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Album Anatomy: “GUTS”

Karli Riehle
Comprising of 12 songs, Olivia Rodrigo’s new album “GUTS” is her second studio album and was released on Sept. 8, 2023. Rodrigo’s first studio album, “SOUR,” released in 2021, was critically acclaimed and beloved by fans, making her second album long anticipated. Writer Isheeta Pal takes on the task of listening to “GUTS” and reviewing it, delving into its key themes and messaging.

On Sept. 8, 2023, singer/songwriter Olivia Rodrigo released her sophomore album “GUTS” on all music streaming platforms. “GUTS” takes listeners through themes of girlhood, teenage relationships and heartbreak, which gives listeners an opportunity to find something that they can relate to on a personal level. To learn more about the album, here is a review of each of the tracks in it. 

Track one: all-american b****

As the album’s opening song, it was surprisingly slow; I thought it was going to have a faster tempo like “brutal,” the opening song for her debut album, “SOUR.” Despite its slow tempo, the song has bass guitar in the chorus’s background, which adds an element of rock music to it. Moreover, Rodrigo expresses the struggles of girlhood through the song’s lyrics, which give many of her fans something to relate to. 

Favorite lyric: “I don’t get angry when I’m pissed, I’m the eternal optimist / I scream inside to deal with it.”

Rating: 9/10

Track two: bad idea right? 

With a fast tempo and the bass guitar background music that makes the song sound like a 2000s rock song, “bad idea right?” is about a girl wanting to get together with her ex-boyfriend. This song was released as a single before the whole album was released and it rapidly became a trending song on TikTok

Favorite lyric: “Yes, I know that he’s my ex, but can’t two people reconnect? / ‘I only see him as a friend,’ the biggest lie I ever said.”

Rating: 10/10

Track three: vampire 

Talking about heartbreak, this track starts off with a slow tempo but gradually gets faster. This is the type of song to listen to after a breakup, and it could arguably be the heartbreak anthem of 2023. After the chorus, there is a lot of bass guitar in the background, which once again brings the rock music element to the album. This song was released as the first single before the album’s release and it quickly went viral on TikTok

Favorite lyric: “You said it was true love, but wouldn’t that be hard? / You can’t love anyone, ‘cause that would mean you had a heart.”

Rating: 10/10

Track four: lacy 

This song brings up the themes of girlhood and being in love. While the message was something a lot of Rodrigo’s fans can relate to, the song was a little too slow for me; I was dozing off when I listened to it for the first time. This song almost felt like it lacked originality because it sounded similar to Conan Gray’s music. 

Favorite lyric: “I feel your compliments like bullets on skin.”

Rating: 8/10

Track five: ballad of a homeschooled girl 

This song’s tempo isn’t fast, nor is it slow. With its heavy bass guitar in the back, it almost sounds like a slow 2000s rock song. The lyrics also bring up the recurring theme of girlhood struggles. However, I wish there was more substance to the song; it sounded a little bland in terms of lyrics and rhythm. 

Favorite lyric: “I laughed at the wrong time, sat with the wrong guy (uh-huh) / Searching “How to start a conversation? on a website (how to flirt?)”

Rating: 7/10

Track six: making the bed 

This song also doesn’t have a fast tempo, but its tempo isn’t too slow either. This song’s lyrics also bring up the recurring theme of dealing with heartbreak. I also felt that this song lacked originality since it sounded like something musician Taylor Swift would sing. 

Favorite lyric: “They’re changing my machinery, and I just let it happen / I got the things I wanted, it’s just not what I imagined.” 

Rating: 7/10

Track seven: logical 

This song has a slow tempo and the lyrics bring up the recurring theme of heartbreak. I feel like people can listen to this song after a breakup or use it as soft background music. 

Favorite lyric: “Push away all the people who know me the best / But it’s me who’s been making the bed.”

Rating: 8/10

Track eight: get him back! 

This song talks about how a girl feels revengeful after a breakup. It has a lot of drums in the background, which makes the song sound like it was made in the 2000s. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite song in the album, but it’s definitely one of the better ones.

Favorite lyric: I wanna get him back / I wanna make him really jealous, wanna make him feel bad.”

Rating: 9/10

Track nine: love is embarrassing 

This song has a fast tempo with drums in the background and the lyrics go through the tough situations that often occur in teenage relationships. The song has a great rhythm, one that I wouldn’t mind listening to repeatedly. 

Favorite lyric: “I give up, give up, I give up everything / I placed my bets, and it’s not worth anything / I give up, give up, but I keep comin’ back for more, yeah.”

Rating: 10/10

Track 10: the grudge 

With a slow tempo, this song talks about a manipulative romantic relationship and a tough situation in it. The only thing it was lacking was a sense of rhythm; for a slow song, its beat sounded a little monotonous. 

Favorite lyric: But you know I can’t let it go, I’ve tried, I’ve tried, I’ve tried for so long / It takes strength to forgive, but I don’t feel strong.”

Rating: 8/10

Track 11: pretty isn’t pretty

With the guitar playing in the background, the lyrics of this song portray the tumultuous emotions of a girl trying to meet the unrealistic beauty standards that society has set for her. Although Rodrigo spreads a powerful message through this song, the tempo of it seemed a bit too slow for me, which is why I started getting bored when I listened to it for the first time. 

Favorite lyric: ‘Cause there’s always somethin’ missin’ / There’s always somethin’ in the mirror that I think looks wrong.”

Rating: 9/10

Track 12: teenage dream 

With the piano playing in the background, the lyrics of this song talk about the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood. Also, the song had a slow but good rhythm. 

Favorite lyric: “Yeah, they all say that it gets better / It gets better, but what if I don’t?”

Rating: 9/10

Overall, “GUTS” is an album targeted towards listeners who are in their adolescent years. Because it talks about girlhood, teenage romantic relationships and dealing with breakups, high school students, especially Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) students, should find something in the album that they can relate to. 

Finally, to put the icing on the cake, Rodrigo announced through Instagram on Sept. 13 that she will be embarking on a world tour called “GUTS.” 

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About the Contributors
Isheeta Pal
Isheeta Pal, Assignment Editor
Ballet dancer and dog lover.
Karli Riehle
Karli Riehle, Illustrator
A first-year illustrator, obsessed with dragons and doodling.

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