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The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Olivia Rodrigo’s new album is gut-wrenchingly good

Photo courtesy of @oliviarodrigo on Instagram.
Complete with 12 songs, pop star Olivia Rodrigo released her highly anticipated second album, “Guts,” on Sep. 8, 2023.

Over nine billion Spotify streams. Three Grammys. One full year in the Billboard 200’s top 10. After the 2021 release of her unparalleled, award-winning debut album “Sour,” pop star Olivia Rodrigo is back with a second studio album. Her album “Guts,” was released on Sep. 8, 2023, with 12 powerful songs that take a stab at a range of relatable sentiments, from regret and trauma to heartbreak and body dissatisfaction. With a slight lean into the rock and pop-punk genre, Rodrigo’s newest pop album does a great job of giving listeners an up-close look into her thoughts and struggles, leaving them feeling both enlivened and emotional.

First on the record is “vampire,” the album’s viral lead single released over two months before the release of “Guts.” Rodrigo recalls the horrors of a toxic and manipulative relationship, with lyrics such as, “you sunk your teeth into me, oh bloodsucker…bleedin’ me dry, like a goddamn vampire,” comparing the relationship to dealing with a blood-sucking vampire. Rodrigo declares her frustration with her draining past heartbreak, making this song feel emotionally heavy, yet strong.

Next up is the album’s second track, “all-american bitch.” Throughout the song, Rodrigo transitions between delicate guitar strums and a forceful percussion chorus, contrasting the expectation versus the reality of being a girl in today’s day and age. The powerful chorus is similar to the grungy, pop-punk sound of an Avril Lavigne song. The song thoughtfully criticizes society’s standards of perfection from beauty to emotions, while jumping into the recurring chorus that shines a light on Rodrigo’s inner thoughts of chaos and rebellion.

The album’s fifth song, “ballad of a homeschooled girl,” perfectly sums up the feeling of insecurity and lacking confidence in social settings. Characterizing her persona as “social suicide” repeatedly in the chorus reflects Rodrigo’s anxiety over fittting in, an emotion relevant to many teenagers. Who can’t relate to being paranoid in a social atmosphere or having fears of being judged by others at least one time or another? The song’s unique punchy and dramatic mood sums up her exhaustion with feeling insecure and unliked.

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“Playful” is the perfect word to characterize the album’s second song, “bad idea right?” Rodrigo narrates her thought process as she contemplates the pros and cons of spending a night with her ex. The chorus, “Yes, I know that he’s my ex but can’t two people reconnect? I only see him as a friend, the biggest lie I ever said,” gives the audience her perspective of justifying seeing someone who hurt her in the past. The song’s upbeat and energetic feeling allows listeners to relate to Rodrigo’s experience giving in to a bad idea.

Next is the album’s profound fourth song, “lacy.” With a continuous delicate guitar strumming throughout the song, “lacy” is sung significantly more softly than the other tracks. The song encapsulates feelings of pure admiration as she marvels at the beauty of a friend or love interest, with feelings of jealousy and self-loath mixed into the lyrics through lines such as, “Lacy, oh Lacy, I just loathe you lately and I despise my jealous eyes and how hard they fell for you.”

The album’s eleventh song, “pretty isn’t pretty,” delves into Rodrigo’s physical insecurities, from her makeup to her clothes and body image. She explores society’s standards of beauty while criticizing her own appearance, which makes the song relatable and understandable to listeners.

Rodrigo’s ninth track, “love is embarrassing,” mixes both humiliation and heartbreak. The song represents the feeling of committing to a relationship too quickly, and then getting one’s heart broken when it doesn’t work out in the end. “Love is embarrassing” speeds up the pace of the album with its fun and upbeat pop tempo.

Next is the eighth song on “Guts:” “get him back!” This song stays consistent with the punchy, pop-punk style of the album’s first two songs while staying relatable to listeners by criticizing an ex who has wronged her. The song goes into Rodrigo’s desires to get her past relationship back and to get revenge on him.

Throughout the album, Rodrigo mixes in a few somber, melancholic songs that stand out amongst the high-energy pop-rock style songs. The sixth track, “making the bed,” reflects on the reality of pushing people away and growing up. The seventh song, “logical,” expresses Rodrigo’s hurt and sadness after being manipulated and lied to in a past relationship. Next is “the grudge,” a song that encapsulates feelings of being let down and betrayed by someone. The album’s twelfth and final song, “teenage dream,” contemplates the reality of coming of age and leaving her teenage years behind.

Rodrigo impressively fuses relatable topics such as heartbreak and insecurity into her second studio album, “Guts,” as she explores new routes of maturity with her music. Recent consecutive weeks spent on the Billboard 100 chart and overwhelming numbers of positive reviews for the new album has put Rodrigo back on the music industry map and will continue to expand her success in the music industry.

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About the Contributor
Julia Levi
Julia Levi, Observations Editor
Julia Levi is a senior and the Observations Editor for The Churchill Observer. This is her third year taking journalism. Outside of the Observer, Julia enjoys listening to music, traveling, and reading. She also loves baking, hanging out with her friends, and watching her favorite TV shows “Suits,” and “Shameless.”

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