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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Olivia Rodrigo gets messy with ‘GUTS (spilled)’– in a good way

Official album cover of Olivia Rodrigo’s “GUTS (spilled)”.

Singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album, GUTSwas an immediate success, with the album’s lead single, “vampire” rocketing to the top of the Billboard 100 within two weeks of its release on Jun. 30, 2023. When the album dropped a few months later on Sept. 8, the growth in Rodrigo’s vocals and lyricism from her first album, SOUR, was more than apparent.

Just as fans are getting over their months-long obsession with the artist’s sophomore album, GUTS, Rodrigo dropped five new tracks last Friday, Mar. 23, creating its deluxe version: GUTS (spilled).  These five songs are, for the most part, very different from the original album, exploring themes such as love, paranoia, and not being honest about one’s feelings.

All five songs have their own style, with “obsessed” sticking to the pop-rock theme of GUTS, and songs like “stranger” and “scared of my guitar” being softer and slower. Despite having some similarities with GUTS, GUTS (spilled) shows a shocking amount of growth, despite just a six month gap between their release dates. In the latter, Rodrigo sings about her current relationship, acknowledging both the anxiety she has about her partner and her love for them, while in both GUTS and SOUR, she sings mostly about heartbreak and the hurt she received from her exes.

The first song, “obsessed” was one of the most anticipated due to the hype it received on social media prior to its release on streaming apps. The song dives into the worry many people feel about their partner’s exes. “If I told you how much I think about her / You’d think I was in love,” Rodrigo sings, highlighting just how much the thought of her lover’s ex crosses her mind. The song starts off relatively slow before rising straight into the catchy, upbeat chorus that people have been using in their social media posts for weeks now.

Following “obsessed” is guitar-heavy, borderline-country “girl i’ve always been”, where Rodrigo assures listeners that she’s still the same as she’s “always been”. Throughout the song, she addresses someone who believes that she’s a different person than she used to be, singing “and then with venom on your tongue / you ask me who I have become”. “girl i’ve always been” is very different from most of Rodrigo’s past music, with her singing in an almost country accent and a southern drawl. 

Next up is “scared of my guitar”, a slow and melancholy song that could seemingly fit right into SOUR if it weren’t for the clear maturity in Rodrigo’s voice and lyricism — this only adds to its ability to tug at one’s heartstrings. In it, the singer confesses that she isn’t completely honest about her feelings with those who are close to her — instead, her innermost thoughts come out when she’s playing her guitar. “It knows me too well so I got no excuse / I can’t lie to it the same way I lie to you” Rodrigo sings about the instrument. She tells listeners that she doesn’t feel like she can leave someone even if she doesn’t love them, because she’s scared that she’ll “never find anything better”. “scared of my guitar” is arguably the most lyrically and musically talented of the deluxe songs, and listeners shouldn’t be surprised to find their eyes watering.

“stranger”, the fourth song on GUTS (spilled), echoes the mindset of someone who has finally moved on from the end of a relationship. Throughout the track, Rodrigo muses about all she did for “just some guy”. She acknowledges that he played a role in who she is now, but they are better off apart than they were together. In a possible reference to the heartbreak that infuses many of her songs in SOUR and GUTS, she sings “There’s nothing left for me to sing / I screamed, I cried, I did the whole thing”. In the background, a clearly strummed guitar contrasts perfectly with Rodrigo’s vocals, enhancing the sound of the song.

The fifth and final song on the tracklist is “so american”. This song is an unexpected jolt with the return of Rodrigo’s pop-rock music that makes an appearance every so often in GUTS. This is the only song on either of the singer’s albums where she seems to genuinely be in love. “I’ll go anywhere he goes / And he says I’m so American / Oh God, I’m gonna marry him” she sings. Rodrigo treats the listener like one would a best friend, gushing over the subject of the song, confessing that her lover is “like a poem I wish I wrote”.  “so american” reminds fans that Rodrigo is only twenty-one, connecting her to her mostly teenage and young adult fans when it comes to love.

GUTS (spilled) is the perfect addition to an already spectacular album. Each and every song has its own message and hidden meanings open to the interpretation of the listener, connecting with them emotionally. Rodrigo has once again exceeded the bar set by her previous releases and the expectations of her fans with these spectacular songs. There is hardly any room to make criticisms. The only note to make is that the uniqueness of these songs can throw listeners off if they aren’t ready to be diving straight from one theme to the next.

Arguably one of the greatest singer-songwriters of this generation, Rodrigo successfully shares messages that are both relatable and realistic, bridging the gap between artists and their fans. If GUTS (spilled) was for you, make sure to listen to emails i can’t send fwd: by Sabrina Carpenter for deluxe songs that echo the raw emotion mixed with excellent music and Superache by Conan Gray if you enjoyed the mix of soft, slow songs with faster-paced pop rock.


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About the Contributor
Aarshia Bhattacharyya
Aarshia Bhattacharyya, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Aarshia Bhattacharyya, and I’m a freshman staff writer for the WA Ghostwriter! This is my first year on the Ghostwriter, and I’m so excited to be able to use my love for writing to contribute to the paper! I joined the newspaper because I love writing about stories I care about and am interested in. In my free time, I love baking, reading, writing, spending time with my friends, painting, and listening to music. Outside of school, I do dance and swim, two of my favorite sports! 

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