Why go to therapy when we now have the album “GUTS” by Olivia Rodrigo? Released on Sept. 8, Olivia Rodrigo has created yet another riveting album for teenage girls all over the world to consume. She commands her listeners with strong ballads, such as “making the bed” and “the grudge,” but she also hones in on her grunge side with songs like, “get him back!” or “bad idea right?” While a different vibe from her first album, “SOUR,” Rodrigo perfectly embodies all of the emotions you feel when spilling your guts. It would be easy for me to convince most teenage girls to give this album a listen, and I’m sure Rodrigo knows this is her prime audience, but personally, I think everyone should take a listen to “GUTS,” because these songs are made for the emotional teenager inside all of us.
Have you ever gotten back with an ex when you know you shouldn’t have? I know you have! Well, take a listen to “bad idea right?,” as it takes you through the journey of actively going against your friends’ advice and seeing the one person that is very much not worth it– as Rodrigo says, “I’m sure I’ve seen much hotter men/But I really can’t remember when.” It’s a great song to scream at the top of your lungs, trust me. A good follow-up to that song would be “get him back!,” which perfectly depicts that feeling of wanting “sweet revenge,” as Rodrigo puts it, but also still feeling guilty for wanting to go back to them, “I wanna break his heart,/ stitch it right back up, I wanna kiss his face with an uppercut,/I wanna meet his mom and tell her her son sucks.” We always think we can fix them, but let’s be honest, we really can’t.
If you’re still feeling like these more grunge, F-you songs are your vibe, then let me introduce you to: “all-american bitch,” “ballad of a homeschooled girl” and “love is embarrassing,” each of which preach powerful messages through punk instrumentals and vocals. “all-american bitch” cycles through the concept of needing to balance your personality in order to not be ridiculed by the public. As Rodrigo sings, “I’m grateful all the time/I’m sexy and I’m kind/I’m pretty when I cry.” She perfectly captures the feeling of how women feel the pressure to act within the male gaze in order to be accepted. “Ballad of a homeschooled girl” has a similar mood, in which Rodrigo feels like each time she steps out into the social realm, she embarasses herself. Her witty lines add to the angst, such as “thought your mom was your wife/called you the wrong name twice/can’t think of a third line.” Yes, so relatable Olivia. “love is embarrassing” is very much what it sounds like. Bitterly, but in a good way, Rodrigo reflects on all the stupid things she’s done for someone who was not worth an ounce of her time, saying,“You found a new version of me/and I damn near startеd World War III/Jesus, what was I even doin’?” Real.
Now let’s say you’re into a more slow song type of vibe, well don’t worry, she’s got something for you too. Take a listen to “making the bed” or “the grudge” if you want to absolutely destroy yourself! “Making the bed” paints the idea of self sabotage and knowing that while you may be the victim in your mind, you are the one who got yourself into this situation and now you must deal with it. Thanks for the reality check, Olivia! But that’s not all; in “the grudge,” we have lyrics such as, “and I hear your voice every time that I think I’m not enough” and “It takes strength to forgive, but I don’t feel strong.” The song describes the trauma from someone who made you feel so little and insignificant that each new relationship is haunted by them. Super awesome!!
Of course, there are a few songs that have a more melancholy vibe to them, such as “pretty isn’t pretty,” “lacy,” “vampire” and “logical.” Most have heard “vampire” by now, a song taking you through the idea of someone draining you and taking advantage of you, though “lacy,” which follows “vampire,” depicts being so jealous of someone that you literally obsess over each thing they do– “i despise my rotten mind and how much it worships you.” This is something everyone has been guilty of, let’s be honest. “logical,” on the other hand, focuses more on how sometimes you can never make the person you’re with happy, with a personal favorite line that goes “said I was too young, I was too soft/can’t take a joke, can’t get you off.” Finally, “pretty isn’t pretty” goes off on the idea that no matter what you do, whether it be starving yourself, layering makeup on your face or hiding in your clothes, you will never feel pretty enough for today’s societal standards. Super great.
The final song on the album, “teenage dream,” sounds like it would be a hopeful ending to this heartbreaking album. No! Completely soul-crushing, Olivia Rodrigo sings “When am I gonna stop being great for my age and just start being good?” and also, “Yeah, they all say that it gets better/it gets better, but what if I don’t?” Very different from her last song on “SOUR,” which ends on a more optimistic note, this song leaves the listener questioning the past 39 minutes. Though in many ways, that captures the whole concept of the album– not knowing the future and only knowing that right in this moment you are hurting. The pain you can feel simply by being a teenage girl, or just a teenager in general, is overlooked and considered “a phase,” but is in many ways one of the most difficult times of life, and even if it is over some ex, why does that make it any less valid? It doesn’t. “GUTS” tells us that it’s okay to feel all of these feelings, no matter how ridiculous they may sound in your mind. Take it from me, a real life teenage girl: this is the greatest lesson you can learn.