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Olivia Rodrigo’s “GUTS” Review

Olivia Rodrigos “GUTS” Review

Olivia Rodrigo released her sophomore album, GUTS, produced by Dan Nigro, on Friday, September 8, 2023. The album contains 12 songs and is 39 minutes and 12 seconds long. Differently from her first album, GUTS is a pop-rock album, but still includes angsty, coming-of-age themes similar to Sour. Before release, many wondered if Rodrigo’s album would fall into a sophomore slump, this is when an artist’s second album fails to create an equal, or greater, amount of success as their first. Let’s explore the songs and see if GUTS beat the sophomore slump allegations! 

“all-american b****”

“All-American b****” is the opening track of Olivia Rodrigo’s pop-rock album. The song explores the contradictions in American culture in which unattainable ideals are set for women. Rodrigo paints the picture of the “perfect” American woman, something everyone wants her to be, yet she isn’t. In an Apple Music interview, Rodrigo mentions how “it’s one of [her] favorite songs [she’s] ever written,” and that the lyrics express the anger she’s been trying to share since she was a fifteen-year-old girl. 

“bad idea right?”

The second track on GUTS is a playful, upbeat song. The song follows the events of Rodrigo lying to her friends – who would absolutely reject the idea – of seeing an ex-boyfriend. The song features fun, tongue-in-cheek lyrics like, “Oh, yes, I know that he’s my ex/ Can’t two people reconnect?/ The biggest lie I ever said.”


“Vampire” is the lead single of GUTS and focuses on describing a boy who lied, took advantage of, and used Olivia Rodrigo. The title of “Vampire” alludes to this person who sucks the life out of the narrator, similar to a vampire sucking the blood from its victim. The song has themes of vulnerability and the importance of self-discovery. 


“Lacy” tells the story of a girl jealous of someone she cannot hate. Rodrigo reveals her envy of a girl with “skin like puff pastry,” who is seemingly an angel in her eyes. This song has gone viral for its relatability, with many girls sharing who their own “lacy” is. Rodrigo originally wrote “lacy” as a poem for a class she had taken, but it was turned into a song for the album!

“ballad of a homeschooled girl”

To fans, “ballad of a homeschooled girl” seems like “brutal” 2.0 from her first album,  Sour. The title cleverly alludes to the idea that all homeschooled children are socially inept. The song centers around teen angst and social isolation, or how Rodrigo was alienated by her peers. And, she sings about making mistakes, growing up, and finding yourself. She expresses her awkwardness by listing social errors she made: “I broke a glass, I tripped and fell/ I told secrets I shouldn’t tell/ I stumbled over all my words.”

“making the bed”

The sixth song of the album serves as a melancholic and self-deprecating ballad. Here, Rodrigo alludes to the idiom, “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.” She reflects upon her dissatisfaction with fame, yet, in the end, she feels that she can only blame herself. She shared with Interview Magazine she’s forever grateful for her career, but she still has to acknowledge the trauma that follows fame, which she does in “making the bed.” 


In the seventh song of the album “logical,” Rodrigo writes about the illogical (haha) side of being in love. She mentions the wrongs of a toxic relationship that, at the moment, she ignored simply because of love. Rodrigo reflects on her naivety throughout the song with lyrics like, “I know I could’ve stopped it all/ God, why didn’t I stop it all?” 

“get him back!”

“Get him back!” follows Rodrigo going back and forth between revenge and longing for an ex-boyfriend. “I wanna make him really jealous, wanna make him feel bad / I wanna get him back,” she sings. She contradicts this with, “‘Cause then again, I really miss him, and it makes me real sad.” As well, Rodrigo adds a double meaning to “I wanna get him back.” She uses it in the sense of revenge, but also in taking back an ex – relating to the common theme of mixed emotions. 

“love is embarrassing”

“Love is embarrassing” explores the tumultuous state of a romantic teenage relationship. The song captures the naivety in teenage relationships, as she writes about consoling her boyfriend over his ex. Rodrigo also mentions the embarrassment of prioritizing a man who was ultimately not worth it. 

“the grudge”

The tenth track, my personal favorite, reflects on betrayal and the lingering emotional turmoil afterward. She sings about how this person wronged her, yet she still has extremely conflicting emotions about them: “I try to be tough, I try to be mean/ But even after all this, you’re still everything to me.” Many fans have rumored who the song is about, and others have made multiple personal connections to the song.

“pretty isn’t pretty”

“Pretty isn’t pretty” describes the ever-changing, unrealistic trends thrown upon women; trends that girls seem to instantly follow and coincide with. Rodrigo expresses how these expectations are plastered all over the media and catered to young girls. She feels as though she cannot keep up with the increasingly high standards set in society and she will never be able to feel “perfect.” 

“teenage dream”

In the final track of GUTS, Rodrigo flawlessly connects her two albums with the ending track “teenage dream,” which is previously mentioned in the opening track of Sour, “Brutal.” She starts with asking “Where’s my f**** teenage dream?” in Sour, and finishes with, “I’m sorry that I couldn’t always be your teenage dream” in GUTS. Throughout the song, Rodrigo reflects on the complexity of growing up under the spotlight. She expresses her fears of being forgotten, as she feels as though in her younger years she gave her all: “Got your whole life ahead of you, you’re only nineteen/ But I fear that they already got the best parts of me.” 

Overall, Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album GUTS definitely beat the sophomore slump many artists fall into. The pop-rock album captures many emotions that her teenage audience can easily find comfort in and relate to. Also, the album captures Rodrigo’s growth as an artist; her lyricism and voice improving. Personally, this album contains some of my favorite works from Rodrigo, and her music will only continue to get better! 

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Alcott
Charlotte Alcott, Staff Writer
Charlotte Alcott is currently a freshman at Quakertown Community High School. This is her first year as a Paw Prints staff writer. Charlotte enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with friends. She loves all things Fall, especially the show Gilmore Girls. She is excited to better her writing skills and learn about journalism this year!

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