Move over Avril Lavigne, Olivia Rodrigo's album "GUTS" proves she's truly taken up the mantle as pop-punk's next star.
On September 8, Rodrigo's sophomore album "GUTS" dropped, much to the anticipation and excitement of fans and critics alike.
Though many wondered if Rodrigo could continue with the amount of success she found on her debut album "SOUR," this 12-track, approximately 42-minute pop-punk album not only delivers on these expectations but also builds on her debut album.
"GUTS" came out approximately two years after Rodrigo released "SOUR," and the change in her life over those two years is evident in the album itself. Rodrigo's first album focused on her emotions toward her public breakup with Joshua Bassett, heartbreak and her social anxiety.
"GUTS" still discusses break-ups and relationships, but the album also dives into Rodrigo's issues with imposter syndrome, her anxieties toward her relatively newfound fame and her childhood.
Rodrigo specifically explores her new anxieties in her final track titled "teenage dream," in which she sings, "Yeah, they all say that it gets better / It gets better, but what if I don't?"
Tracks like "teenage dream" showcase Rodrigo's ability to display vulnerability in her music and is probably why, though Rodrigo's subject matter has changed, her fanbase remains equally as passionate as they've always been.
Despite the changing subject matter, Rodrigo's sound in "GUTS" is pretty similar to her sound in "SOUR." "GUTS" rotates from ballads detailing all of Rodrigo's anxieties to pop-punk anthems, with Rodrigo fervently singing and even occasionally screaming about her prior relationships.
While ballads like "making the bed" are worth listening to, Rodrigo's best songs continue to be her rock, pop-punk fusion tracks.
Songs like "all-american bitch," "ballad of a homeschooled girl" and, my personal favorite track, "get him back!" are clearly the best ones on the album — the tracks I probably will be listening to after the album's newness has worn off. "Vampire" should also be thrown in there as an absolute anthem that I will definitely still be listening to this time next year.
While I enjoy Rodrigo's ballads and recognize her immense writing talent, songs like "lacy," "the grudge" and "logical" are quickly forgettable. That said, almost every album is going to have less than memorable songs that only an artist's biggest fans will know. So it's not a harsh criticism to be given to Rodrigo, especially considering the album is overall a great listen.
"GUTS" is by no means inventing a new sound. If you didn't like "SOUR" or early 2000s-styled pop music in general, you're probably not going to like "GUTS." She's likely not going to change any already set minds, nor is this album a revolution.
Overall, "GUTS" is an enjoyable album that gives Rodrigo's fans more than what "SOUR" did, which was a good album in its own right. Though the album has some strong bops, I probably won’t be listening to half of the songs after the next two weeks.
But if the release of "GUTS" proves anything, it's that at just 20 years old, Rodrigo beat the one-hit wonder label and won't be leaving the spotlight anytime soon.