Olivia Rodrigo’s rise has been nothing short of monumental. In the space of three years, she has released some of the biggest selling singles of the past decade, as well as a debut album which has sold millions of copies world-wide. Despite the success, it hasn’t taken long for Olivia to release her sophomore album, GUTS.
Olivia’s airy vocals are on display immediately with opener all-american bitch. The acoustic lead intro transitions in the chorus into a full-out pop-punk rager, reminiscent of Avril Lavigne. The talky, intentionally whiny vocals on following track bad idea right manage to strike a balance between impactful and irritating. Lyrically, Olivia paints a perfect picture of falling for someone that isn’t good for you, and delivers it in a youthful, energetic way. lacy takes on a similar acoustic tone to the opener, but continues the aesthetic throughout. The track is accentuated with synths in the latter half, and gorgeous backing vocals that permeate the song.
ballad of a homeschooled girl brings the alternative rock back, complete with bouncy drums and a driving distorted guitar line, while making the bed takes a more epic approach to heartbreak. get him back! brings to mind early Cage The Elephant, mainly in Olivia’s line delivery, but as the song develops it takes on attributes of Martika’s Toy Soldiers. Regardless of the influences, it’s a catchy, pop-leaning tune. The albums ends on a high with two contrasting, and incredibly powerful, songs. pretty isn’t pretty is a soft indie rocker that contains some of Olivia’s most empowered songwriting, while teenage dream is a beautifully arrange piano ballad, complete with a lush string arrangement, and finishing in an almost music box type fashion.
GUTS may only be Olivia’s second release, but its pure strength as an album showcases her talent as a songwriter and performer. No track misses the mark, whether its a throwback rocker, a soft acoustic ballad, or an epic, somewhat theatrical piece. It’s incredible to see that she could follow up such a strong debut so quickly with an equally strong followup.
Writer and Musician, Ryan Bulbeck has been published with a number of online publications, and has worked with a myriad of great artists, both as a performer, and as a producer. His most recent band The 295 are still active, playing shows around the UK.