Olivia Rodrigo: Guts | Review
By Jana Neimanns
Are you ready to spill your guts?
Olivia Rodrigo released her new album Guts in September 2023. It has been extremely popular and was ranked #1 in the Billboard 200 chart upon release. Since then, the album has been placed anywhere from the Top 10 to Top 100.
The album has a distinct diary-written feel, making it seem as if Rodrigo has written out her most private thoughts for all of us to hear. Her first album, Sour, was released in 2021 and showcased her ability to use songwriting to work through her personal dilemmas. With Guts, Rodrigo has done it again and focused a bit more on the overall struggles of being a teenager but feeling like an adult.
The themes of the album range from heartbreak to social anxiety and everything in between.
The problems she articulates are familiar to any girl, so Rodrigo is able to foster a sense of connection between herself and the immense crowd of girls out there following her music. Women worldwide seem to understand and relate to her songs because they’ve been through the same situations.
Similar to her first album, Guts is comprised of 12 songs, and the names of each song are in lowercase letters. The album can be categorised as pop/rock, although certain songs are more one than the other. ‘all-american bitch’ and ‘ballad of a homeschooled girl’ are the most rock-heavy songs on the album. In contrast, ‘making the bed’, ‘the grudge’ and ‘teenage dream’ are calmer and fit more closely into the ballad category.
Rodrigo’s album can be seen as a social commentary, as all her songs reflect on an issue of modern society in a unique way.
‘all-american bitch’ comments on the hardships of being a girl in today’s age, highlighting contradictions in how women are told to behave. Rodrigo points out that, on the one hand, women are weak if they show emotion; however, if they do cry, they need to make up for this weakness by still being pretty. Rodrigo screams about all of the anger and frustrations that come with being a woman. ‘the grudge’ and ‘get him back!’ both discuss boy trouble, which for many is a big part of growing up. Women connect to these songs because it’s something almost everyone can relate to. Not to forget ‘vampire’, the single that was the teaser for the album. It starts slow before building up to a faster chorus and discusses the toxic way in which Rodrigo has been used by men. The singer makes her feelings heard in this album as she struggles to find a way to work through heartbreak.
Guts is a strong comeback from Rodrigo’s first album and has a more mature sound than Sour. Between being both relatable and having unique pop/rock rhythms, the album is a banger to listen to and I highly recommend listening, if you haven’t already.