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Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Review: Spill your GUTS: Olivia Rodrigo excels in her second album

GUTS-y album exceeds expectations
Art: David Tomz

Seventeen. That’s how old Olivia Rodrigo was when “driver’s license,” her first single and the top streamed song of 2021, was released. Shortly after, her debut album “SOUR” broke the record for most songs in the top 10 at one time by a woman, according to Billboard. From Disney stardom in her earlier teen years to becoming a world famous pop star, Rodrigo has accomplished many feats at a young age. Now 20 years old, she has faced pressure to match her previous success with her anticipated sophomore album, “GUTS,” released on Sept. 8. In this album about growing up, heartbreak and the struggles of a 19-year-old, Rodrigo does not fall short of expectations.


“Vampire,” the first single released from the “GUTS” album reflects a style similar to that in “driver’s license.” In the chorus Rodrigo demonstrates her signature melody of ascending notes. Fans speculate that Rodrigo uses the metaphor of a vampire to represent a toxic relationship she was in with someone older than her, using phrases like “You only come out at night” and “sunk your teeth into me.” This was the perfect song to release as a single to get fans excited for the coming album, as it showcased her strong vocal talents with her relatable-yet-heartbreaking lyrics.

bad idea right?

Drastically different from her previous single, “vampire,” the album’s second single “bad idea right?” starts off with Rodrigo speaking softly, which is immediately followed by a groovy drumbeat. This is an upbeat track with light-hearted, sarcastic lyrics about going back to her ex. For the majority of the song, Rodrigo uses the talk-singing technique that she used in “brutal,” the first track of “SOUR.” Rodrigo channels her inner early-2000s style with this fun pop punk track.


“Lacy,” the fourth track of “GUTS,” contrasts many of Rodrigo’s other songs on the album with its acoustic, slower sound. She perfectly encapsulates a feeling of jealousy toward someone, acknowledging that she feels her mind is “rotten” for how much she wishes to be someone else. Much of the song is spent describing the perfections of this person, “lacy,” saying she has “skin like puff pastry” and “eyes white as daisies.” The lyricism in this song stands out, especially compared to some of her other songs which are more focused on beats and melodies.

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making the bed

Rodrigo alludes to the saying “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it,” in the heart-wrenching ballad “making the bed.” In this, the sixth track of her album, she discusses many aspects of her life she is unhappy with, explaining that she is the only one to blame, or, in her words, that it is her who has been “making the bed.” It starts off with an anticipatory ringing sound that gradually gets louder until she begins to sing. This song stands out because of the compelling melody and poetically melancholy lyrics.

love is embarrassing

Although some may prefer Rodrigo’s ballads to her rock tunes, “love is embarrassing,” the ninth track on the album, appeals to a broad audience because of its danceable beat. This upbeat and angsty tune starts off with her singing the verse in her lower register, reminiscent of 80s female rock bands like “Blondie.” In contrast, the very catchy chorus showcases her higher voice as she explains how embarrassed she feels to love “some weird second string loser who’s not worth mentioning.” This song is difficult to listen to without singing along.

teenage dream

“Will I spend all the rest of my years wishing I could go back?” Rodrigo asks this question as she describes her fears for her future career in the final track of the album. In the song “brutal” from “SOUR,” she asks “Where’s my f*cking teenage dream?” This is what she could be referring to in “teenage dream” with the lyric “And I’m sorry that I couldn’t always be your teenage dream.” She expresses worry that she could have peaked in her career and that she can’t live up to others’ expectations after the extreme success of her first album “SOUR,” especially at such a young age.