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“GUTS” Review: Olivia Rodrigo’s Long-Anticipated Sophomore Album

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. John's chapter.

Whether you know her from Disney shows like “Bizaardvark” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” or her iconic hits like “drivers license” and “good 4 u,” it has been impossible to avoid the rise of Olivia Rodrigo. According to Forbes, Rodrigo’s four-time platinum debut album, “SOUR” was one of the most streamed records of 2021. Her massive debut success left the public wondering if she could ever top this masterpiece, or if she would succumb to a “sophomore slump.” After fully listening to the album, I’ve reviewed each song while coinciding with the tracklist’s order.

“all-american b*tch”: Rodrigo mentioned that this track is her favorite and you can really feel that sentiment while listening. This song satirizes the expectations society places on women and then transitions into unexpected, chaotic screaming. Then, the chaos is followed by a calm, self-assuring mantra, which has since gone viral on TikTok. “all-american b*tch”’s rock sound is the perfect introduction to the rest of the album and leaves the listener eager for more. Rating: 5/5

“bad idea right?”: As one of two singles released from the album, this is a fun, punk rock-inspired track that will make you reconsider blocking your ex. Its 2000s rock music influences and witty lyrics make it an upbeat, unique listen. P.S. Texting your ex after listening to this song IS a bad idea. Rating: 5/5

“vampire”: This track was the first single to be released from the record. “vampire” details the crushing pains of being taken advantage of by an adult. With jaw-dropping lyrics like “‘Cause girls your age know better” and “How’s the castle built off people you pretend to care about?”, the song took the world by storm this summer. The music builds throughout the entire tune, mirroring the pressure one may experience in toxic relationships like Rodrigo’s. Rating: 4/5

“lacy”: Lacy, oh Lacy, aren’t you the sweetest song on this album? This is my personal favorite track the artist has ever released due to its poetic lyrics and ethereal bridge. The song’s outro, where Rodrigo blames herself for her “rotten mind” because she’s  “worshiping” an old love is particularly heartbreaking. Every listener has their own theories and interpretations of what this song is about, ranging from societal expectations to sapphic relationships, and the track certainly leaves a lasting impression. Rating: 5/5

“ballad of a homeschooled girl”: If you struggled to make friends growing up, then congratulations because this song is your new anthem! The hilarious lyrics paired with the catchy tune depict awkward moments every shy person has endured. While first listening, I paused after the second verse because I was laughing so hard and I know I’m not the only one! The comical line “Everythin’ I do is tragic (Oh) /  Every guy I like is gay (Oh)” has also gone viral on TikTok. Rating: 5/5

“making the bed”: In this emotional ballad, Rodrigo shares her experiences living the fabulous, yet shallow lifestyle that comes with being a teenage celebrity. As proud as she is of all she’s accomplished, she expresses a yearning for deeper connections that are harder to make when fame is involved. You don’t have to be a pop star to understand and relate to this song as Olivia  brings up the deep, familiar emotions that stem from “Push[ing] away all the people who know me the best.” Rating: 4/5

“logical”: If I had to skip any song on this album, this would be it. The song isn’t bad, however, it’s a little repetitive and reminiscent of a track from Rodrigo’s previous album, “1 step forward, 3 steps back.” Rating: 3/5

“get him back!”: The album’s newest single has been branded as a standout by listeners and it’s not hard to imagine why. The sarcastic spoken word verses in this track immediately catch the listener’s ear and keep them hooked throughout the song. The title holds a clever double meaning: a plan of revenge reminiscent of an angry debriefing session over FaceTime with friends, and an expression of how much Rodrigo misses her old lover. Rating: 5/5

“love is embarrassing”: Similar to “logical,” this track feels monotonous. The lyrics are well-written, but the song ends rather anticlimactic and leaves listeners with more questions than answers. Rating: 3/5

“the grudge”: This was one of the most emotional and vulnerable tracks on “GUTS”, and it resembles a more mature track that could’ve been on her debut album, “SOUR”. The lyric “And we both drew blood, but, man, those cuts were never equal” maturely acknowledges that both partners were responsible for their relationship’s downfall, but one partner was hurt much worse than the other. With lyrics that sound like they were ripped out of a diary, this ballad simultaneously feels like a punch in the gut, and a warm, comforting hug. Rating: 4/5

“pretty isn’t pretty”: While I think this is one of the weaker tracks on the album, “pretty isn’t pretty” does a good job of showcasing the negative aspects societal pressures put on women that were first mentioned in “all-american b*tch.” Compared to the powerful title track, this song can easily be overlooked. Rating: 2/5

“teenage dream”: If there’s one thing Rodrigo knows how to do well, it’s closing out an album. Channeling her fears and doubts about the future into a heartbreaking allusion to her debut opener, “brutal,” “GUTS” ends with a powerful ballad about her fear of being replaced once she hits a certain age. Closing out the album with one final rock outro, this is one of my favorite tracks on the record. Rating: 5/5FINAL THOUGHTS/RATING: This album is more musically varied than her debut “SOUR”, and Rodrigo’s music never feels incoherent or incomprehensible. The lyrics on “GUTS” reflect a more mature side of Rodrigo as she displays the pains of growing up and navigating relationships. “GUTS” is absolutely worth a listen if you haven’t done so already, and it’s certainly one of the strongest albums of the year. Rating: 4.⅖


Astani, T. [@teganastani]. (2023, September 19). Me everyday. #allamericanbitch #oliviarodrigo #guts [Video]. TikTok. https://www.tiktok.com/@teganastani/video/7280397978790120747

McIntyre, H. (2022, January 7). The biggest albums of 2021: Adele, Olivia Rodrigo, pop smoke, Drake and Morgan Wallen. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/hughmcintyre/2022/01/06/the-biggest-albums-of-2021-adele-olivia-rodrigo-pop-smoke-drake-and-morgan-wallen/?sh=6eac648d5cf5

Emmy Weiss

St. John's '27

My name is Emmy Weiss and I have been writing since the second I learned how. I am a marketing major at St. John's University starting the first semester of my freshman year. I hope to work in the entertainment (specifically animation) industry after graduation. Before that, I went to Kellenberg Memorial High School, where I did various service, dance, and literature clubs! I have a sister who is one year younger than me (we're both leos!) and two cats named Peabody and Jason Derulo. Peabody likes to help me write. I'm a huge fan of Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, AJR, Jukebox the Ghost, Olivia Rodrigo and Queen. My favorite shows right now are Heartstopper and Banana Fish (completely different vibes). I was on a dance team in high school and love doing it for fun!