The International

The International

The International



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‘GUTS’: A step-by-step guide to the mind of a modern teenager

Olivia Rodrigo’s second studio album, “GUTS.” (Image credit: Geffen)

What exactly does it mean to “spill your guts”? Olivia Rodrigo “spilled her guts” venting about shameful boyfriends, revealing confusing truths about the teenage world, and admitting to a self-sabotaging mindset.

In her new-fashioned album, “GUTS,” Rodrigo divulges her ‘sinful’ mind. Rodrigo has certainly gained experience since her clever but slightly sheltered debut album “SOUR.” Undoubtedly still infuriated by the acute heartbreaks she has endured since then, Rodrigo revisits her torment, laying her emotions bare in song.

Contrary to usual teen pop love songs, Rodrigo has taken a more raw, almost self-loathing approach to the cliches of young love. This is especially clear in the album’s distressing sixth track, “Making the Bed.” Her lyrics “another thing I ruined, I used to do for fun.” admit the defeat of self-sabotage.

Rodrigo’s destructive tendencies are a running theme of the album. In the mournful “Logical,” one lyric reads, “Two plus two equals five, and I’m the love of your life,” showcasing Olivia’s reflection on her blindness to her impossible relationship. In “Love is Embarrassing,” Rodrigo admits, “I consoled you while you cried/ over your ex-girlfriend’s new guy,” exhibiting another nonsensical decision.  

In “Pretty isn’t Pretty,” Rodrigo touches on topics relevant to many of her listeners yet not often mentioned in music, “There’s always something in the mirror that I think looks wrong.” Within the lyrics, she confronts body-dysmorphic tendencies that are deeply personal to her audience of adolescent girls.

Rodrigo transcends typical expectations not only through her lyrics but also through her genre-blending sounds. GUTS mixes classic pop melodies such as “Vampire, Get Him Back!” or “Love is Embarrassing” with more grungy and emotional rock songs like “Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl” or “All-American B***h.” The scratchy beats of these reckless rock songs are outpourings of outrage and rebellious punches to the impossible pressure of teenage drama. In “All American B***h,” Rodrigo shows how the world’s unrealistic expectations have falsely taught her what is “normal.” In the lyrics, “I am light as a feather and as stiff as a board,” she points out how ridiculous the wishes of today’s society are.

Rodrigo’s album, however, is not all angst. On some melodies, the unhurried piano is met with a delicate range of vocals exposing a melancholic side of Rodrigo. In “Teenage Dream” and “Logical,” she delves into her traumatic thoughts with a more heart-wrenching and soft tone.

The unapologetically vengeful GUTS album takes never-seen-before turns through the path of a teenage outcast. Channeling a Gen Z brain, it peeks at demented societal expectations. It mourns over the loss of love through self-sabotage. It reveals overlooked gaslighting. All of the above is done through 12 vulnerable tracks that model how to “spill your guts” successfully.


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