After her record-breaking 2021 album ‘SOUR’ and securing a Best New Artist Grammy, Olivia Rodrigo now unveils a more mature yet still teen angst-filled sophomore album, ‘GUTS’. As my soon-to-be top-streamed album on Spotify Wrapped, I’m eager to spill my own guts (get it?) on the unique aesthetic of every single song in this latest release—both the ballads and bangers alike.
all american b***h
Aesthetic: Finally letting that repressed scream out(you know the one).
Reasoning: The album starts off with a gut punch as Rodrigo mocks the impossible societal expectations women face to be perfect and nice all the time, owning that she’ll always be a little messy (because women can’t be put into a box, duh).
Favorite Lyric: “I scream inside to deal with it, like, ‘Ah.'”
Aesthetic: What happens when you go from driving lessons with Joshua Bassett to being gaslit at parties with Zach Bia(derogatory).
Reasoning: The song maintains a constant sense of motion, steadily building in intensity as the tempo escalates. It culminates in a dynamic chorus that, once initiated, compels me to run somewhere(a momentous accomplishment in itself).
Favorite Lyric: “And every girl I ever talked to told me you were bad, bad news. You called them crazy, god, I hate the way I called ’em crazy too.”
making the bed
Aesthetic: Realizing you’re the problem in everything you don’t like about your life.
Reasoning: Two years into her overnight fame, Rodrigo lyrically confesses her disillusionment with the pressures and emptiness of being more product than person—a situation admittedly of her own making. If you find yourself relating a little too much to Taylor Swift’s ‘Mirrorball,’ this is for you.
Favorite Lyric: “I got the things I wanted, it’s just not what I imagined.”
get him back!
Aesthetic: Romanticizing a bad situation due to a fleeting good memory, confusing hatred for tension.
Reasoning: I love that the title ‘get him back’ has a double meaning of revenge and recoupling since the narrator genuinely can’t decide whether she misses her ex or wants to slash his tires. In the end, it’s probably both.
Favorite Lyric: “He said he was 6 ‘2 and I said dude nice try.”
ballad of a homeschooled girl
Aesthetic: Replaying every embarrassing thing you said and did after finally getting off your couch, convincing yourself that everyone hates you.
Reasoning: An anthem that captures the universal embarrassment in the simple act of existing and interacting with people as a teenage girl. As an added plus, it makes you want to head bop.
Favorite Lyric: “Sеarchin’ “how to start a conversation?” on a website.”
love is embarrassing
Aesthetic: Giving your all in a relationship with a guy who couldn’t care less about you, then cringing at your past self.
Reasoning: The scorching one-liners in this song expose her ‘Bob the Builder’ level ‘I can fix him’ energy that she regrettably adopted in her past relationship.
Favorite Lyric: “Loser who’s not worth mentioning.”
bad idea right?
Aesthetic: The lead single of an early 2000’s movie soundtrack, featuring the toxic pop-rock rationalization of bad decisions.
Reasoning: The plot? I’m concerned but invested. Vocals? Her sarcastic tone makes me believe that I’m an accomplice in her questionable decision-making and I love it.
Favorite Lyric: “I only see him as a friend, the biggest lie I ever said.”
Aesthetic: An echoey lullaby
Reasoning: Rodrigo has toyed with the idea of achingly painful jealousy before in ‘SOUR’s’ ‘jealousy, jealousy,’ but this time around she’s traded her pop-punk bass in for soft guitar strumming and piano. She directs her jealous feelings towards an idealized figure who’s perfection in simply existing fuels her insecurity. At times, her voice is barely above a whisper in a Gracie Abrams-esque beat that only pulls the listener in even more.
Favorite Lyric: “Try to rationalize, people are people, but it’s like you’re made of angel dust.”
Aesthetic: Feeling as if you’ve already peaked as a teenager.
Reasoning: I love a good instrumental full-circle moment. In SOUR’s opening track, ‘Brutal,’ Rodrigo asked, ‘Where’s my… teenage dream?’ and in the last track of her second album, it seems as if she’s answering it. Her brand is so intertwined with youth, and now, at 19, on the cusp of leaving her teenage years behind, she’s admitting her fears that this is the best she can be.
Favorite Lyric: “I’m sorry that I couldn’t always be your teenage dream.”
Aesthetic: Proving that she’s a sustainable queen by recycling her trash of an ex into a vulnerable yet artistic masterpiece.
Reasoning: Rodrigo offers a painful retrospective, realizing she once bought into the narrative her ex painted of their relationship, ignoring her own gut.
Favorite Lyric: “’Cause if rain don’t pour and sun don’t shine, then changing you is possible.”
Aesthetic: Failing to gain closure from past hurt by winning an argument with yourself in the bathroom mirror.
Reasoning: The song exudes profound vulnerability, casting Rodrigo as a sympathetic protagonist in the narrative of a relationship that deeply hurt her. While time has passed, it’s clear that the wound hasn’t fully healed, and she admits that she is neither ready to forgive nor forget.
Favorite Lyric: “We both drew blood but those cuts were never equal.”
pretty isn’t pretty
Aesthetic: Keeping up with your own perpetual insecurity.
Reasoning: As Rodrigo acknowledges, because of the ever-changing societal standards of beauty and her reliance on it, satisfaction with her appearance will always be just out of reach.
Favorite Lyric: “And everybody’s keepin’ it up, so you think it’s you.”