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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Not listening to ‘Guts’ is a ‘bad idea right?’

Rodrigo’s sophomore album speaks to the ‘teen girl experience’

<p>Olivia Rodrigo, The White House / Wikimedia Commons</p>

Olivia Rodrigo, The White House / Wikimedia Commons

Do you “want sweet revenge,” and do you “want him again?” If so, you might find yourself vibing with Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album, “Guts,” which dropped on Friday. 

UB students, particularly female freshmen, felt as though the album spoke to their experiences as teenage girls and young women. 

“It really was like the 19-year-old experience and the whole life experience of growing up as a young teenage girl,” Maci Greco, a freshman biomedical sciences major, said. “It goes into a lot of friendship and relationship kind of things that a lot of girls our age experience.” 

Aaliyah King, a freshman computer engineering major, also found “Guts” to be a relatable portrait of teenage girlhood, although she argues the album also appeals to younger girls and older women.  

“I feel like it can relate to girls in relationships, where they feel betrayed by their lover and [statements like], ‘It’s not cheating, it doesn’t matter,’” King said. “Or ‘vampire’ touched on grooming and taking advantage of somebody who you have more power than, whether it’s an age difference or not.” 

One song in particular, “lacy,” spoke to King and her experiences with comparing herself to other women. The last lines of the track — “And I despise my jealous eyes and how hard they fell for you… I despise my rotten mind and how much it worships you” — struck a chord. 

“As I grew up, I became less in competition with other women and more so admired them,” King explained. “But I still feel like I’m not as adequate as other women because some of them are super gorgeous, some are super smart. So I really admire them, but at the same time, I’m jealous that I can’t be as good as they are.”

Many listeners walked away from their first listen to “Guts” with a sense of “deja vu” for her debut album, “Sour,” reflecting on Rodrigo’s stylistic evolution.

Yang Le Foon says Rodrigo’s latest album gets better and better the longer you have it on repeat. Even as she finds herself nostalgically loyal to “Sour,” Foon, a freshman pharmacy major, embraces the pop-punk “angst” and screamability of “Guts.” She played the songs on her dorm room speaker with her roommate on release day — you have to learn the lyrics before you can yell them on a drive.

“‘Love is embarrassing’ and ‘the ballad of a homeschooled girl’ are such roll-down-the-windows, screaming-in-the-car songs,” Foon said. “It’s what we needed right now as college girls starting out. It encapsulates the 19-year-old college girl feeling.” 

Although King is a fan of “Sour,” she was also excited to see a “happier” side of Rodrigo on “Guts.”  

“I listen to her sad music when I want to reflect and think about myself,” King said. “But ‘bad idea right?’ is such a fun song. I usually listen to it when I first wake up… It’s not all depressing, you can actually have fun with it. It’s the kind of song where you blast it really loud in your room and dance.”

Whether Rodrigo is making them dance, cry or something in between, it is undeniable that her musical story is a “logical” choice to listen to, especially for her fans who are teenage girls and see themselves in her journey.

“I genuinely think this girl needs a therapist. Honestly, she concerns me because I relate to it so much,” King shared. “I feel like she speaks a lot to me, and I wish I could meet her and talk to her because we have a lot in common.” 

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correctly spell "lacy."

Alex Novak is the senior arts editor and can be reached at alex.novak@ubspectrum.com  


ALEX NOVAK

Alex Novak is a senior arts editor at The Spectrum

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