GUTS: An Album Review

Courtesy of Spotify
Courtesy of Spotify

Picture this: a young girl whose dream of being a singer grows to be one of the most famous artists in the world with the release of one song. This would be Olivia Rodrigo. The 20-year-old artist has taken the world by storm with the release of her sophomore album “GUTS”. “GUTS” a pop and indie rock album, was released on September 8, 2023, by Geffen Records and has gotten over 200 million streams on Spotify in just the United States alone.

Rodrigo completely blew up in popularity after the release of her song “drivers license” on January 8, 2021, which has just under 2 billion streams as of September 2023. Rodrigo then released 2 more singles, “deja vu” along with “good 4 u”. This was before the release of her debut album “SOUR” which blew up in popularity and helped her amass a big audience because of the album’s appeal to younger generations. 

After not releasing music for two years, Rodrigo announced her next single called “vampire” through an Instagram post. Anticipation for the song continued to build until June 30, the day the song dropped. According to Billboard, “vampire” was streamed just over 8 million times on its first day. After the success of “vampire”, Rodrigo announced “bad idea, right?” to be released on August 11, 2023, the second single she would drop before releasing the album.

“GUTS” tells the story of a teenage girl trying to make her way around the world. It talks about poor relationships and the insecurity that comes with them. In addition, Rodrigo touches upon the feelings of being a teenager, hitting themes of jealousy and bad self-perceptions.

Rodrigo excels in her lyrics and ability to tell a story. This was especially present in the tenth track of the album, “the grudge”. This song tells of a relationship in which one person looks up to the other, yet that role model shatters them. The lyricism is descriptive and vivid with lyrics like, “And we both drew blood, but, man, those cuts were never equal” and “It takes strength to forgive, but I don’t feel strong.”

A few tracks stand out in particular, starting with ‘“lacy.” This song describes feelings of jealousy. The person Rodrigo describes is perfect in her mind and has the things she wants. This song has been speculated to be about many people including Gracie Abrams, an opener for Rodrigo’s “SOUR” Tour; Sabrina Carpenter, the person who “drivers license” is alleged to be about; as well as Madison Beer, a close friend of Rodrigo. Standout lyrics of this track include, “I despise my jealous eyes and how hard they fell for you” and “I feel your compliments like bullets on skin.”

Her track 5 song, “ballad of a homeschooled girl” became one of my favorites of the album with its incredible storytelling. Rodrigo chronicles how being homeschooled has shaped her into an awkward person who feels out of place in social situations. This song takes on a 90s alternative rock style which makes the song really fun. My favorite lyric comes towards the end of the song when Rodrigo sings “Can’t think of a third line”. This isn’t lazy lyricism but rather represents Rodrigo’s insecurity of not being a good songwriter.

Finally, my favorite song on the album has to be “making the bed”. It’s a song that cuts deep and reflects upon Rodrigo’s struggles with blowing up without warning. Rodrigo describes that she feels like “a tourist attraction” and that she “got the things” but it just wasn’t what she “imagined”. The thought-provoking lines of the song, as well as her authenticity, are what make this track a clear standout to not only myself but to other listeners as well with this track climbing to number 19 on the September 23 dated Billboard Hot 100.

“GUTS” takes on a rock tone shown in some of her previous songs like “good 4 u” and “brutal” in “SOUR”. And while “SOUR” focuses on many of the same topics of heartbreak, “GUTS” breaks this cycle. Rodrigo is beginning to find her voice and experiment with her music which is prevalent in this album. Overall, I would rate this album a 9.5/10 because of her beautiful lyricism, ability to tell a story, as well as just being really fun to listen to!

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About the Contributor
Jade Dhamers
Jade Dhamers, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Jade is a sophomore and this is her second year with Echo as Arts and Entertainment Editor! Outside of Echo she is in Best Buddies, Spanish club, and key club. She also plays travel soccer in Oakbrook! In her free time, she enjoys reading, long walks, spending time with loved ones, and listening to Taylor Swift. After high school, she wants to major in elementary education.