Olivia Rodrigo knocked it out of the park on her first attempt, along with her prompt traditional of a debut, Sour. So expectations have been sky-high for her subsequent transfer. But the suspense is over: her wonderful new Guts is one other prompt traditional, along with her most bold, intimate, and messy songs but. Olivia’s pop-punk bangers are stuffed with killer strains (“I wanna meet your mother, simply to inform her her son sucks”) however she pushes deeper in highly effective ballads like “Logical.” All over Guts, she’s so witty, so pissed off, so angsty at the similar time, the approach solely a rock star could be. And that is the album of a very sensible rock star.
As on Sour, O-Rod co-wrote the songs along with her trusty collaborator/producer Dan Nigro. Last time she kicked off the album with the query, “I’m so sick of 17 / Where’s my fucking teenage dream?” This time, she indicators off with the ballad “Teenage Dream,” lamenting, “I’m sorry that I couldn’t all the time be your teenage dream.” But it’s America’s sweetheart blowing up into the self-proclaimed “All-American Bitch” and getting just a few issues off her thoughts. As she declares from the begin, “I’ve bought the solar in my motherfucking pocket.”
Rodrigo avoids all the typical second-album pitfalls—no songs about how fame is traumatic, no songs about social media. The nice lead single “Vampire” seems to be a complete outlier, as a result of it’s the solely music that goes for a celebrity-life angle. Instead, she focuses on the subject she actually cares about as a songwriter: the gawky, insecure, bizarre American Every-Girl we met in “Driver’s License.” All over Guts, she reveals off her superb aptitude for detailed story-telling, making every line really feel like she’s simply spilling it out, one pained confession at a time.
“All-American Bitch” kicks it off with a unbelievable pop-punk angst rant, with a title from Joan Didion, selecting up the place “Brutal” stopped. It’s stuffed with slumber-party vitality (“I’m gentle as a feather, stiff as a board”) as she sings about striving to reside as much as an ideal preferrred (“I bought class and integrity, similar to a goddamn Kennedy”) however attempting to cover her darkish facet. At the finish, she sneers, “I’m grateful all the time / I’m horny and I’m sort / I’m fairly once I cry.” (That line would possibly really feel like a shout-out to her pal Lana Del Rey.)
Her love life is brutal as ever, and she is aware of find out how to savor it as a terrific joke. In “Love Is Embarrassing,” she fumes, “You discovered a brand new model of me / And I rattling close to began World War 3.” But she’s all the time coming again for extra, although she admits, “I’m planning out my marriage ceremony with some man I’m by no means marrying.” The closest factor to a contented romantic connection is the ex she jumps in “Bad Idea Right,” who not less than owns a mattress.
“Get Him Back!!” rips right into a bad-news boyfriend, with a brain-devouring pop-punk refrain and a Joan Jett-level air-guitar hook. Olivia goes full blast with putdowns like “He had an ego and a mood and a wandering eye/He mentioned he’s 6-foot-2 and I’m like, dude, good attempt.” She can’t determine whether or not she desires to “get him again” as in reuniting, or as in revenge, however she craves each at the similar time, so she vows, “I wanna key his automobile / I wanna make him lunch/I wanna break his coronary heart then be the one to sew him up.” There’s additionally an intriguing private apart when she quips, “I’m my father’s daughter, so perhaps I can repair him?”
But the finest moments on Guts are her emotional piano ballads like “Logical,” “The Grudge,” and “Teenage Dream.” “Logical” is the most poignant and highly effective second on the album. Like so many of those songs, it’s the story of a younger girl getting manipulated and humiliated by an older man. Rodrigo’s voice chokes with rage as she sings, “Said I used to be too younger, I used to be too delicate/Can’t take a joke, can’t get you off.” The music builds to the level the place she sings the troubling line “I do know I’m half accountable” (she’s not) and ends by asking herself, “Why didn’t I cease all of it?”
“The Grudge” is at the similar highly effective stage—she torments herself over a break-up, arguing with him when she’s alone in entrance of her bed room mirror. As she sings, “I’m so robust once I’m alone/And I make you’re feeling so responsible/And I fantasize a couple of time whenever you’re somewhat fucking sorry.” But she wonders why she couldn’t rise up for herself, confessing, “It takes power to forgive, however I don’t really feel robust.”
“Lacy” is a mournful lament about falling underneath the spell of a femme fantasy preferrred, who’s a “dazzling starlet/Bardot reincarnate,” however seems to be “made from angel mud.” (“Lacy” shall be broadly interpreted as a touch upon alleged private dramas she could or will not be having with one other pop star, and Olivia doesn’t precisely exit of her technique to decrease this impression by singing, “I attempt, I attempt, I attempt.”)
“Pretty Isn’t Pretty” is a devastatingly candid exorcism of detrimental physique picture (“it’s in the telephone, it’s in my head, it’s in the boys I convey to mattress”) and the approach it does harm to each stage of life. As she sings, “I purchased all the garments that they informed me to purchase/I chased some dumb preferrred my entire fucking life.” She goes into a unique kind of ache in “Making the Bed,” the place she’s “getting drunk at the membership with my fair-weather pals.” The former Disney princess is now sufficiently old to go get together with the stylish set, ordering totally different drinks at the similar bars, “one other day pretending I’m older than I’m.” But she wonders why this model of maturity is not any enjoyable. She additionally confesses to having nightmares the place she’s driving in the metropolis. Weirdly, it’s one among the solely moments on the album the place Ms. I Drive Alone Past Your Street makes use of her drivers’ license.
Nigro’s manufacturing has all the punch and gloss of Sour, but additionally the knack for tension-and-release hooks he’s proven ever since his emo band As Tall As Lions. The bops go for a Eighties synth/guitar new wave chug a la the Cars or The Go-Gos, although you possibly can hear surprisingly detailed echoes of Missing Persons (“Love Is Embarrassing”) or The Motels (“Pretty Isn’t Pretty”).
“Teenage Dream” ends Guts with a massively highly effective piano ballad. The title could be a salute to Katy Perry, however Olivia sings a couple of very totally different type of teenage dream. She comes clear about being a troubled ingenue, heading into her twenties, however questioning why she’s nonetheless bringing all her usual doubt and confusion. As she sings, “Only 19, however I concern they already bought the finest elements of me.” “Teenage Dream” evokes the pensive tone of “Nothing New,” Taylor Swift’s Red vault duet with Phoebe Bridgers, with a litany of questions. Olivia asks, “When am I gonna cease being smart past my years, and simply begin being smart? When am I gonna cease being a fairly younger factor to guys?”
The music by no means settles on a solution, nevertheless it soars right into a Oasis-worthy piano-anthem crescendo. Olivia Rodrigo may not have her awkward teenage blues all found out simply but. But throughout Guts, she proves that she’s a voice that’s right here to remain and a songwriter constructed to final.