Spilling My Guts on "Guts"
By Tay Carthon
It’s a big day for 20-year-old teenage girls, Olivia Rodrigo has released her new album: GUTS. Olivia elevates her signature pop-punk sound for this new album. I’ll be going track by track to talk about what each song does well and what each song could use some work on (this is all an opinion and a pretty biased one, too, because I did listen to this album on repeat for a whole week).
Olivia starts the album off with all-american b*tch. all-american b*tch starts off as a folk song that transforms into a pop punk song halfway through, à la brutal from SOUR. The lyrical content explores the societal pressures and expectations placed on women. I think this song is amazing. It is a perfect song to throw on when you’re bottling up your emotions and just need to scream and shout lyrics to a loud electric guitar. Olivia ends the song with “I’m pretty when I cry”. Any sad gay person or depressed teen girl is a direct quote from the all-american b*tch herself, Lana Del Rey.
Olivia then transitions to bad idea right?; which was released as the second single off GUTS and accompanied by a music video. Bad idea right explores getting back together with an ex and the emotional gymnastics someone goes through on a night they decide to see their ex. This song has received mixed reviews from fans and the general public. It’s a song that sounds like it came directly out of an early 2000s rom-com. It starts with a speech-singing verse that a lot of people have said that they did not particularly like. The song then goes into a repetitive call-and-response-like pre-chorus that spills into an explosive chorus.
Vampire is next on the tracklist. Released as the first single, Olivia was dragged through the mud on Twitter/X for the cover of the single. But the song plays out as a piano ballad throughout the first half of it. I do not like ballads, so whenever I review a ballad on this album, it is going to be very biased. It explores Olivia’s mind as her relationship with someone who took advantage of and used her. As I said before, I don’t like ballads, but that doesn’t mean I hate this song. Vampire speeds up the tempo, brings in some drums, and becomes a sort of alternative track. I still find myself tearing up, screaming the lyrics along with her.
Remember when I said I hated ballads? Well, I lied. Lacy is the next song on the album and is a ballad that is my favorite song from the album. Lacy has a few meanings that fans are trying to interpret. Many fans think this is Olivia Rodrigo’s coming out song because it does play out as a love song. I, too, listen to it like it’s a love song. But what I think Olivia was going for when making this song was to express her envy and jealousy of other women. Both interpretations make sense and are backed up by her other songs. If lacy is about Olivia’s envy and jealousy about other women, then the song is directly connected to her song off SOUR: jealousy jealousy. But if it’s about the homoeroticism between Olivia and another woman, then that is supported by an unreleased deluxe track off this album titled obsessed. Which also could be interpreted as Olivia being jealous of another woman. The lyrics read: “I'm so obsessed with your ex/I know she's been asleep on my side in your bed, and I can feel her/I'm starin' at her like I wanna get hurt”.
Ballad of a homeschooled girl is the next song on the album and is actually the antithesis of a ballad. It is instead a pop-punk-some-would-say-masterpiece. It sounds exactly like it should be
on the 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack. It explores how bad Olivia is at reading social cues due to her being homeschooled. The song has a guitar and drum-heavy chorus with very chanty lyrics perfect for any loser teenage girl to make their anthem.
Making the bed is next as a self-deprecating ballad. Olivia reflects on her life and realizes she’s the only one to blame. Now, I love the lyrical content of this song and Olivia’s vocal performance. I relate insanely. But the song’s final composition is just a bit boring and basic. Either way, I still will listen to it.
Logical comes in to kill everyone with two ballads in a row. The song talks about how irrational love is and how Olivia was made to think this person loved her but, in reality, didn’t. I also am not in love with this song. I think the lyrics and Olivia are good in this one too, but again, the production and song composition aren’t that good. It’s just okay. I love the bridge, though, and will scream it at the top of my lungs.
Get him back was my favorite on the album on my initial listen. Get him back is also the third single of the album and had a music video released a week after the album’s release. Its opening pierced through my soul. I love the kind of rapping Olivia does here. Get him back explores the idea of trying to get a man back that you liked so badly but also just wanting revenge on him. The song starts as a punchy rap type of song, then transitions to a chanting anthem song about revenge in the chorus. This song is just for the girls who get it – they get the vibe.
The next song doesn’t hit as much as it should. Love is embarrassing is basically about what the title says. It is another pop-punk song, but this style doesn’t hit as hard as the other punk songs do. I couldn’t explain it’s just the vibe. I will admit I love the bridge of the song, I wish the choruses of the song were like that.
The grudge is another ballad on the album that sounds like driver's license’s sister. It talks about Olivia’s toxic and manipulative relationship. She expresses the emotional state she was in. My problem with a lot of Olivia’s ballads, and maybe ballads in general, is that there is less production going on in the song. Now, this is getting very personal, so don’t crucify me, but…I like the more pop-punk sound of Olivia because of the production and the sound and the vibes. [insert smiley face].
Pretty isn’t pretty is a song I cried to on the first listen. Jealousy Jealousy was my favorite song off SOUR, and this is the sister of that song. It’s a soft indie rock song about beauty standards, à la jealousy jealousy. I relate a little too much to this song, hence my tears. It is a song that could be used in an early 2000s teen comedy where the main character has had an identity crisis.
Teenage dream is the final song on this album, and unfortunately does not have a Katy Perry sample like fans hoped for. It is a ballad, actually a very sad one. It was written shortly after her debut album was released and talks about the complex journey of growing up in the
spotlight. Again, this song is not for me. It’s a cute ending that sounds orchestral but is not my cup of tea.
GUTS was Olivia Rodrigo’s highly anticipated sophomore album. In this album, you could feelher growth, not just her as a person but her talent and style. I’ll give the album arating of 8. Anyways, time for the moment we’ve all been waiting for: MY RANKING! I’m going tolist them from favorite to least favorite. Lacy, get him back, bad idea right, ballad of ahomeschooled girl, all-american b*tch, pretty isn’t pretty, vampire, love is embarrassing, makingthe bed, logical, the grudge, and finally teenage dream.