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The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

A junior girls group (L to R: Ava Nauman, Elsie MacCleery, Caroline Grist, Lucy Vigilante, Ella Pinto, Emily See, Gigi Hathaway, Jean-Nika VDW, Mackenzie Kinnan)  sings Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars for their singing valentine.
Singing Valentines Gallery
Cooper Shelton, Staff Writer • February 20, 2024

Genius Or Garbage? A GUTS Review

+GUTS+Album+Cover+Starring+Rodrigo
GUTS Album Cover Starring Rodrigo

Tracks:

  1. All American Bitch
  2. Bad Idea Right?
  3. Vampire
  4. Lacy
  5. Ballad of a Homeschool Girl
  6. Making the Bed
  7. Logical
  8. Get Him Back!
  9. Love is Embarrassing 
  10. The Grudge
  11. Pretty isn’t Pretty
  12. Teenage Dream

 

Olivia Rodrigo’s new album, “GUTS,” does not hit the mark. Many of the songs are lacking lyrically compared to “Sour” and overall feel less genuine. There are exceptions to this, but if you compare the first released single, and one of the strongest songs on “GUTS,” “Vampire” to “drivers license” it’s abundantly clear that “Vampire” is the weaker track.

The album begins with “All American Bitch” (a song that is reminiscent of Calypso’s “Spiderbait” from “10 Things I Hate About You”). This is one of the best songs on the album, just because some of the later tracks blend together and are a bit unmemorable. The way she explores the impossible and hypocritical standards that women are held to by society or even the standards she is held to as a public figure in a catchy pop-rock song is very well done. Compared to “Brutal,” the opening track of “Sour,” this song has a more cohesive theme.

In 2021, Taylor Swift’s team accused Rodrigo of copyright infringement because of the similarity between Rodrigo’s “Deja Vu” and Swift’s “Cruel Summer.” Rodrigo ended up having to give Swift writing credits on the song. Because of this, there has been speculation that “Vampire,” the third track on the album and the first released single from “GUTS,” is about Swift. I don’t think this fan theory is accurate. Rodrigo has had a history of dating significantly older men, and Zack Bia, a 27-year-old producer, is likely who the song is about. “Vampire” is one of the strongest tracks on the album. It has great production and is the most lyrically strong song on the album.

Rumored to be about Sabrina Carpenter because of her Brigitte Bardot photo shoots, or Madison Beer because of her public adoration of Brigitte Bardot, “Lacy” is the fourth track, and my favorite, on GUTS. This song crosses the line of obsession and is clearly a love song. She is not only obsessively jealous and hates “Lacy,” but is also in love with her. People that still think this song doesn’t stand on its own as a love song and is instead strictly an evolved “jealousy, jealousy” are insane. “And I despise my jealous eyes and how hard they fell for you” is clearly an admission of love. The production of this song is amazing, and “Lacy” is amazing at expressing complicated emotions.

 I appreciate the irony in calling the fifth track, “Ballad of a Homeschool Girl” (as it is the furthest thing from a ballad). This song is one of the best on the album. It’s lacking a bit vocally, but the lyrics and production are great. It’s very relatable and angsty and fun.“The Grudge” is very lyrically and vocally strong, however it’s an incredibly forgettable song. It blends into the rest of the discography because of how it seems like every song on GUTS is either this pop-rock early 2000s type song or a slow and sad ballad, and I think this shows the weakness in having all your songs sound incredibly similar.

By far the most gut wrenching song on the album, “Teenage Dream” is a great way to end an album. It feels like the younger girls’ POV of “Nothing New” (a song by Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers). This song’s equivalent on “Sour” is pretty clearly “hope ur ok”, and they’re pretty on par with each other and they’re both very underappreciated songs.

“Bad Idea Right,” “Making the Bed,” “Logical,” “Get Him Back!,” “Love is Embarrassing,” and “Pretty isn’t Pretty” all fall short. “Bad Idea Right?” was Olivia Rodrigo’s second released single and the second track on GUTS. “In whose sheets” is a significantly better lyric than “in his sheets” and anyone that disagrees is just wrong. This song is very lyrically weak. The speak-singing adds a nice amount of angst to the song, but overall it’s not a song I would ever go out of my way to listen to. 

“Making the Bed” is too repetitive. She says the phrase “making the bed” eleven times throughout the song, it has crossed the line of emphasis and by the end of the song, it feels like she’s beating a dead horse. 

“Logical” would be one of the better songs on the album, except the line “you got me thinking two plus two equals five” completely ruins it. It’s just such a jarring lyric. It feels off and unnatural and makes the song nearly unbearable to listen to. Without that line (which is repeated a heinous amount of times) it would feel significantly more genuine and feel like a more cohesive song. 

“Get Him Back!” Is a very fun song. However, it lacks lyrical depth and I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to it. It doesn’t tell a story, and I feel as though the album would be better without this song. 

“Love Is Embarrassing” is very weak. It’s severely lacking in the production, vocals, and lyrics, and is incredibly forgettable.

“Pretty Isn’t Pretty” is lyrically okay, however the production is throwing me off. It feels more like this low-key indie song you would hear from like Girl in Red or Clairo, not Olivia Rodrigo. This song isn’t terrible, it’s just missing something to make it a worthwhile listen.

Overall, the album is too polished to be endearing. It doesn’t feel as genuine as “Sour” did and just generally with better production, and while her songwriting has improved and matured, the songs on “GUTS” are less specific than those on “Sour” and thus don’t feel like they’re telling much of a story with each song.

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About the Contributor
Isabella Stewart, Staff Writer
Isabella is a freshman at WAHS who is in her first year of Journalism. Outside of school she enjoys reading, listening to music, and hiking.
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