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The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

Guts captures teenage experience with fabulous glimmering pop-punk album


Olivia Rodrigo’s new album, Guts, that just came out Sept. 8, is a spunky, pop-punk album oozing with all the feelings of teenage girls. 

Guts is a fun and messy album that breaks down the walls of a traditional pop album. The overarching theme of the album is the trials and tribulations of being a teenager, switching between loud, fast and upbeat to slow and melancholic with the different songs. The album is incredibly amusing and beautifully written and is meant to be screamed out loudly in a car with the windows down–whether you’re yelling about an ex who broke your heart or the emotional turmoil that comes with growing up.

When I first listened to this album, I wasn’t very impressed. However, the more the lyrics and tunes turned over in my head and the more I relistened to each song, the more dramatically my opinion changed. This album is so much fun and that’s what I love about it. It’s relatable and messy and tragic and upbeat and everything in between. It’s cohesive without every song feeling like a repeat of the next. For example, the song “ballad of a homeschooled girl,” has fast-paced singing and music, while “the grudge” has sad lyrics and melancholic piano chords.

“get him back” is a stand-out track on the album. The song switches between the dual meaning of “get him back,”—revenge or love—and how Rodrigo isn’t sure which route to take. The song feels like an anthem with its catchy lyrics and powerful drums. Every time this song comes on, my foot begins to tap to the beat and I sing the lyrics with a flowing ease and attitude that is being represented in the song. 

Another track that is not only incredible but also relatable to many people is “pretty isn’t pretty.” The song is about constantly comparing your looks to the million different ways the supposed beauty standard is portrayed and shoved down our throats. The lyric, “You can win the battle, but you’ll never win the war / You fix thе things you hated, and you’d still feel so insecure / And I try to ignorе it, but it’s everythin’ I see / It’s on the poster on the wall, it’s in the sh*tty magazines / It’s in my phone, it’s in my head, it’s in the boys I bring to bed / It’s all around, it’s all the time, I don’t know why I even try.” In contrast to these lyrics that speak on insecurities is a glimmering, up-beat, almost ‘80s-feeling music that creates such a pleasing song to listen to, despite the deeper and sadder meaning.

“teenage dream” is the closing track on the album that perfectly wraps everything up in a delicate, beautiful pink bow on the verge of crumbling. I believe this is the most vulnerable track on the album. A large majority of the songs that Rodrigo releases focus on break-ups, exes and boy drama. In this song, she instead highlights the fears of growing up. The lyric, “I’ll blow out the candles, happy birthday to me / Got your whole life ahead of you, you’re only nineteen / But I fear that they already got all the best parts of me,” emulates the fear of what the future holds. Her echoing voice that performs this beautiful ballad adds to the emotion and depth of the song in ways that just don’t come through on the other tracks of the album. Every time I listen to it, I get chills from how beautiful her voice sounds and from the scary reality that comes with growing up.

Of course, Guts isn’t a perfect album. Some of the songs have lyrics that are a little cringe-worthy and not the most complex. For example, in the song “logical” she sings, “And now you got me thinkin’ / two plus two equals five,” and “The sky is green, the grass is red / and you mean all those words you said / I’m sure that girl is really your friend.” I think this is the weakest song on the album, because the lyrics don’t have much depth and it feels too similar to many of the other sad, breakup songs on her debut album.

Guts encapsulates key parts of the teenage experience through relatable, catchy lyrics while switching between the pop-punk, bratty tunes and melancholic ballads that highlight Rodrigo’s lovely voice. 

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About the Contributor
Olivia Oliver, Feature Editor
Olivia Oliver (she/her) is a senior who enjoys hanging out with her friends and spending time outside. She loves being a journalist because she can engage with her community and be creative.

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