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Olivia Rodrigo’s “GUTS” Is My Pick For Album Of The Year

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

Olivia Rodrigo has done it again. I’ve been a fan of her work since “SOUR,” and I was so excited when “GUTS” was announced. Olivia knows who she is and what she seeks to gain through her work, and her lyrical style is incredibly confessional. Her lyrics feel like they could’ve been ripped from my own thoughts. The themes presented on this album feel fresh and universal, specifically to her audience of teenage girls. Whether you’re still technically a teenager or a teenage girl in your 20s, you are still able to enjoy her work. It’s not wildly different from “SOUR” — and that’s okay. It’s purely Olivia. Going track by track without ranking, let’s explore the themes and production choices that make this album what it is. 

“All-American Bitch”

A phenomenal opener to a phenomenal album. I love how the production moves in tandem with the lyrics, creating a cohesive narrative. The switches between Olivia’s difference in tone and volume throughout effectively communicate her message. The most standout part for me is the outro — sometimes things go viral for a reason! The scream immediately followed with the repeated affirmation, “I’m grateful all the time/I’m sexy and I’m kind/I’m pretty when I cry,” is just so perfect. I’m genuinely obsessed with it. The instrumental reminds me a lot of 90s alternative, and the lyrics are catchy and easy to scream at the top of your lungs. 

“Bad Idea, Right?”

If you made me choose between this one and vampire, I would absolutely pick this one. It’s so lively, with its simple yet addicting guitar riff, glitching pre-choruses and chanting chorus. The whole song is about meeting up with an ex against your friends’ advice, which I feel like a lot of us can relate to. Olivia’s playful tone allows this bad idea to sound like a good one. 


Talk about a comeback! Everyone I know, including me, was absolutely obsessed with this song when it came out. It packs such a punch, with the instrumental consistently building up, exploding and then fading out. I’m not sure if that’s the official terminology, but sue me — I’m an English major. If we ignore the speculation about who this song is about and just focus on the lyrics, you get the trademark Olivia Rodrigo experience of feelings being put into words. However, if we were to speculate, I would definitely tell you it isn’t about Taylor Swift. I think it was an incredible choice of a lead single. 


No matter who or what this song is about, it’s still an enchanting portrayal of obsession. I really enjoy the instrumental track. It’s simple and still gorgeous, harkening back to the song’s poetic origin. The lyrics are longing and still slightly sarcastic. “Dazzling starlet, Bardot reincarnate/Well, aren’t you the greatest thing to ever exist?” Is it homoerotic? Is it about cocaine? Is it just about an amorphous woman who visits Olivia in her dreams? I don’t think it should matter. 

“Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl”

Putting aside the discourse around that one lyric, I do feel this song. I wasn’t homeschooled, but I think everyone can relate to feeling like an outsider. Personally, whenever I think about middle school, I get so embarrassed I have to go sit with my head in my hands for an hour. It’s deeply felt. Thank you, Olivia, for giving all of the socially awkward girlies a voice through this song. My favorite lyric is probably “I’m on the outside of the greatest inside joke.” 

“Making the Bed”

This is such a personal and heartfelt song that I almost feel like I can’t review it. The chorus is catchy and wordy at the same time, allowing the song to flow. Olivia’s ballads just keep getting better and better. I also love the simple instrumental on this one. 


Another ballad! The piano is beautiful but allows Olivia’s pen to take center stage. The lyrics successfully evoke a feeling of manipulation. This song feels painful and raw in a way that others on this album haven’t so far. Olivia’s desperation is perfectly conveyed through her vocals. The emotions of an unhealthy relationship ache, forming the beating heart of this song.

“Get Him Back!” 

This is so 90s, and I’m obsessed with it. Olivia’s rambling delivery is confessional and feels like we’re listening to a journal entry set to music. The duality of “get him back”- both to get revenge and reenter a relationship is genius.  The bridge is one of her best, with the repetition and it speeding up toward the end. I’m so glad this will be the next single. 

“Love is Embarrassing”

This instrumental is one of my favorites on the album. I love the little guitar riffs at the end of each phrase in the verses and the soaring rocker girl chorus. Olivia uses the same rambling delivery as the previous track, and it works equally well. The lyrics feel almost painfully relatable. That feeling of how the people we fall for and the things we do seem embarrassing once we’re more clear-headed. It deserves so much more love. 

“The Grudge”

I feel like the lyrics have been ripped from the script for a movie about my life. The lyrics are some of my favorites on the album. I love all of her ballads, but this one just feels like it eviscerates my heart and makes me want to lie down on the floor and cry. I think about the lyric “And I know, in my heart, hurt people hurt people/And we both drew blood, but, man, those cuts were never equal” all the time. Just like lacy, it does not matter who it’s about, it’s about the simple artistry of lyricism.

“Pretty isn’t Pretty”

I personally love this one. I know this is a topic many young female artists (even Olivia herself with “Jealousy, Jealousy”) address, but personally I’ll enjoy it every time. The instrumental is simple, taking the back seat to the lyrics but still managing to be complementary. So many lines are just painfully relatable while still easy to sing, such as “You fix the things you hated/And you still feel insecure.” I also think this is an underrated bridge. The drums pack a punch that makes me want to scream the lyrics.

“Teenage Dream”

One of my favorite incredibly specific genres of songs is “a young female artist lamenting on how her fame will fade as she ages.” I just love the themes tackled in this song — the repeated “it gets better” and “When am I gonna stop being great for my age and just start being good?” The song makes me feel sad in a cathartic way. As someone who was a gifted kid and feels like I peaked early, I feel incredibly understood. 

Overall, I love this album so much. I think Olivia’s lyricism is phenomenal, and the production and instrumentals are amazing. I love its stylistic similarities to “SOUR.” In my personal opinion, female artists should not have to constantly reinvent their brand to be as respected as their male counterparts. The themes of girlhood and teenage angst in this album resonate deeply with me, an Aries moon and a 19-year-old girl. I hope she sweeps award season and continues being proud of her art in the future.

Rory Westland

Bradley U '27

Hi, y'all! I'm Rory and I use she/they pronouns. I'm currently a freshman English major at Bradley- still deciding on a minor! I'm a member of Sigma Delta Tau and love coffee, cats, reading, and Taylor Swift. I'm so excited to write for this chapter :)