, and not being enough anymore.


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