“GUTS” – Olivia Rodrigo’s scream

2 years since the “drivers license” phenomenon and the album “Sour” were released, Olivia Rodrigo has just returned with a new album: “GUTS”. The 20-year-old female artist has proven her mettle as a “Best New Artist” as honored by the Grammys, with songs with diverse topics and accurately reflecting her life.

Since TikTok stepped in to control an artist’s popularity, the music industry has seen many stars appear once and then suddenly disappear. But Olivia Rodrigo escaped that “curse”.

After “drivers license”, she continuously had many hits, from “déjà vu”, “good 4 u”… and finally 3 Grammy awards at the age of 18.

Her music is bright, wild, and colorful. in the early 2000s with pop-rock, punk-pop songs that made Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne, P!nk or Gwen Stefani famous…

The second album, “GUTS”, still retains those features. Collaborating again with producer Daniel Nigro who also participated in “Sour”, we see a similarity in musical style as well as content and message.

There are still mellow ballads and folk songs that are cleverly rotated so as not to create a feeling of boredom (“vampire”, “lacy”, “logical”, “the grudge”…) as well as pop-punk songs. – relatively “noisy” rock (“all-american bitch”, “bad idea right?”, “ballad of a homeschooled girl”…).

The content is still the female singer’s confessions, about the process of growing up at the age of 20 after daydreaming about first love, glory and fame.

The female singer’s image in the single “vampire”

The story of a new generation

The album title clearly represents this vocalist’s entire intention. These are not only the “gut-draining” words in ballads, but also the spasming screams from inside.

The artwork is also changed from purple to dark blue, as if suggesting a darker and more haunting record.

But the album is not only about personal emotions, but it is also easy to see bigger things through that.

Opening with “all-american bitch”, Olivia shows progress in songwriting.

The song has a balance between pop and punk, bringing a moderate feeling but also conveying the female singer’s feelings about expressing reactions to the double standards and prejudices of being a girl.

American girl. This is also a rare song with an impressive guitar solo by Sam Stewart.

Sharing in an interview, the 20-year-old female singer said that this is her favorite song, and it took a long time to complete.

It will also stand there and open up a common story for the entire record, with the state of being abandoned, marginalized and found unable to get along.

Even though she tried hard “I’m grateful all the time/ I’m sexy and I’m kind” she still had to bitterly say “I’m pretty when I cry”.

Not only for society, Olivia also brings relatively personal feelings into a long series that follows, talking about betrayal, wanting to get back with her ex and the toxic emotions that those relationships entail. bring.

The common story of the entire record is the state of being abandoned, left out, and feeling unable to fit in.

She and producer Daniel Nigro showed ingenuity when choosing musical material, to “bad idea right?” and the pop-punk sass is reminiscent of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” heyday.

This is also shown in “lacy”, a song with simple melodies like lullaby or children’s folk songs.

But by developing the melody and arrangement, it has become a sedative for young people with low self-esteem and depression about the standards of beauty and the need to strive to possess it.

The female singer’s smoky, spongy voice has never been more suitable than now, when it’s so moderate and haunting.

The previous “vampire” also showed off her strong, strong and emotional high notes.

In terms of vocals, “GUTS” is a big step forward since the previous debut record, so this element will create success throughout ballads like “making the bed”, “logical”, “the grudge ” and “teenage dream”.

Interspersed in the second half of the album are relatively impressive rock songs. “Ballad of a homeschooled girl” evokes the feeling of garage rock with sounds originally composed in basements or warehouses.

While “get him back!”, “love is embarrassing” is full of playfulness with “plots” to make your lover come back to you.

In a landscape where artists are still returning to rock, from Demi Lovato with her upcoming “REVAMPED” remix project to the legendary Dolly Parton with “Rockstar”…

Olivia Rodrigo knows how to create style for themselves, representing the new generation using new materials that have always been assigned to the legendary “old guys”.

Still quite safe

It is no exaggeration to say that Olivia’s punk and rock style has many “school” aspects, similar to “Camp Rock” or “High School Musical” decades ago that created Demi Lovato or Jonas Brother.

Her songs are still quite catchy with a structure that usually consists of two parts, building gently and then ramping up with the crazy sounds of drums and electric guitar.

This is moderate material, neither pop nor rock, and maybe that’s why it attracts new generations of listeners.

However, for those expecting more, this new album still does not surpass the previous “Sour”. Accordingly, each individual song does not have “keys” or moments for the audience to remember.

It also doesn’t have impressive lead guitar solos (except for the opening song), doesn’t create unity in the general atmosphere… causing the album’s rhythm to sometimes drag down.

Compared to Miley Cyrus’s “Plastic Heart”, if that album Miley’s husky and rough voice is considered a highlight along with the 1970s rock atmosphere maintained throughout the record’s length, then “GUTS” lacks something. That’s when punk is sometimes too close to pop, and the ballads that constantly interject don’t bring a common musical picture.

Inspiration from decades ago returns

In terms of content, the album is still the common voice for innocent souls. There are moments of wild youth, but they are more fragile than that.

They always have to live in easily broken loves (“vampire”, “making the bed”, “logical”), always obsessed with appearance (“lacy”) or gossip (“ballad”). of a homeschooled girl”).

It can be said that no one is more familiar with these topics than Olivia to write about them.

In the sad ballads accompanied by piano and sometimes mixed with strings, we see a sharing in Lorde’s style of handling and song structure.

With rock songs, it is also easy to notice that the background vocal part is sometimes too loud, drowning out the sound of the main part.

If we can moderate and add more unexpected materials such as synths, then with the available materials, “GUTS” can become an impressive album, complete and express its personality more clearly. again.

The content is still the confession of the female singer, about the process of growing up at the age of 20 after daydreaming about first love, glory and fame.

But after all, it’s only been 2 years since becoming a big phenomenon, “GUTS” is a very impressive album that an artist can make at the age of 20.

Hopefully in the near future, with experience and stumbles, Olivia Rodrigo will find her style, no longer the extension of “Sour” with the somewhat dreamy and sassy purple color scheme.

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