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Photo courtesy of Billboard.
The Holdovers Review
February 20, 2024

Olivia Rodrigo’s Sophomore Album GUTS

Photo Courtesy of The New Yorker.

Olivia Rodrigo has quickly become one of the most influential artists of our generation. Debuting her first album Sour in 2021, she won many awards for her chart-topping album, including Grammys, American Music Awards and People’s Choice Awards. Riding the number one spot on the Billboard with her hits such as “drivers license” and “good 4 u.” Over two years after her first album, on September 8th, 2023, the singer released her sophomore album of twelve new songs, GUTS. Prior to the release of the full album, Rodrigo released the songs “vampire” and “bad idea right?” as singles with music videos. Many fans were excited to see what Rodrigo would do next, given the success of her first album. People were eager to see if the Disney Channel actress would be able to live up to the success and popularity of her first album. 

Personally, I was very excited to have a listen at Olivia Rodrigo’s album and compare it to her first album, which has some amazing songs and personal favorites. My first impression of GUTS was that it was very similar to Sour, as it carried the same teenage angst, self-loathing and struggles with young love that she portrayed throughout different songs. Despite the topic similarities and the fact that some of the songs sound like they could be interchangeable on each album, I really enjoyed her music and also was a fan of most of the songs. I had already heard “vampire” and “bad idea right?” prior to listening to, both of which I enjoyed and “bad idea right?” being my top of the two. After my first listen, I really enjoyed most of the songs, with my favorites being “logical” and “making the bed.” I personally feel that Olivia’s singer-songwriter style songs are her better ones, as they are more raw, emotional and relatable than her aggressive pop hits. The album starts with “all-american b*tch,” which starts and ends on a slower note, but gets really upbeat in the middle. Days after the album’s debut, Rodrigo announced that she would be releasing a music video for the song “get him back!” In this song, she talks about a situationship she has with a guy, where sometimes she adores him and other times she is over and done with him. This is her most recent video and has over 10 million views on YouTube.

The album has gotten many mixed reviews, most of which claim that the album is great but very similar to other music Olivia has put out before, especially mimicking Sour. Cat Zhang of Pitchfork said that “GUTS is so spunky and bitingly charismatic that its few lows feel like a shame” (Pitchfork Reviews). Many professional reviewers claim that the album is a result of Rodrigo trying too hard to make her presence and image known and make it clear of how she wants to be seen to the public eye. Her aesthetic is very similar to the Sour aesthetic, where she has a grungy 2000s vibe and carried that with her to this era.

Rodrigo has continued to remain popular and a star during her release, but many fear that she will continue to sound repetitive. Personally, I feel that GUTS is a strong album, but is far too similar to her previous albums and the previous image she has set out onto the world. Additionally, I feel that she waited too long to release new music, as I do not have as much of an interest in her as I did years ago. Despite this, GUTS still has some amazing songs that are worthy of a listen and are certainly a contender for this season of music awards. 

 

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