Olivia Rodrigo – GUTS: Album Review

Olivia Rodrigo’s highly anticipated follow up to Sour, GUTS, shows that she is going to be around for a very long time.

Released: 8th September 2023 

Label: Geffen Records 

Format: CD /Vinyl / Cassette / Digital 

Disney Channel star turned pop icon Olivia Rodrigo is taking the world by storm. She is best known for her role in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series as the character of Nini. In 2021, Olivia released her debut album Sour which broke the global Spotify record for the biggest opening week for an album by a female artist. She also appeared at Glastonbury Festival to critical acclaim. Her highly-awaited comeback single ‘vampire’ was released on June 30th 2023 and is the lead single on ‘GUTS’.

GUTS opens with the pop rock track ‘all-american bitch’ which voices the pressures of trying to cater to society’s double standards and how she feels she must be the “perfect all-american bitch” to fit in. The song quickly switches from literal screaming to a sweet melody with almost passive-aggressive lyrics “I’m grateful all the time”. 

Lead single, ‘vampire,’ details a toxic relationship in which the speaker feels taken advantage of and drained. The lyrics “I used to think I was smart, but you made me look so naïve” describe perfectly how someone Olivia loved and trusted so dearly cruelly diminished her self-worth. Beginning with a gentle piano melody, the song builds up as the song and lyrics become more desperate and is later joined with frantic drums to reflect the overwhelming feeling of the situation. 

Arguably the song that people can empathise with the most, ‘pretty isn’t pretty,’ is an emotional reflection on what it’s really like to be a woman. Olivia’s audience is predominantly female teenagers and young adults, and this song speaks to the pressures of being a girl not only just in the current climate, but also in the music industry. This song describes the harsh reality of feeling like “there’s always something missing” and no matter how much you do to ‘fit in’, there will always be someone there telling you that “pretty isn’t pretty enough”. 

GUTS closes with the heartfelt piano ballad ‘teenage dream’, in which we get a true insight into the struggles of growing up. The song’s title parallels the lyric “where’s my fucking teenage dream?” from Olivia’s first album and this offers up a glimpse of how she now feels two years later. This track is full of questions, the most potent being “they all say that it gets better… but what if I don’t?” as Olivia feels she is surrounded by expectations while she is just growing up herself. The song, and consequently the album, ends with the repetition of the bridge, in which the music builds to a climax to reflect the build-up of pressure she feels. 

Following the release of GUTS, Olivia Rodrigo has announced the ‘GUTS World Tour’ running from February to August 2024. For more information click here

Watch ‘get him back!’ from Olivia Rodrigo, below.

Olivia Rodrigo: Website / X / Instagram / Facebook / TikTok / YouTube

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