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The North Star Online

The official news site of J.W. North High School

The North Star Online

Spill Your GUTS

GUTS album cover
GUTS album cover

On September 8, 2023, Olivia Rodrigo released her second pop album, GUTS, nearly two years after she debuted with her album SOUR. After those long years, the pop industry has finally received the second installment of her wonderful music journey. Let’s see how both albums compare. 

SOUR, was an album full of songs following the idea of breakups and heartbreak. Contrasting the last album, Rodrigo released more happy and upbeat-sounding songs this time around. Through her first two singles entitled “vampire” and “bad idea, right?”, the vibe of music has moved away from heartbreak and more into rebound and revenge on past relationships. 

Junior at North, Evelyn Tapia, shares her opinions on how she thinks Rodrigo has grown since releasing SOUR. She says, “I think SOUR is a really super good album but I think you can tell [like] that she’s just grown as a person, you know? Because in [like] a way because SOUR was more [like] heartbreak like, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to get over you. And then GUTS is more like ‘I’m kind of over you but I’ll go back if I want to,’ like it’s my own choice,”. 

While still being upbeat, catchy songs, there is a lingering feeling of romance sent through “vampire” and “bad idea, right?” even though they both have very different beats. As  “vampire” starts, the song sounds more like an angry and resentful letter sent to an ex-lover who has put you through difficult times and exploited you, whereas “bad idea right?” starts out sounding very indie-rock. Through the journey of this song, it is easy to see how the protagonist has some regrets from the relationship but knows the other person has made even more mistakes but still gets away with them. 

The song, “bad idea, right?” has a message of wanting to go back to the ex-relationship even though it is clear that it is a mistake or, hence the title, a “bad idea.” Not wanting to listen to her friends, Rodrigo tries to think of what would happen if she went to see her ex, no matter how bad of an idea it is. This single is much less moody than “vampire,” but still portrays the sass of a teenage girl and her feelings towards her ex-relationship. 

Many of the songs on the new album start very mellow and low energy but then become increasingly more punk/pop as they get closer to the chorus. Songs like “all-american b*tch”,  “vampire”, “lacy”, and “making the bed”, have a start and sound similar to “traitor”, or “enough for you”, off of SOUR. Songs like these discuss all of the difficult aspects of being a teenage girl, like comparing yourself and feeling jealous of others. All of these topics have been very evident throughout Rodrigo’s songs, especially in SOUR

Rodrigo is aiming for more of a punk genre this time around, rather than the slower break-up songs that were centered on SOUR. Songs like “love is embarrassing”, “ballad of a homeschooled girl”, and “get him back!” all start off sounding very upbeat and chaotic, while still having the meaning linked back to old relationships and expressing the feeling of emptiness. This type of music fits Rodrigo’s aesthetic as she seems to like the Y2K aesthetic which is the generation where some of her best inspiration comes from, like from artist Avril Lavigne. 

Senior Maya Gutierrez shares her opinions on what she thinks one of the best songs on Rodriggo’s new album is, “I love ‘get him back!’ because it’s just like a really edgy, kind of high school cliche, song…and it just gives you a middle ground,”. 

The marketing for this new album was not as intense as SOUR, which is understandable since SOUR was her debut album. Rodrigo has made many posts on Instagram talking about the release of GUTS, as well as doing many interviews discussing what the new album entails. Rodrigo announced the names of each of the twelve songs on the new album on August 1st, via an Instagram post.

GUTS gives the audience a look inside a teenager’s mind through many of the thoughts that may appear after a break-up, the act of comparing yourself to other people, not feeling like yourself, and much more. Using concepts that are common occurrences of a teenage mind is what makes this album so easy to relate to and love, Rodrigo really channels into her teenage brain as she wrote this album and it is clear. Though GUTS has a different vibe than SOUR, it is still a great release, especially for only being a sophomore album and being released by someone of her young age. If pop, punk, or indie-rock, are the genres you usually reach for, give GUTS a listen and watch Olivia Rorigo spill her guts to you. 

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Gwen Gollihar, Opinion Editor

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