Review: ‘Guts’ perfectly describes teenage-girlhood

Hadley Hoskins

guts cover
Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album, “Guts” was released on Sept. 8. Album cover from

Two years after her debut album, “Sour,” Olivia Rodrigo released her sophomore album, “Guts.” The album, which came out on Sept. 8, features 12 songs, with a runtime of 39 minutes.

“I really like it. It makes me scream at the top of my lungs,” junior Adriana Berra said.

Just as Rodrigo did in “Sour,” “Guts” explores a mix of genres. Some songs, such as “all american b****” take on angstier tones, reminiscent of early 2000’s pop-punk music. Others are slower and arguably more vulnerable, almost theatrical-sounding, like “vampire.” Combined, the sound perfectly encapsulates the experience of being a teenage girl, through its almost moodswing-ey genre-switching and emotional rollercoasters.

The album soared to number one on the Billboard 200, making Rodrigo the first woman since 2014 to have her first two albums start at the top of the chart (the last woman to do so was Ariana Grande). The album also marked the sixth-largest debut of 2023, with almost 200 million streams, according to Billboard magazine.

Not only does the musical tone help encapsulate the “teenage-girl experience, but so do the lyrics. Rodrigo writes openly and honestly about awkwardness and embarrassment in “Ballad of a Homeschooled girl,” and boys, love and heartbreak in songs such as “Get him back,” “logical” and “Bad idea right?” Even topics that might be less relatable to listeners– growing up in the music industry, for example– Rodrigo makes relatable in “teenage dream.”

The album faced immense pressure to do well on charts. Rodrigo’s first album, “Sour,” marked the biggest album debut on Spotify of 2021. Some fans said they thought the album was good but didn’t live up to “Sour,” while others said it was better overall.

“I just like sour more overall as an album… because I feel like the songs have more emotion to them,” senior Aria Ford said.

“I think her voice is a lot more mature, and the content [is more mature] because it’s more after fame. I feel like it’s more about how [fame] affected her,” Berra said.

After the release of “Sour,” Rodrigo was accused of certain songs– “Good for you” and “Deja Vu” from “Sour”– sounding too much like other songs (in those cases, “Misery Business” by Paramore and “Cruel Summer” by Taylor Swift). Retroactive credit was given to those artists as songwriters on those songs.

About the accusations, Berra said, “I think a lot of artists do that, or people think artists do that, just because there’s so much music out there. So it’s hard for you to not sound the same as someone else.”

As a result of this controversy, rumors about a possible feud between Rodrigo and Swift spread across the internet. Rodrigo denied this in an interview with Rolling Stone, but fans still speculated whether certain songs on the album (“lacy” and “the grudge”) were about Swift.

Ford disagreed. “I don’t think there’s any beef. I think people made it up,” she said.

The punky, pop-rock songs shone through as fan-favorites from the album.

“My favorite is ‘Get him back,’ because it’s relatable,” Berra said.

“My favorite song is ‘Love is Embarrassing’ or ‘All American.’ I like the lyrics in ‘Love is Embarrassing’ a lot,” Ford said.

Overall, the album absolutely lives up to the legacy of “Sour.” Rodrigo tackles more mature concepts, explores the pressures of fame and maintains relatability, all through beautiful songwriting and a captivating sound.


Hadley Hoskins- Editor-in-Chief

This will be Hadley Hoskins’ second year on Echo staff.

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