Ms. Olivia Rodrigo has returned. The amount of times I’ve screamed to this woman’s songs in the car (which feels strange to say since she’s only two years older than me) is at least tenfold. But is the hype for her sophomore album GUTS deserved? Does her songwriting hold up? I won’t hold back, I fear.
The Taylor Swift influences are coming through strongly, and the guitar is sharp and punching. The way she sang, “I know my age and I act like it” scratches my brain in just the right place. Was this as hard hitting as “brutal” from SOUR? No. Is it close? I mean, yeah. Nice intro and nice snark.
bad idea, right?
Heck yeah, this is nice! What can beat the “I never said where and in whose sheets” part? The censored version falls off, however, and replacing the spoken line immediately before the chorus with “whatever, it’s fine” dulls the edge of the song. But, it’s sassy, it’s hard-hitting, and it’s the best single she came out with this summer.
The last thing I wanted was another depressing song about getting cheated on. So, I suspect you can guess what single she came out with that I didn’t like. But the more I listened to it, the tension and rage was palpable and commendable. Some people might swear by it, and I’m not going to outright disagree with that philosophy.
This didn’t suck! However, the ending verse gets a little too “cursivey” for me. If you want to make me laugh, say random things in a cursive voice. 90% success rate. Oh, the song? Nice and soft, fit for walking in grassy fields in puffy white dresses.
ballad of a homeschooled girl
The guitar in the beginning and the chorus is giving me “2013 alternative indie song on Alt Nation that comes on during a road trip” vibes, which I enjoy. I wasn’t homeschooled, but the rhythm with which she sings kicks hard. I didn’t love how disjointed the “let’s speed up the tempo at the end” part was, but everything else made this song repeatable.
making the bed
If you know me personally, I’m not a “slow song person” unless the weather permits. But what I hear is vulnerability. Sure, it has twinges of top 100 pop with the airy instrumentals (not saying that as a bad thing but rather a basic one), but the lyrics do have depth to them. The guitar before the last chorus vaguely reminds me of the iconic one “déjà vu,” destined for so many dreary scenes in teen dramas.
I’m not going to lie. When I saw the lyrics “2 x 2 = 5, and I’m the love of your life,” I giggled. It reminded me of the TikTok trend where an artist makes a song based on a nursery rhyme gimmick (“abcdefu,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” etc.), which is overplayed and frown-inducing. This song, and many others along a similar theme, are relatable to so many people. I suppose that’s good.
get him back!
Wow. I have feelings about this one, and they’re not positive. I swear that she didn’t go as hard as she should’ve with this song. The lyrics in the chorus seem too simplistic. You wanna make him feel bad? Thesaurus.com is right there. Make him feel despicable. Also, what kind of lyric is “I wanna key his car, I wanna make him lunch?” Push the envelope! Go harder! Make listeners cover their mouths and go “did she just say that?” like with SOUR. I’ll cap it off with a quote from one of my friends who listened to the album with me. “It sounds like Kidz-Bop.” And that, reader, is something you never want to be compared to.
love is embarrassing
The 80s-esque beat could get anyone in a groovin’ mood, and the lyrics aren’t awful (and they’ve got some spunk)! I harp on the instrumentals a lot on here, but the production is clear and crisp and never misses. Also, how she says “stewwpid” is colorful and gives good character to the song.
This was a punch. That’s all I have to say.
pretty isn’t pretty
Here, My Chemical Romance’s “The Kids from Yesterday” meets Beach Bunny’s “Prom Queen,” if those references mean anything to someone. The song was meant to be the “jealousy, jealousy” of GUTS, and I can definitely tell. The instrumental is lackluster at worst and good for passive listening, but the lyrics are rather the opposite.
Honestly, this is an excellent ending song. The key of the piano, the strings, and hints of dissonance leading up to the outburst fit very well. This might be my favorite slow song on the album. Nice work, Rodrigo.