The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Spectator Sing Along Power Hour

Olivia Rodrigo’s new album hits you where it hurts

“Drivers license” by Olivia Rodrigo dropped Jan. 8, 2021, when I was a senior in high school. I spent a solid chunk of my free time in high school adding miles to my dad’s car driving around my hometown for hours, blasting music.

I was newly 18 and had never experienced anything close to heartbreak, and yet I ended the year with “drivers license” at the top of my Spotify Wrapped, with a whopping 64 plays on a random day in January.

Maybe I didn’t relate to “drivers license” in quite the way Rodrigo intended it, but something I loved about her music was the rawness and vulnerability. She writes songs like they’re diary entries, and this style encapsulates the teenage girl experience like nothing else.

When “SOUR” was released on May 21, 2021, I fell in love with the album instantly. I was obsessed with the variety in her music. She managed to mix early 2000s coming-of-age movie vibes with slow, sad, soulful sounds into a perfectly cohesive album.

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A few months after the release of this album, and right at the beginning of freshman year, I experienced my first actual heartbreak. I found myself drifting back to “SOUR” and relating to Rodrigo’s lyrics in a way I hadn’t before.

“Guess you didn’t cheat, but you’re still a traitor,” was engraved in my mind for months.

Thankfully, when “GUTS” came out on Sept. 8, 2023, I was not hung up on an immature teenage boy, but Rodrigo still managed to hit me where it hurt with those songs.

The first time I listened to “GUTS” was a few hours after it came out. I completely forgot the album was being released that day, and I was tired and grumpy after a long week of classes, but couldn’t fall asleep until I heard the whole thing.

I played it through, and was underwhelmed. 

The next day, I woke up and decided I needed to give it a second chance, especially considering how much I loved the songs she released before the album came out, “vampire” and “bad idea, right?” 

I played the album from start to finish again, and really zoned in on the sound and the lyrics.

I was obsessed.

Every individual song epitomized a young female struggle. The lyrics were genius, and the way the music flowed, especially with Rodrigo’s angelic voice, the album was a piece of art.

She kept this album consistent with the last one, using the same purple for the cover, lowercase song titles and album title in all caps, but “GUTS” had a newfound maturity. She grew up, and her music grew with her.

I listened almost exclusively to “GUTS” for the next two weeks. 

The song “pretty isn’t pretty” hit me hard. It described the societal pressure on women to be perfectly beautiful, while at the same time, no physical change they make is good enough.

This feeling is pretty universal, but still somewhat taboo. Rodrigo took an ugly feeling and made it into beautiful prose.

It’s hard to pick my favorite song from that album, but if I really had to, it would probably be “logical.”

I’m obsessed with the tone of the song and the emotion in Rodrigo’s voice, not to mention the meaning behind the lyrics.

The songs in “GUTS” describe emotions and memories I didn’t realize I was carrying with me. Specifically, the line, “then changing you is possible, I guess love is never logical.”

Every woman I know has fallen into the “I can fix them,” trap at some point.

I wasn’t a huge fan of “the grudge” at first, until I saw videos of people obsessing over the song all over TikTok, and I decided to give it another chance, in case I’d see something in it hadn’t before.

This article wouldn’t feel complete if I didn’t talk about “all-american b—-.”

There isn’t a single song in existence that would’ve been more perfect to begin “GUTS.”

It describes the pent-up anger from a lifetime of burying negative emotions to be the happy, optimistic girl society wants women to be.

Every lyric in the song came for my neck, and honestly, society’s neck, but the end of the “all-american b—-” is what really got me.

After screaming, she softly sings, “I’m grateful all the time, I’m sexy and I’m kind, I’m pretty when I cry,” then harmonizes with herself and throws in an F-bomb.

She depicts the way she feels boxed in by society and lets out her repressed anger, then finishes in a proper, societally accepted way, with a splash of her true feelings.

Lots of artists try to be relatable, but Rodrigo hits this mark on a new level.

We’re nearing a month since the release of “GUTS,” and I still have it on replay. I only highlighted a few songs, but there isn’t a single skip on that album.

Price can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Kyra Price
Kyra Price, Freelance Writer

Kyra is a third-year psychology and public health student. This is her fifth semester on The Spectator. In her free time, she likes to listen to a borderline concerning amount of music (like 40-70 hours a week) and attend any concert she can get her hands on tickets for.


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