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Olivia Rodrigo’s “GUTS” will make you feel like a teenager all over again

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 Bristol chapter.

For teenage girls in their twenties, Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album “GUTS” encapsulates turbulent emotions of growing up, heartbreak and healing. The album’s combination of devastating ballads and pop-rock anthems has resonated deeply with an audience of young women. Here’s why “GUTS” is more than just a compilation of catchy tunes.

From Disney star to pop sensation, Olivia Rodrigo’s fans have watched her grow. She caught the world’s attention back in 2021 with the release of “drivers license”, an emotional ballad about a breakup, demonstrating Rodrigo’s talent for vulnerable, evocative lyricism. “Drivers license”, along with other hit tracks such as “deja vu” and “good 4 u” were all featured on Rodrigo’s first album, “SOUR”, which topped the charts and established Olivia as the teen idol pop star we all know and love.

Two years later, Rodrigo’s second album is no less exciting, proving her talent for writing hits, as the album’s lead single, “vampire”, flew to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The singer’s sophomore album reflects all the trials and tribulations of growing up in the spotlight, battling unrealistic expectations and exploitation from men in the industry. Although she may have left her teenage years behind (Rodrigo turned 20 back in February!), “GUTS” still holds that fiery, nineteen-year-old anguish we all know so well. The album features a range of emotions; from anger captured with blood-curdling screams into the microphone to soul-crushing expressions of heartbreak and misery.

I think something about Rodrigo’s songwriting that registers deeply with this audience of so-called “teen girls in their twenties” is the element of imperfection. In “ballad of a homeschooled girl”, Rodrigo laments over awkward and embarrassing interactions and misguided crushes (“Everything I do is tragic/Every guy I like is gay”), just like any other teenage girl might. In “Get Him Back”, Rodrigo plays on the double entendre of the phrase, describing ways she wants to get back together with an ex-boyfriend but also get revenge on him. This highlights how she is as indecisive and confused as any other teenage girl. In other songs like “all-american bitch” and “pretty isn’t pretty”, she writes about the pressure she feels to be so perfect, something that just about everybody out there can relate to. It’s comforting to hear that Olivia Rodrigo might make some of the same mistakes that you do or might struggle with her appearance or relationships, just like anybody else. After all, if chart-topping, Grammy-winning Olivia Rodrigo isn’t perfect all the time, then maybe we don’t need to be either.

Becca Simpson

Bristol '26

I'm a Liberal Arts student at the University of Bristol with interests in music, art and writing.