Photo credits: Larissa Hoffman
You know her, you love her — she infamously got her driver’s license, and now she’s back to spill her guts! 20-year-old Olivia Rodrigo has inevitably taken the world by storm for a second time with the recent release of her sophomore album, “GUTS.”
With edgy, grungy guitar, crashing drums, chantable backup vocals, sharp hooks, clever, honest lyrics and the occasional piano ballad, Rodrigo sings from a more mature perspective than the 17-year-old on her debut album, Sour. As she mentions in an Apple Music interview with Zane Lowe, “A lot of this album is about the confusion that comes with becoming a young adult and figuring out your place in this world, and who do you want to be and who you want to hang out with […] sort of rising from the disillusionment.” The pop-rock record truthfully captures what it’s like to be a teenage/twenty-something girl today.
Rodrigo soars through floaty high notes and lets loose shriek-into-your-pillow-type screams all within the same two minutes, forty-six seconds of “all-american bitch.” In the angsty “ballad of a homeschooled girl,” she makes light of acting strangely in social settings. Rodrigo then addresses the impossible physical standards of being a woman today on track 11, “pretty isn’t pretty.” In an interview with Phoebe Bridgers for Vogue, she says, “I’ve realized that I’m really not that special. My life is just so — I was home-schooled and all of this stuff happened in my career, but then I really boiled my problems down and I’m like, ‘Oh, they’re just 19-year-old, 20-year-old problems in a different environment.’ If you speak honestly about any experience, then someone is going to find truth in it.”
Truth be told, people are loving “GUTS.” Rolling Stone describes the album as “another instant classic, with her most ambitious, intimate and messy songs yet. Olivia’s pop-punk bangers are full of killer lines.”
Though songwriting seems to come naturally to Olivia Rodrigo, it turns out that the making of a second album has an entirely new set of challenges compared to the first. During the process of “Sour,” Rodrigo wrote from the raw headspace of a first heartbreak. During the previously referenced Vogue interview, Rodrigo reflects on the contrasting experiences, “I had so much to say, and this time I was like, ‘Huh, I don’t really feel as inspired. I’m not crying on the guitar anymore.’ And so it was kind of a lesson in having to think of it more as a craft.” Rodrigo notes that while writing, she needed to learn to set aside a people-pleasing mindset, and instead just write songs that she loved and would listen to herself.
Since its release on Friday, Sept. 8, Rodrigo has performed on TODAY, released a music video for “get him back!” (shot impressively on an iPhone!) and announced the “GUTS” World Tour. The upcoming tour will be her first time taking music to arena venues.
Looking for more Olivia? Keep your ear to the ground for the rumored releases of extra tracks, as Rodrigo tells Apple Music, “I think some of them will definitely see the light of day,” with a smirk. Until then, pop in your headphones, strut down the sidewalks and stream your guts out.
Erin McGinniss is a fourth-year English major with a minor in American Sign Language. EM1008201@wcupa.edu