Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Olivia Rodrigo spills her guts a second time

The singer explores exciting beginnings and harsh truths in the deluxe version of GUTS.

ace hotel.jpeg

Olivia Rodrigo is pictured at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Oct. 9, 2023.

Last September, Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album “GUTS” (2023) brought everyone’s favorite angsty pop-punk artist back into the spotlight. With hits like “vampire” and “get him back!,” Rodrigo’s songs were inescapable on social media, the radio and your post-breakup friend’s headphones. Over six months later, Rodrigo has released her deluxe version of the album, titled “GUTS (spilled),” featuring five new songs, four of which were previously featured as “secret tracks” on vinyl editions of “GUTS,” as well as one brand new track.

The first of the “spilled” tracks is “obsessed,” a song that has increasingly gained popularity as Rodrigo started performing the song on her GUTS World Tour even before it was released with the deluxe edition. obsessed has a similar pop-rock feel to songs like “jealousy, jealousy” and “good 4 u,” but there is more maturity and creativity in Rodrigo’s lyricism here.

The punchline of the song summarizes its story perfectly: “I’m so obsessed with your ex.” Singing the lyrics “Cause I know her star sign, I know her blood type” and “But every time you call my name, I think you mistake me for her,” Rodrigo plays into the jealous-ex stereotype very well, in a way that is almost comical. I mean, her blood type? Seriously, that’s super specific.

In stark contrast to “obsessed,” the next track, “girl i’ve always been,” has more of a country-folk feel to it, which is unsurprising considering Rodrigo credits country music as an inspiration for her. With a slight twang in her voice and a cheery guitar tune, the song is certainly different from all of her previous releases, which is fun to hear. In a nod to country music honesty, in the chorus, Rodrigo unapologetically sings, “And I can’t say I'm a perfect ten/ But I am the girl I’ve always been.”

The next track, “scared of my guitar” is a beautiful, candid ballad played, obviously, on the guitar. The title may be confusing to some as it seems odd that a musician would be scared of their guitar, but Rodrigo makes a solid claim for her fear. It stems from the fact that when she is writing music with her guitar, it forces her to be truly honest and admit the truth, even when that is not what she wants to hear.

Rodrigo sings “But I’m so scared of my guitar/ ‘Cause it cuts right through to the heart” and “I can’t lie to it the same way that I lie to you, emphasizing how her guitar helps bring out the truth in her life. While the song is sonically quite simple, with just Rodrigo’s vocals and a guitar, the way her voice swells on the bridge as she repeats the lyric “I pretend that it’s love” is gripping and emotional, a highlight of the song.

Now, it would not be a true Olivia Rodrigo album without a good breakup song, and that’s where “stranger” comes in. Rodrigo tells the story of from lovers to strangers, claiming after their breakup her partner is “just a stranger I know everything about.” When it comes to Rodrigo’s songwriting, her greatest strength is that she captures universal feelings about relationships in a way that makes you feel like you are listening to someone’s diary. Perhaps the best example of this in “stranger” is the line, “How did that happen? I can’t imagine ever doing all that stuff for just some guy/ Like, you’re just some guy.” Referring to her ex as “just some guy” has a certain humor to it, but it is true. He is just a guy, and she is a 13-time Grammy-nominated artist. 

Saving the best for last, “so american” is the best “spilled” track and has been called Rodrigo’s first love song. Unlike many of the tracks on “GUTS” and “SOUR” that deal with the pain of breakups and unhealthy relationships, “so american” is an upbeat, exciting track all about falling in love.

Rumored to be about her British boyfriend, Louis Partridge, the song tells the story of an American girl falling in love with her not-so-American boyfriend. This love is clear from the first verse with Rodrigo singing “he’s like a poem I wish I wrote.” From there, the song only gets more romantic with lyrics like “Can’t have a conversation if it’s not all about you” and “I really love my bed, but, man, it’s hard to sleep when he’s with me.” In case her love was not clear enough for you, Rodrigo sings on the chorus “Oh God, I'm gonna marry him/ If he keeps this shit up/ I might just be in lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-love.” 

The track is an excellent pop love song and a poignant way to conclude “GUTS.” From all the relationship struggles we hear about in previous songs, Rodrigo concludes with her loving ode to her boyfriend. If that’s not the perfect fairytale ending, I do not know what is.