Olivia Rodrigo Album

By: Bridie Beamish

National/World Editor

File:Olivia Rodrigo 2021.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

On Sept. 8, teenage popstar sensation Olivia Rodrigo released her highly anticipated Sophomore album Guts. The album features 12 tracks, two of which (Bad Idea Right? and Vampire) Rodrigo released ahead of time and have already acquired hundreds of millions of streams. These new songs hint at a new era of maturity for Rodrigo as she moves on from the naivety shown on her Sour album over two years ago. Guts focuses on Rodrigo’s life within the music industry and overall experiences with betrayal, regret, and self-doubt. 

Taking a more 2000s punk-rock style with several of her new songs, Rodrigo’s music is a blast from the past. The album’s opening track encapsulates the star’s clashing pop and teenage grunge aesthetics as she sings about societal expectations for young women and how she both exceeds and fails to meet those standards. 

Similar to her first album, Guts dives into the singer’s relationships. Vampire depicts a relationship where somebody close to the singer took advantage of her. The title and lyrics explain how the relationship bled her emotions dry and sucked the life out of her. In reference to the hit single, Rodrigo declared, “It didn’t feel so different from everything that I’ve done on the last album, but it still felt fresh and exciting to me. That was a really good feeling. It’s something that we tried to do for the rest of the record.” Other tunes, such as Get Him Back!, portray similar relationship dynamics, but have more upbeat lyrics and instruments. 

The Grudge is a softer ballad representing a toxic relationship and the difficulty that comes with breaking free from a cycle of abuse and granting forgiveness. Logical is a similar song, as it focuses on the self-doubt, naivety, and manipulation the singer experiences in a relationship. Delving into the representation of Rodrigo’s self-perception, songs such as Pretty Isn’t Pretty showcase the singer’s insecurities and struggles to fit into unattainable beauty standards. The pop star writes, “I could change up my body and change up my face. I could try every lipstick in every shade. But I’d always feel the same. ’Cause pretty isn’t pretty enough anyway.” 

The record Making the Bed centers around regret and how Rodrigo isn’t happy with her stardom and current life. She writes, “got what I wanted, but it wasn’t what I imagined,” but it was her who’s “been makin’ the bed.” She revealed this was the hardest song to write and explained, “I’m so lucky that I get to do this. You have to be grateful. So many people would love to be in this position. But you still have to acknowledge trauma.” 

The album concludes with Teenage Dream, which reminisces about the star’s youth and how she feels that society has placed immense pressure on her at such a young age. Rodrigo explains, “I fear that they already got all the best parts of me. And I’m sorry that I couldn’t always be your teenage dream.” The three-time Grammy award-winning 19-year-old spends much of the song worrying about her future and that it won’t compare to her teenage years. Conflicted with self-doubt and the idea that she has reached her peak, Rodrigo ends the album with the lines, “Yeah, they all say that it gets better. It gets better, but what if I don’t?”

(Sources: Genius, NY Times, Pitchfork)

Categories: Culture

Leave a Reply