The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘GUTS’ is an emotional rollercoaster right from her gut

Olivia Rodrigo, one of the fastest up-and-coming stars of the century, just dropped her sophomore album, “GUTS” and it is everything a person needs.
The album cover for “GUTS” by Olivia Rodrigo. (Photo courtesy of Geffen Records)

Olivia Rodrigo’s name has become more well-known recently with her resurgence in the music industry and her announcement of her sophomore album, “GUTS.” Whether you know her name from “Bizaardvark,” “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” or her debut album, “SOUR,” it seems like she has become a superstar. I have been a fan since “Bizaardvark,” but no matter when you jumped on Rodrigo’s fame-train, the release of her sophomore album has been an exciting date marked on many calendars. 

When she first announced her sophomore album, I had high hopes. She has been flying under the radar for almost two years, with her first album coming out back in May 2021. I was excited when she hinted at new content and eventually announced the release of her album “GUTS,” with the debut single “vampire.” I was hesitant at first of her new song, because I’m not a big fan of fantasy and the metaphor seemed a little childish. Upon first listen, I was intrigued. 

Starting off with soft piano, the opening lyrics were very bitter and sarcastic, which drew me in. Her tone throughout the song is dripping in malice and hatred and the beat drop made my jaw drop, and although I was waiting for it during the song, I was not disappointed. The disdainful lyrics of the bridge paired with the drums pack a powerful punch and make the bridge memorable. It was something so different from her debut album and you could tell the songwriting and production really came from within — it no longer seemed surface level, which was a common complaint about her first album. The lyrics were personal and full of raw emotion.  

Right after her release of “vampire,” we were swiftly blessed with her tracklist. All of the songs had such interesting names that gave me high hopes for the release. Just a few days later, she announced “bad idea right?” Given the angst and misery of “vampire,” I was really thrown a curveball with this one. I had no clue what to expect because I didn’t listen to any of the teasers she posted, but I was ready to listen to it as soon as it came out. I loved the more high-spirited rhythm of this song, as well as the contrast to “vampire” it posed. It opens with drums and more flirtatious lyrics. This song gives “hot girl anthem” and is one of those songs you scream in the car or dance to. 

When the full album came out,  I was in the Gillette Seminar room with a large group of people, many of whom I didn’t know before that moment. We were in the middle of “Barbie,” but immediately paused it to listen to “GUTS.” I had a range of emotions, but overall, I loved it. Listening to the album, you can tell she’s matured both as a person and in her musical talents. 

The album’s opener is “all-american bitch,” which starts off with soft acoustic guitar and soothing lyrics, making the drastic shift to hard drums in the chorus quite unexpected. It has a mellow vibe with more unhurried, soft-sounding verses and then shifts to the punk rock-esque chorus. The lyrics are very witty but also quite empowering and carry a sense of confidence, with the bridge sounding like an affirmation to herself.

Next up, “lacy” is the definition of perfection. I absolutely love the love song vibe this track gives. The harmonies and the softness of her voice in the song are so impactful and it is such a shift from the songs before. In my opinion, this would be a beautiful song to slow dance to, even though the lyrics take a turn at the end, going from sweet and admiring to loathing and hateful. The content and melody of this song made it one of my favorites. 

“ballad of a homeschooled girl” is a lot more energetic than the song before. It seems like Rodrigo was alternating between upbeat and gentle songs. The lyrics of this song made me laugh while also hitting close to home. This song seems like a lively self-critique that very well could have been written in multiple different ways. I loved the Y2K sound of the song, leaning more into the indie alternative genre rather than pop.

“making the bed” has a slower start than the others, but the chorus made up for it. The actual song isn’t my favorite, but the songwriting is really beautiful. I just didn’t particularly like the rhythm of the song and the overall repetition in the song. In this album, it seems like Rodrigo is more aware of herself and has been writing more about her experiences and feelings on a deeper level.

“logical” is truly a melancholic song. The whole song is pretty mellow but the bridge is beautiful and the ending was a great way to conclude a song this dismal. It made me want to give Rodrigo a hug. She is talking about how she was “half responsible” and she knows she “could’ve stopped it all,” which isn’t true because abusive relationships of any magnitude are hard to leave.  I’m not going to lie, the chorus sounds a little childish at first, with lyrics like “two plus two equals five,” but she does a great job of relating it to the theme of the song — believing everything someone told her in a previous relationship, even though it was all a lie and never actually made sense. 

“get him back!” is a fun song, but was not my favorite musically. It’s a brighter song, but it still seems steady, almost like a chant rather than a rant. A lot of the song seems very surface-level with the lyrics. She doesn’t use complex language or many metaphors, with her chorus’s use of  “I wanna make him really jealous, wanna make him feel bad” and “I really miss him and it makes me real sad,” compared to the rest of her songs being super deep and personal. But, it seems very self-empowering while also being a great break-up anthem.

The title of “love is embarrassing” made me think this one was going to be a mournful song, but it is super vivacious, and I absolutely love it. This is also another great break-up anthem with the fast beat and the angst-laced lyrics. This is another song you could jump around and sing at the top of your lungs. 

“the grudge” killed me on the inside. As soon as it started playing and I saw the lyrics, I immediately started tearing up. I love this song and I still feel it in my core. Her songwriting abilities show in the beautifully raw lyrics. This song talks about being hurt by someone you gave your all to and it eating you up alive. That experience will follow you and haunt you, but most importantly, she repeats how you think you’ll never be able to forgive them for what they did. You can relate this song to any sort of break-up, whether it’s a friendship or romantic relationship. 

“pretty isn’t pretty” opens with a more animated tempo, which was a bit of a jumpscare following the last song. This is another one of those songs that has melancholic lyrics yet an upbeat rhythm. The lyrics speak to the experiences of many young-adults: being insecure despite everyone telling you otherwise and feeling like you’re never enough for everyone. 

Ending with “teenage dream,” the album closed with such a regretful song about growing up and growing out of things. I can see this going on everyone’s “growing up” playlists, even if it is about her being with someone who is older than her. The bridge is definitely my favorite part of the song, going from the melancholy piano to angry drums. 

Her album brought out old feelings I thought I had buried, and it made me realize I’m not the only one with these feelings. She was able to convert these feelings into such elegant songwriting and produce a heavenly album that I will always listen to. All the songs are their own and there is definitely something for everyone, which is another reason why I am obsessed with it. With her album clocking in at 39 minutes and 18 seconds, it was one of the best 39 minutes and 18 seconds of my life, and made me excited for what Rodrigo will produce next.

Leave a comment
About the Contributor
Kailey Aldrich
Kailey Aldrich, Staff Writer
Kailey Aldrich (‘27) is from Olmsted Township, Ohio, and studies biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering. She is a Life staff writer interested in anything and everything, but she loves creative writing. She is great at relaxing and having fun with her friends instead of studying. You can reach her at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments