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Who Olivia Rodrigo’s “Lacy” is about and Why it Doesn’t Matter

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 Kent State chapter.

When an artist releases a seemingly autobiographical song, speculation runs rampant. Every interview is pushing for private details and the media develops a new obsession. Olivia Rodrigo’s new album was no exception.

With the release of her sophomore album “GUTS”, it’s no surprise that there are countless new TikTok trends to follow. Amongst many, are videos that contain edits of various pop stars such as Sabrina Carpenter and Gracie Abrams to the song “Lacy ”, where the creators provide matching pictures of the stars to the lyrics. When Olivia mentions “feeling her compliments like bullets on skin” we see a headline about Sabrina Carpenter complimenting her music, and when the artist compares the knots in her stomach to Lacy’s hair ribbons, we’re provided evidence of Sabrina or Gracie or Madison Beer or Taylor Swift wearing bows or ribbons.

Just like any other artist with a song about another person, Olivia has been receiving interview questions asking who the real “Lacy” is. In “8 questions before 8 a.m.” with Today Olivia laughed at the question and quickly answered how all of her songs are about her and her feelings. In another interview, she once mentioned how she never names the people her songs are about and doesn’t ever plan on it. She explained her feelings on the importance of not pinning it to be about one thing. 

Olivia is not the first and will not be the last pop star to think this way. Taylor Swift has also been known in her interviews to not want to talk about the specific people or situations that have inspired her music. They both hold the same idea of wanting their fans to find their own meaning that’s personal to them. If an artist were to tell us every detail about what happened before, during and after the writing process, it could rob music listeners of creating a personal meaning and connection to the song. Listening to a song should be an immersive escape. It allows us to create these situations and worlds that we can control, so if we’re given too much information about the artist’s experience with it, our minds are given a limit to what we can imagine for ourselves.

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Polydor and Interscope/Universal Music New Zealand/Republic Records

This curiosity, however, is incredibly common. We tend to want to know a lot about our favorite celebrities that goes beyond their career life. This common pattern of becoming a little more interested than we should is almost natural. In a hierarchical stance, Olivia is far above most of her fans. This causes a sort of “worshiping” behavior from most of us. We listen to her music. We like it. We want more and eventually the wanting breaks this barrier of interest between her professional and private life. It could be because we just want connection to something we love or it could be out of not being sure of oneself, producing this sort of desire to know as much as possible about Olivia, or other celebrities. Perhaps the two are intertwined? 

With this, it only makes sense that when Olivia writes about having envy over another person, we’re intrigued. The person that we look at and adore so greatly is claiming there’s someone with the qualities she desires.

Along with countless speculations of who the song is about, we’re given other theories. Some argue it’s a queer song and this could be her coming out. I’ve seen a video of a teenage girl saying, “This is so ‘POC girl who is jealous of her white friend’ coded”. There have also been observations of how this song is related to drug addiction. I think this is exactly what the song is. Not any of those directly, and I don’t mean pushing any of those experiences on Olivia herself either, but I mean what people are doing with it. Listening, analyzing and relating to the lyrics. Not allowing “what it’s supposed to be about” to block their personal relationship to the song. Music is what you want it to be. It should be an escapism. “Lacy” is about you and your feelings.

Isabella Rothwell

Kent State '27

Isabella is a first-year student at Kent State University pursuing a degree in Journalism. She is interested in both fashion and environmental journalism. After graduating from Crestview High School in Columbiana, Ohio in 2022, she took a gap year with Americorps NCCC where she traveled the West Coast doing various sorts of restoration work and infrastructure development. This is where she discovered her love for nature and desire to spread awareness about the importance of its protection. Isabella is passionate about where fashion and climate change intersect, sustainability. Along with fashion and the outdoors, Isabella is also interested in films and the industry of them. A lot of her time is spent fulfilling her “To be Watched” list and then watching video essays about the movies on YouTube. When her brain feels rotted with too much digital media consumption, she resorts to reading, thrifting, dancing, playing with her cat, or doing her makeup. Her favorite genre in books and movies is coming-of-age. She likes listening to indie and alternative music. Her favorite designers are Vivienne Westwood and Miu Miu. The most recent National Park she’s visited is Yosemite. Her favorite color is pink.