By Kemar Noel
On Sept. 8, Olivia Rodrigo dropped her second studio album, “Guts.”
This was a highly anticipated sophomore album released by the singer, who had only made her colossal break into the music industry in 2021 with her first Album, “Sour.”
“Sour” was a significant success. Rodrigo’s debut single “Driver’s License” went multi-platinum before she dropped the full album later that year. Many people had high hopes for her second album, and she did not disappoint. This album, while having a very different feel from the first album, doesn’t fall short when trying to evoke emotions from listeners.
Rodrigo released two songs before the album’s debut, “Vampire” and “Bad Idea Right?” that showed a snippet of what would be expected in the album. The two songs differed in genre but gave a prelude to pop-punk and the fantastic piano ballads that would be showcased once again.
This album is a step up from the first album regarding the overall construction of the lyrics and the matured vocals. There is a real noticeable change when comparing the two albums. “Sour” was filled with piano ballads and heartbreak songs, but “Guts” has a more pop/rock and grunge feel.
In the bridge of the first song on the album “all american b—-” Rodrigo sings,
“I don’t get angry when I’m pissed, I’m the eternal optimist. I scream inside to deal with it, like, Ah.”
This song on the album is supposed to acknowledge that the speaker knows she is pretty and marketable; however, she still internally suffers and fixates on minor details about herself. As an intro song, this song is impressive and perfectly leads into the second track on the album, “bad idea, right?” While this song isn’t the best on the album, it is still a fun listen regardless of its subliminal messages and takes heavy inspiration from 2000s music.
The third song on the track is one of the most impressive vocal performances Rodrigo has made in her recent works, and there is a ton of contrast in vocals and a noticeable improvement in lyricism.
“Can’t figure out just how you do it, and God knows I never will, went for me, and not her, cause girls your age know better.”
She is able to convey what she is feeling properly and looks back on her relationships from an analytical point of view.
The eighth song on the album is “Get Him Back.” There is something about this track that definitely brings its own hype to the table. It is a fun song in which Rodrigo sings about some guy who wasn’t the best person in her life and how she wants revenge. She wants to be able to fix him and misses him, and it shows in the song.
“I wanna get him back I wanna make him really jealous, wanna make him feel bad, oh, I wanna get him back, ’cause then again, I really miss him, and it makes me real sad.”
Rodrigo tells us her story in a funny and silly tone backed by a terrific instrumental that makes this song pop. The song’s title is also a great play on its words: Rodrigo wants to “get him back” but also wants to get back at him.
My favorite song on the album must be “The Grudge”; it is definitely one of the best songs she has produced down to the composition, the sound and just the track’s rawness. Rodrigo is sometimes scrutinized through media for not taking accountability in her previous album and blaming others, but she does the opposite in this song. Throughout this song, we can see Rodrigo looking back on her past experiences, taking accountability for her actions, and acknowledging that not everything was her fault.
“And I try to understand why you would do this all to me You must be insecure, you must be so unhappy, And I know, in my heart, hurt people hurt people, And we both drew blood, but, man, those cuts were never equal.”
This song is also one of the more relatable tracks on this album for most people. Grudges are the worst and one of the hardest things to eliminate, depending on the person. This song encapsulates what having a grudge can feel like and how hard it can be to rid yourself of it when there is pain attached.
The last song I want to touch upon is “Teenage Dream,” the last song on the album. This song serves perfectly as an outro song in the way it is composed. This song perfectly portrays and shows Rodrigo’s fear of the future of her personal life and her life in the limelight of the music industry.
“They all say that it gets better, it gets better the more you grow, yeah, they all say that it gets better, it gets better, but what if I don’t?”
Her first album was a success; so far, her second album has also been a hit, but what about her third or fourth? Tomorrow is not guaranteed in the music industry, and it is not uncommon to see someone reach the height of fame one day and be forgotten the next.
Rodrigo has improved drastically in storytelling in her music, and her overall vocals have improved a ton since her previous album. The production, harmony and cords have also improved, along with her lyricism.
In this album, listeners can follow the stories told well, and she does a great job giving everyone an emotional joyride.
The album runs 39 minutes with 12 tracks. This album is slightly longer than “Sour,” with one extra song. Fans are still fiending for additional tracks, and there is speculation for a deluxe album with four additional tracks.
Overall, I am delighted with this album. While it doesn’t top the previous album with its piano ballads and exquisite belting, it is still a must-listen. I rate this album an outstanding 9.5/10.