A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

Olivia Rodrigo Spills Her Guts with her Second Studio Album


Rating: 9/10

After a two year hiatus, Olivia Rodrigo returned with her highly anticipated album GUTS on September 8th. Compared to the success of her debut, this album was well received by fans and lived up to the hype leading up to its release. Carrying her angsty pop-punk sound from her first album to her second, her songs range from soft ballads to powerful rock. GUTS consists of 12 tracks centered around teen romance and the emotional rollercoaster of self-identity. 


“all-american b****” opens the album with a single guitar leading into self-affirmations and a description of the perfect American girl. She is supposed to be “light as a feather and stiff as a board,” live up to modern beauty standards, and be an optimist all the time. Suddenly, in the chorus, the song launches into the pop-rock genre. These affirmations are repeated and strongly reinforced. In the next verse, she returns to the lighter, more gentle tone of the other expectations she is supposed to uphold. I find this delivery of lyrics to be somewhat comical. The back-and-forth recitation is fun to listen to, and it is amusing how she can revert to singing in the calmer tone so easily. 


The next two tracks, “bad idea right?” and “vampire”, were pre-released singles on August 11 and June 30 respectively. “bad idea right?” takes a more talking/story-telling approach and walks us through Olivia’s night meeting up with her ex, with the repetition of the lyric, “Seeing you tonight, it’s a bad idea right?”. The song is more on the playful side and was very enjoyable.


“vampire”, in my own interpretation, is the aftermath of “bad idea right?”. Her ex was taking advantage of her and leaving her with nothing. I love the constant metaphors used and how lyrics such as “as you sunk your teeth into me” and “blood sucker” stayed true to the title. In the beginning, the song is accompanied by a piano, rather than a guitar or drums. However, it gradually picks up speed and drums are added in, emphasizing the chorus and bridge. 


In the next track, Olivia describes the perfect girl “Lacy” and expresses the desire to be just like her. The lyrics create an eerie vibe, as she idolizes Lacy but is also drowning in jealousy, sung very delicately and in semi-whispers. 


Despite its title, “ballad of a homeschooled girl” is the farthest song from a ballad. The rock instrumentals are fast-paced and loud. This track is the epitome of teen angst, expressing the hardships of socializing and feeling like everything you do is wrong. It’s unexpected, catchy, and chaotic in the best way. 


The message behind “making the bed” is much deeper than I would have thought. It is written in a subtle yet impactful way. The cycle of cleaning up and creating your own mess is the same as making your bed, but getting back into it anyway. This song is on the slower, somber side and is sung with emotion. 


“logical” tackles the topic of manipulation and how it alters all other thoughts in your mind. The creative lyrics allow you to visualize what is happening as the song progresses. The bridge of this song is also one of the best bridges I have ever listened to. 


The double meaning in “get him back!” thoroughly impresses me, even though it is fairly easy to figure out. She sings about her ex and how she wants to get back at him, as in revenge, but at the same time, get back together with him. The song itself reverts back to the upbeat rock sound after the previous two softer songs. 


“love is embarrassing” is another upbeat, rock-like track about failed relationships and the humiliation that is love. Although this song did not stand out to me as much as the others on this album, it’s still a fun listen. 


The instrumentals are kept to a minimum in “the grudge” and are able to display Olivia’s vocal talent. I enjoyed that we were able to concentrate on just her singing. The full potential of her voice is strong and unique, which proves how skilled of an artist she is. 


“pretty isn’t pretty” goes back to the subject of beauty standards and how, no matter what you do, you’ll always find something wrong with your appearance. I appreciate that this is a recurring matter in this album because it is an important issue that needs to be addressed. Unlike the topic, though, the beat of this song is pretty chill.


To end off the album, “teenage dream” is a song that many can relate to; it’s about how your teenage years may feel wasted or not all that it seemed. It may also correlate to Olivia’s personal experiences with gaining so much attention at such a young age. This heartfelt song is the perfect way to wrap up all the emotions expressed in this album.


Since her debut, Olivia Rodrigo has matured, and her music style has grown with her. This is clearly evident in “GUTS,” as we see her songwriting improve; she reflects on her experiences in the spotlight and as a normal human being. The way she conveys her emotions takes us through highs and lows and through the adolescent journey itself. I look forward to following her on her musical journey and seeing what else she has in store. 

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About the Contributor
Valencia Li, Music Editor
Valencia is a junior Townsend Harris High School. She has been a part of The Classic since freshman year and enjoys dancing, reading, and, of course, listening to music.
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