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Olivia Rodrigo Laments Life’s Embarrassments On Powerful Second Album ‘GUTS’

‘GUTS’ details the confusion of young adulthood

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Olivia Rodrigo - Photo: Larissa Hofmann
Olivia Rodrigo - Photo: Larissa Hofmann

Olivia Rodrigo has released her new album GUTS via Geffen Records, the powerful follow-up to her 2021 debut SOUR.

The new record, written and produced with longterm collaborator Dan Nigro among others, finds the 20-year-old encapsulating recent experiences in her young adulthood. Across the 12 tracks, she skewers toxic, manipulative men, stands up for herself against the pressures of society, worries about peaking too soon, and frequently captures life’s most embarrassing moments. Using a palette of wiry indie-pop, stirring piano ballads, and slacker indie jams, she evolves from SOUR in a way that stays true to her DNA while presenting something that feels fresh and new.

“I feel so immensely grateful for everyone who has so generously supported me over the past few years,” Rodrigo wrote in a letter shared on Instagram on release day. “Thank you to everyone who has listened and streamed and been sooo kind. I owe so much to you guys and I really hope you dig these new songs. Lots and lots of love 4ever and ever!!”

Tracklist

On July 31, Olivia Rodrigo shared a video that teases the song titles from her forthcoming album. The visual is filled with clues for fans to solve.

In the clip, the icon can be seen from above lounging in a bedroom, unpacking boxes and playing with a number of items. Toward the end, a snippet of an unreleased song plays, though that’s not what got fans excited. It turns out that words and phrases are hidden all over the room, including words Olivia writes on a typewriter. Check out the clip here.

The following day, August 1, Rodrigo officially confirmed the tracklist with an Instagram post. Check that out here, and view the tracklist below.

GUTS Tracklist:
All American B___h
Bad Idea Right?
Vampire
Lacy
Ballad Of A Homeschooled Girl
Making The Bed
Logical
Get Him Back!
Love Is Embarrassing
The Grudge
Pretty Isn’t Pretty
Teenage Dream

Who Did She Work With?

She recorded the album with producer Daniel Nigro, who also collaborated with her on SOUR, her chart-topping, 4x Platinum debut album.

How To Purchase

Fans can purchase GUTS on CD, cassette, vinyl, and limited-edition box sets exclusively at Rodrigo’s online store. Vinyl is offered in four D2C exclusive colors—red, white, blue, and purple.

Album Themes and Inspirations

“For me, this album is about growing pains and trying to figure out who I am at this point in my life,” says Olivia Rodrigo. “I feel like I grew 10 years between the ages of 18 and 20—it was such an intense period of awkwardness and change. I think that’s all just a natural part of growth, and hopefully the album reflects that.”

Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1’s New Music Daily, she expanded: “I feel like when you’re making the album, you can’t really see the forest through the trees a little bit about what’s about or what you’re trying to get across. Sometimes you just wake up and go into the studio and see what comes out of you.

“In hindsight, I think that a lot of this album is about the confusion that comes with becoming a young adult and figuring out your place in this world and figuring out who you want to be and who you want to hang out with and all of that stuff. I think that that’s probably an experience that everyone has had in their life before, is just that rising from that disillusionment.”

Album Singles

Rodrigo released “vampire,” the first single from GUTS, on June 30, accompanied by a dramatic music video. The song begins as an epic, emotional piano ballad before morphing into something jauntier and more upbeat. “I’ve made some real big mistakes, but you make the worst one look fine/I should’ve known it was strange, you only come out at night,” she tells someone in the chorus. “I used to think I was smart, but you made me look so naive/The way you sold me for parts as you sunk your teeth into me/Bloodsucker, famef____r, bleeding me dry like a goddamn vampire.

In the Petra Collins-directed video, Rodrigo begins by performing in a darkly-lit, grassy area, which is soon revealed to be a stage at an awards show when she’s hit by a falling light rig. Covered in blood but continuing to perform, she then gets chased out into the LA streets by security.

Olivia Rodrigo - vampire (Official Video)

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On “vampire,” Rodrigo’s increased maturity and bold confidence are apparent. Fans can purchase the special limited edition physical versions of “vampire,” which also include Rodrigo’s first demo of the single, exclusive to the CD and 7” vinyl.

On August 11, Rodrigo followed “vampire” up with “bad idea right?,” a semi-spoken word alt-pop anthem about falling back under the spell of an ex.

“Yes I know that he’s my ex/But can’t two people reconnect?” she chants in the chorus. “I only see him as a friend/I just tripped and fell into his bed.” In the accompanying music video, the star leaves a house party to go on an ill-fated voyage to her old lover’s house, where sparks literally fly.

“‘bad idea right?’ started with us making a joke song about me hooking up with an ex-boyfriend, but then we realized we were actually onto something,” Rodrigo said. “We were throwing the weirdest things at the wall — in one of the choruses there’s a part that sounds like an instrument in the background, but it’s me gradually screaming louder and louder.”

Olivia Rodrigo - bad idea right? (Official Video)

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“Get Him Back!” Has been chosen as the album’s focus track, with the song written from the perspective of a torn Rodrigo. “I want sweet revenge/And I want him again,” she sings over exuberant, anthemic indie-pop riffs.

Speaking to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, she recalled writing the track in New York’s Electric Lady Studios with Nigro. “We wrote a song that I didn’t like and I had a total breakdown. I was like, ‘God, I can’t write songs. I’m so bad at this. I don’t want to,’ whatever, being really negative,” she said.

“Then we took a break and we came back and we wrote ‘get him back’, and it’s one of my favorite songs. So just goes to show you, just never give up. Yeah, super fun to write. I really like the chorus. It feels sticky to me and it feels like something that I would want a crowd to sing.”

A live performance video of “All American B___h” has also been shared. The song finds Rodrigo satirising the expectations society places on women, fitting herself into each box until she bursts into a gut-wrenching scream.

In that same Apple Music interview, Rodrigo described the track as one of her favorites she’s ever written. “I really love the lyrics of it and I think it expresses something that I’ve been trying to express since I was 15 years old, this repressed pressed anger and feeling of confusion or trying to be put into a box as a girl,” she explained. “So yeah, I think that that’s one of my favorite songs on the record.”

The origins of GUTS

Rodrigo began teasing her new era of music on social media earlier this year. In May, she shared an Instagram post celebrating the two-year anniversary of Sour. At the end of the caption, in which she reflected on how the album had changed her life, she hinted: “the new stuff is so so so so so close to being done I pinky promise.”

Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s New Music Daily, Rodrigo also discussed the idea behind the new album’s title. “I’ve had it for a long time, I had it when I was making SOUR,” she explained. “I just think it’s an interesting word, and people use it in so many interesting contexts – spill your guts, hate your guts, I think is a really interesting term. It means bravery, but it also means listen to your intuition. I just think all of these things were coincidentally things that I’ve been thinking about in this chapter.”

The Legacy of SOUR

SOUR entered the Billboard 200 at No.1 and would go on to become the longest-running debut album in the chart’s top 10 of the 21st century—and the first to spend an entire year in the upper echelon.

Named the No.1 Album of 2021 by Rolling Stone and hailed as one of the Best Albums of 2021 by The New York Times, among others, SOUR has sold over 17 million albums globally with over 40 billion streams worldwide. The album’s 11 tracks have all been certified by the RIAA—and have landed in the top 30 of Billboard’s Hot 100, making Rodrigo the first female artist to chart 11 or more songs in the top 30 simultaneously.

Buy or stream GUTS.

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