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✮ Olivia Rodrigo Presents Girlhood: GUTS review ✮

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

And we both drew blood, but, man, those cuts were never equal..


Album: GUTS

Artist: Olivia Rodrigo

Genre: #Pop #IndiePop

Label: Geffen Records

Non-Airable Tracks: all-american bitch, bad idea right?, vampire, get him back!, love is embarrassing, the grudge, pretty isn't pretty

Description: Roughly three weeks ago, twenty-year-old singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo released her sophomore album, GUTS. With twelve tracks and nearly 40 minutes in length, GUTS explores the "growing pains" that follow adolescence. In 2021, freshly eighteen-year-old Rodrigo released SOUR, the album that would jump-start her career and thrust her into the international spotlight. Following her debut album, SOUR, is no easy feat when songs like "Drivers License," "Deja Vu," and "Good 4 U" have racked up billions of streams since their release. Yet, GUTS strives to be different and expand on the rock inspiration of SOUR. GUTS is a break-up album, yes, but it is so much more than that. Rodrigo dares to define the complexities of love, modern dating, and womanhood, and TBH, I'm obsessed. I've been discussing the new album with my friends and roommates, and they say that they think Rodrigo is able to stand out in the field of the contemporary music industry because she has a different sound. She isn't afraid to push the musical boundaries and explore different effects in her songs. GUTS features a host of diverse songs and sounds, from ballads like “Vampire” to pop-punk inspo in songs like “Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl.” I especially loved the juxtaposition between folk and punk in one of my favorite tracks, "All-American Bitch." Soooo Kat Stratford-coded. Rodrigo and her producer, Dan Nigro, collabed to write the lyrics for the entire album, and I think they were able to capture many heartfelt emotions, from betrayal to insecurity. It added layers of complexity and beauty that the average pop album may be lacking. Additionally, Rodrigo use of diction and intentional phrasing in songs like "Lacy" and "The Grudge" have a poetic quality that is highlighted by Rodrigo's versatile voice.

The second single to be released, "Bad Idea Right?" uses guitar to compliment Rodrigo's vocals in a very fun way. The track explores the rock and punk Rodrigo teased in her first album. I loved hearing her scream in "All-American Bitch" and heavier guitar in songs like "Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl." I feel like the latter could be played in a remake of Heathers. This is not exactly a new side of Rodrigo, but a welcome one. I love that GUTS explores and experiments with different sounds -- it doesn't sound like a typical 2023 "pop" album, but rather something you might find on vinyl in Zia Records. GUTS has a vintage sound, something I truly appreciate it. For a contemporary pop star, Rodrigo is not afraid to try new things with her songs. Each track has a different sound, but I think they blend together well and create a cohesive sound/vibe for GUTS.

​ This album reflects Rodrigo's aging from a teenager to a young woman. Tracks like "Teenage Dream" and "Pretty Isn't Pretty" explore these complex themes -- societal pressure, beauty standards, and "sudden stardom." From eighteen to twenty, Rodrigo has had to grow up and face a complicated, challenging world. "Making The Bed" explores Rodrigo growing tired of her new routines and of pretending to be older than she is. The guitar solo has a resigned, angry quality that I deeply enjoyed. I have been trying to understand why this album feels so familiar, and I think I have it boiled down to about two reasons. First, GUTS is a very honest and transparent album. Rodrigo spills her GUTS about past relationships, celebrity, and personal/societal expectations. This aspect of the album reminded me of Taylor Swift’s Midnights. Musical vulnerability is so very welcome. Furthermore, this album reminds me of BTVS for some reason. ISTG, Buffy would hear Olivia Rodrigo performing GUTS at The Bronze in 1998. I got a very 90s vibe from GUTS.

Overall, I did thoroughly enjoy GUTS. While some may argue that a break-up album is redundant or overdone, I would challenge that GUTS tries to do something fresh and exciting. With a nostalgic, musically diverse selection of songs, there may be something to offer every music listener – superfan or hater. Keep up the great work, Olivia! ꨄ



Sounds Like:

  1. Olivia Rodrigo (SOUR-era)

  2. Hole (Violet-era)

  3. Dido

  4. beabadoobee

  5. Taylor Swift

  6. RAYE

  7. Avril Lavigne


Recommended Tracks:

  1. ​all-american bitch

  2. bad idea right?

  3. vampire

  4. lacy

  5. ballad of a homeschooled girl

  6. get him back!

  7. the grudge

  8. pretty isn't pretty


BONUS REVIEW:

Surprise, y'all. I have a second rec from a singularly unexpected source... Addison Rae? My roommate, and dear friend, Katya, recommended Addison Rae's new EP, AR, and we listened to it together. With four tracks, and one bonus song, AR is so fucking fun and girly! I will concede I am not the biggest Addison Rae fan, so I did initially harbor some bias. However, I was seriously impressed by this EP. "2 die 4" features Charli XCX, and is arguably the best track. Very poppy and sleepover-core.

"Nothing On (But The Radio)" is sexy and sweet. Loved the suggestive, fun lyrics. Very y2k pop vibes, which is fitting because this song was actually a project Lady Gaga passed on. Likewise, strong y2k energy and 80s inspo in "It Could've Been u." Catchy, and cheeky! Super slay. Highly recommend giving AR a listen if you like early 2000s music/movies, the color pink, or girly-pop energy.

Keep your eyes open for the EP's CD release on October 13, 2023, and live, laugh, love Addie.


Reviewer’s Name: Sophia Troetel

Date of Review: October 1, 2023


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