fri 12/04/2024

Album: Olivia Rodrigo - GUTS | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Olivia Rodrigo - GUTS

Album: Olivia Rodrigo - GUTS

Like Lavigne before her, Rodrigo has mastered the millennial angst of an era

Olivia Rodrigo: seizing past successes and amping them up to 11

Much like her pop predecessor Avril Lavigne, musical snobs over the age of 25 are likely to be suspicious of Olivia Rodrigo. As the 2003 BBC review of seminal angst classic Let Go (every millennial woman’s mirror to her teens) posited, ”She’s only 17. She’s pretty. She’s sold a zillion albums already. She must be rubbish, right?” The difference between those two decades is staggering.

While Lavigne might’ve been questioned about her right to the pop-punk throne, high-flying women in music have revived the industry over the last few years. Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are expected to generate about $4.5 billion in not just the concerts, but all of the spending that's happening around one another during their respective tour schedules. 

Olivia Rodrigo joined those ranks back in 2021 when her widely acclaimed LP, SOUR, made history as the longest-running debut album on the Billboard 200 Top Ten this century, landed a No. 1 on Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2021 list and earned three awards and seven nominations at the 64th Grammy Awards. When you list it like that, it’s quite a tough act to follow. Reunited with SOUR producer David Nigro though, GUTS is the sound of someone seizing those past successes and amping them up to 11. 

Rockin’ opener “All American Bitch” plays with pop culture references from your favourite sleepover movies as Rodrigo soothes: “I am light as a feather / Stiff as a board / I pay attention to things that most people ignore.” Not just tapping into missed moments, recent single “bad idea, right?” celebrates those inevitable revisits to an ex with the knowledge that it could all go wrong but recklessly doing it anyway. (A refreshing antithesis to Dua Lipa’s now somewhat judgemental-sounding “New Rules”.)

Elsewhere on the record, Rodrigo is far more hypocritical of herself. For someone so seemingly happy in the public eye (lip-syncing with her celeb pals as they Reels in changing rooms on Instagram), there’s a lot of cautious reflection and regret (“making the bed”) alongside her introspective insecurities (“ballad of a homeschooled girl”). While angelic and ethereal “Lacy” showcases the musician’s elevated lyrical approach after enrolling in a poetry class at the University of Southern California as she beautifully reflects: “Dazzling and starlit / Bardot incarnate.”

Twenty years old, a zillions of albums under her belt and Olivia Rodrigo’s ascent to superstardom has only just begun…

Olivia Rodrigo’s ascent to superstardom has only just begun

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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