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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northwestern chapter.

In honor of Olivia’s spooky single “Vampire” and her recent world tour announcement, I thought it’d only be right to share my thoughts on our favorite pop princess’ sophomore album, GUTS.

Most relatable: pretty isn’t pretty 

“You fix the things you hated, and you’d still feel so insecure”

Ever since the GUTS release, I’ve loved playing this song while I do my makeup. It’s such an introspective piece from Olivia – yet she speaks for an entire generation. In an increasingly digitized age, omnipresent beauty standards have become seemingly impossible to meet. The obsession with looking a certain way to appease others or to establish self-worth is toxic and draining, yet totally universal. This song serves as a reminder to be yourself, for yourself – since you’ll probably never please society anyway. 

Best lyrics: teenage dream

“Got your whole life ahead of you – you’re only 19”

When I first heard this song, I felt like Olivia had written it just for me (not to be dramatic or anything, of course). But, having just celebrated my 19th birthday, I appreciated Olivia’s self-reflective lyrics on young adulthood, and how to say goodbye to being a teenager – while realizing you’re still young enough to make mistakes and learn from them. This song is full of hidden lyrical gems, and is a true stroke of brilliance from Olivia. The elder sister of “brutal” from SOUR, “teenage dream” is the perfect culminating track for GUTS.

All-Olivia: ballad of a homeschooled girl 

“I’m on the outside of the greatest inside joke”

This is SUCH an Olivia Rodrigo song. The title alone speaks volumes about the songwriting, which provides a pretty clear picture of her current social life. The music has that rock-and-roll feel that pushes it into the territory of pop-punk. The introductory notes pack a powerful punch that segues into some grungy notes from Olivia, where she rants about life for a bit. The chorus is even more diaristic than the first verse, outlining the intimate details of challenges experienced by a flourishing starlet. Olivia tells listeners what it’s like to come of age in a world where everyone knows your name, concealing the vulnerability of the lyrics behind a back beat and bass line. This track is the thematic synthesis of GUTS, and insanely Olivia. 

Best for walking to class: bad idea, right? 

“I only see him as a friend: biggest lie I ever said”

While I love an emotional indie record, an upbeat song like “bad idea, right” is great for rushing to class in a hurry. This is arguably Olivia’s wittiest ballad that tells an amusing tale about lingering feelings for someone you’ve moved on from. It’s totally unserious, with a melody and music video that epitomizes early 2000s movie vibes. 10/10 would recommend for passing the time on a cross-campus trek. 

Autumnal anthem: the grudge 

“It takes strength to forgive, but I don’t feel strong”

This song is gut-wrenching, especially for fans of Olivia’s colleagues that the track is rumored to be about. Regardless of the speculative lore, this is the perfect song for walking across campus on a moody fall day with a hot pumpkin-spiced chai in hand. The chill vibes match the chill in the air – and the storytelling is immaculate.  

First listen fav: lacy

“Dazzling starlet, Bardot reincarnate”

I am so stoked to share my thoughts on how incredible this song is. “lacy” started out as a poem Olivia wrote for an assignment at USC, which she set to music and adapted for her album. This song is a complete tonal shift from the rest of GUTS, and mimics vocals from similar artists like Gracie Abrams. I love hearing Olivia take a risk by venturing into a novel musical realm with her sound and adore the lyrics. Their origin as a poem makes perfect sense, and the allusions are literary in nature. Like other Livies, I’ve enjoyed reading the speculations about Olivia’s inspiration for the song, and have a few plausible guesses myself. Overall, I love “lacy” and cannot get it out of my head!

Best PR: get him back!

“And when he said something wrong, he’d just fly me to France”

I know I thought this music video drop was a total surprise. Naturally, I was even more surprised when Olivia partnered with Apple to advertise the brand new iPhone 15, which the entire “get him back!” video was shot with! The song is super fun with angsty energy, and the video was pretty cool to watch. So I guess the real question is: who kind of wants an iPhone 15 now? After all, it is Olivia Rodrigo approved. 

Sobbing: making the bed

“I got the things I wanted, it’s just not what I imagined”

I, for one, find this song relatively relatable and (as a result) pretty emotional. Olivia explores the challenges of constantly changing your mind whilst trying to find a place in the world as you enter adulthood. The song is rooted in realism, and narrates the melancholy of soul-searching – despite the disheartening duality of having too much time, yet still not enough, to learn how to “do” life. Olivia shares her story through the lens of fame, but all listeners can latch on to an aspect of the lyricism and insert their own intrinsic struggles into the mix of this musical masterpiece. In other words, this track is not for the faint of heart. 

Best vocals: vampire 

“You can’t love anyone, cause that would mean you had a heart”

When Olivia released “vampire” as the GUTS teaser track – I was blown away. Her vocals (which were already insane) seemed to have improved even more since SOUR, and this single is a testament to her incredible range. The chorus is a true vocal feat – and I could listen to it over and over again (and I have – ever since June 30th). 

Heartbreaker: logical

“Two plus two equals five and I’m the love of your life”

Olivia told an interviewer that she wrote “logical” based on her best friend’s recent breakup, and it’s gut-wrenching. The song’s motif about not knowing where a relationship went wrong based on the illogical nature of love is disheartening – yet so real. 

Most anticipated live performance(s): vampire, all-american bitch

After failing to get SOUR tickets, I am over the moon to see Olivia live this March! While the entirety of GUTS is a masterpiece, I’m especially looking forward to a few ballads.

As her debut sophomore single, I know that the live rendition of “vampire” will be out of this world. As the “Driver’s License” of GUTS, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. I can’t wait to hear the chorus vocals, and to chant the bridge lyrics with other Liv-lovers at United Center.

Although “vampire” is great, I’m equally as excited for “all-american bitch.” This song’s your classic, super fun, scream-sing-in-the-car type of ballad and is totally true to Olivia’s pop star image. It has total concert vibes and definitely one of the songs she wrote with “live performance in mind.” I know she’ll deliver an all-star performance and I can’t wait to dance to it at the show. March 19th couldn’t arrive soon enough!

Dance around your Dorm Room: love is embarrassing 

“I’m planning out my wedding with some guy I’m never marrying”

Finally, we have the perfect song for a late-night dance party around your room while you put your laundry away. “love is embarrassing” is short, sweet, and musically upbeat. The lyrics are devastatingly relatable and make listeners want to laugh at themselves as they reflect on their own experiences relative to the message within Olivia’s songwriting. This song is a blast and perfect for your pre-party playlist. 

Kayln’s Rankings:

  1. lacy
  2. all-american bitch
  3. pretty isn’t pretty
  4. vampire
  5. teenage dream
  6. ballad of a homeschooled girl 
  7. making the bed
  8. get him back! 
  9. the grudge 
  10. love is embarrassing 
  11. bad idea,right? 
  12. logical 
Kayln Jackson

Northwestern '26

Kayln is a sophomore at Northwestern studying political science on the pre-law track. She enjoys writing about fashion and the entertainment industry. When she’s not writing for HC, you can probably find her playing her ukulele, planning her dream vacation, or spending way too much time on Pinterest.