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Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘GUTS (spilled)’ is an emotional rollercoaster

Interscope Records
Released 6 months after her second studio album, GUTS (spilled) is a perfect display of Olivia Rodrigo’s clever songwriting and versatility in singing.

Using catchy hooks, powerful bridges and witty lyricism, singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo captures the world of adolescence perfectly in her latest album “GUTS (spilled),” the deluxe version featuring five new additions from her second studio album, “GUTS.”

The first of the five “spilled” songs, “obsessed,” was one of the four secret songs from the vinyl versions of “GUTS.” This song makes me feel like jumping onto my bed and performing my own rock concert. Super catchy and cheeky, this song is very similar to her usual style: a fusion of pop, punk, grunge, and folk. The song starts with Olivia singing on a backing track, with the first verse sounding like it leads into the beat drop, with lots of guitar, drums, and energy building up. However, just when you are ready to belt the chorus, Rodrigo pulls you back and all the energy vanishes, building up again until the beat finally drops. Reminding me of “brutal” from her debut album “SOUR,” “obsessed” has lots of heavy guitars and build-up, and very in-your-face lyrics that throw shade with no shame. “And I know you love me, and I know it’s crazy/But every time you call my name, I think you mistake me for her,” Rodrigo sings. The song overall is something I would look forward to screaming at a concert. 

This second song, “girl i’ve always been” takes a detour from what I would usually think of when someone says Rodrigo’s name. Starting with what seems like a studio snippet from a recording session with her producer, Dan Nigro, the song has a folk-pop, country-like feeling to it—a sharp contrast to the previous song on the track. I love how Rodrigo is unapologetic about herself, saying that she will always be the same person, no matter what heartbreak or betrayal she goes through. When I listen to this song, I see myself at summer camp sitting around the fire and listening to someone strumming a guitar. 

Ironically placed in the album after a playful and charming song, “scared of my guitar” is mature, elegant and deeply meaningful. The song is about how Rodrigo is scared of her guitar, not literally, but because of the fear that once she starts playing her guitar and releasing her thoughts, it will “cut right through to the heart” and the unsaid will become real. “scared of my guitar” is a song for the thinkers, the introverts and the avoidant ones who would rather stay quiet than speak up. It’s a song for all the writers, the poets and the songwriters who find their refuge in their art. But, most importantly, it’s a song that is arguably one of Rodrigo’s best works with its powerful lyrics and many layers—one that I will be adding to my playlists. 

The next song, “stranger” is reminiscent of something Noah Kahan would produce. The lyrics in this song are really what made me come back for a second listen. “I cried a million rivers, but that’s over now/You’re just a stranger I know everything about,” Rodrigo sings in the chorus. Through her storytelling in her lyrics, the song captures that feeling when you walk by a former partner in the hallway and purposefully avoid eye contact, or when you see a glimpse of a former best friend’s life on social media, knowing that you used to be there dancing right along with them. 

Last but not least, “so american” is Rodrigo’s very first released love song, fittingly placed at the very end of her sophomore album. A stark contrast to her heartbreak debut album “SOUR” and her angsty sophomore album “GUTS,” this song seems like it belongs on its own album, perhaps named “SWEET.” This song is my favorite of the five new additions, and it’s an instant mood booster, especially after having just listened to “scared of my guitar” and “stranger.” Rumored to be about British actor Louis Partridge, the song captures teenage love perfectly, with Rodrigo singing, “Oh, God I’m gonna marry him/If he keeps this s*** up.” The fast guitar and drums make me feel giddy inside,  as if I were falling in love. My favorite part of the song is right after the first chorus when Rodrigo lets go and sings, “Lalalalalalala-loooooove,” crescendoing into excitement. I can’t help but smile when I listen to this song, feeling the happiness from Rodrigo transcending onto myself. “so american” is so different from everything else Rodrigo has ever written before and I sure hope we get more love songs in the future. 

Rodrigo doesn’t seem to miss with her songwriting. She takes listeners on a journey, from crying in sorrow one moment to skipping a meadow full of flowers the next. These five new songs display her ability to sing in a range of genres, and will surely bring out a wide range of emotions in the listener.  

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