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‘Guts’ spills the emotions of a teenage girl

Guts+receives+200+million+streams+in+the+U.S.+on+its+debut.+
Christiana Vucea
‘Guts’ receives 200 million streams in the U.S. on its debut.

Singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album “Guts” has taken over billboards since its release on Sept. 8. As her second album that has hit number one on the charts, following “SOUR” in 2021, Rodrigo displays a range of emotions in this sweet yet vengeful album. At eight weeks at the top of Billboard’s Artists 100, Rodrigo continues to amaze fans with her newest vulnerable and theatrical project.

The album’s striking opening song, “all-american b****h,” dives into the controversial ideals of a perfect woman. The lyrics emphasize Rodrigo’s out-of-placeness, as she is expected to be the “perfect all-American” girl. The song is an ideal opening song that leaves the listener wanting more.

In the second track, “bad idea right?” Rodrigo sings about the conflicting feelings towards an ex-lover, not knowing whether to move on or return to what she knows will not work. This track follows the first with a lighter, more-relatable topic. 

The lyrics in “lacy” paint such a beautiful picture, and the music sounds almost magical.

— Fiona Carter

In contrast to the first two songs, Rodrigo’s first single from the album, “vampire,” is a heavy, emotional track. Rodrigo compares her implied ex-lover to a vampire draining her of everything. Rodrigo explains how she now knows he manipulated her and that she “should’ve known it was strange”, alluding to their age difference and toxicity. Rodrigo’s reflection of the past and assertion that he took advantage of her youthfulness, mixed with the varying intensities of the instrumentals, made “vampire” the album’s top song.

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The fourth track, “lacy,” is the seemingly sweetest song on the album. However, the underlying meaning cuts through the initial superficial concept as the lyrics show that Rodrigo struggles with feelings of inferiority. Using the name “lacy,” Rodrigo describes her insecurity compared to another girl, claiming that Lacy is “made of angel dust.” The lyrics dive into the fine line between jealousy and admiration. The raw femininity of this song makes it the most underrated on the album and my absolute favorite.

“The lyrics in “lacy” paint such a beautiful picture, and the music sounds almost magical,” senior Fiona Carter said. 

Ballad of a homeschooled girl” describes teenagers’ daily social anxiety. Rodrigo expresses feeling out of place and not knowing anything about social situations. This track highlights the sentiments of many teenagers, making it a valuable and insightful addition to the album.

Making the bed” is another emotional shift through the journey this album takes listeners on. The lyrics reveal Rodrigo’s feelings about her fame and how she knows she only has herself to blame for the position that she is in. Rodrigo outlines in her lyrics this complex gratuity, stating, “I got the things I wanted, it’s just not what I imagined,” which shows how being in her position can be exhausting. Her honesty makes the song one of the most impactful of the album.  

The seventh track on the album, “logical” dives into the irrationality of love. The lyrics mention feeling taken advantage of and knowing that part of it is her fault. Rodrigo repeats that she feels as though “love is never logical,” and throughout the song, listeners continue to feel the manipulation that she felt. 

The duality of the next track, “get him back!” plays into whether she wants to get someone back in a relationship with her or get revenge for what they did to her. This lack of clarity makes it fun for listeners to speculate about the vengeful song. Each lyric has a double meaning, which can be relatable for so many people. The dual interpretation of the lyrics makes “get him back!” rightfully one of the album’s top-streamed songs.

Love is embarrassing,” explores teenage love’s emotions, expressing the embarrassment of doing things for some “loser who’s not worth mentioning.” Its upbeat tempo and fun style give the album a lighter feeling. The song captures the range of feelings that go through a teenager’s mind while being in love with someone, not knowing what is right and wrong to do. 

In “the grudge,” Rodrigo reflects on a manipulative, deceitful relationship. She understands the betrayal and conflicting love felt in this relationship, knowing she was treated wrong, but she cannot help loving that person. The defeat portrayed in her tone and the song’s production makes “the grudge” one of the album’s best songs.

The next track, “pretty isn’t pretty,” is about feelings of always trying to keep up with trends and expectations and the jealousy that comes with it. Rodrigo mentions the struggles of self-acceptance when she sings about how no matter how much one tries to change oneself, “none of it matters and none of it ends.” The lyrics increase the song’s embodiment of its audience, as people struggle to fit in without knowing the costs of it.

The album’s final track, “teenage dream” takes another look at Rodrigo’s feelings towards her spotlight. She feels intense pressure being where she is and wonders if she will “spend all the rest of my years wishin’ I could go back?” This track ends the album with a heavy sentiment.

“It feels like a more mature version of ‘SOUR’,” senior Lily Kerchner said.

Rodrigo’s second album, “Guts,” shows her growth as a person and artist. The album elegantly captures all of the complexities of being a teenage girl and is one of the best albums released in 2023.

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About the Contributor
Christiana Vucea, Graphics Editor
Christiana Vucea is a senior and an editor for the graphics section this year! She has been doing graphics since freshman year and is excited for new features coming to the Tide this year. When she’s not doodling something, she can be found either sleeping or stressing over physics homework.