Hot or Not on Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS: (spilled)

By: Natalie Dumonceaux

This morning, amidst my drowning in paper deadlines and final projects, I woke up to a notification from Spotify, adding yet another thing to my to-do list: listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s new extended edition of her latest album GUTS: (spilled). Naturally, I dropped everything to go and blast the album in my headphones (priorities, of course). This extended album has 5 additional tracks, added to the 12 songs of the initial release. Seeing as Olivia’s debut album Sour became the soundtrack of my junior year of high school, I had high expectations for the second album- which did not disappoint. Just like Sour, Guts is filled with teenage angst, heartbreak and romance. Now, Olivia Rodrigo is a 20-something teenager like myself (a term I like to use for having the pettiness of a 16-year-old while also paying taxes and rent). In my opinion, no one captures the life of us 20-teens quite like Olivia Rodrigo. Luckily, her newest tracks for Guts are no exception. 

The extended songs start with her song “Obsessed”. I think this song really speaks to Olivia’s background as a Disney star. With its catchy and repetitive chorus, and overly-literal musical theatre lyrics, I could just as easily hear this song being in a Disney Channel Original Movie from the 2000s than on Olivia’s album. While it isn’t terribly unpredictable or exciting, this song is classic and nostalgic. No, I wouldn’t quite say that I’m “obsessed” with it (sorry Olivia) but this song has my stamp of approval. 

The next song, “Girl I’ve Always Been”, is quite a different sound for Olivia. It’s a simple, sweet acoustic country tune. It seems like 2024 is the year of the country-pop artist; from Beyoncé’s newest releases Texas Hold Em’ and 16 Carriages to Lana Del Rey announcing her country-inspired album Lasso in September, it looks like everyone is pulling a reverse Taylor Swift, who iconically rebranded from Nashville cowgirl singer-songwriter to international pop sensation. Personally, I’m on board for this new trend, and I love Olivia’s take on the genre. 

The next two songs, “Scared of my Guitar” and “Stranger” have a subtle country-twang as well. Both slow tempoed and socially simplistic with just an acoustic guitar to back Olivia’s singing, these songs feel like I’m sitting in Olivia Rodrigo’s room with her as she complains about the men who wronged her. I did notice, however, how similar “Scared of my Guitar” sounds to Taylor Swift’s classic “Teardrops on my Guitar” from her debut album. When it comes to girls writing sad songs about breakups, in my opinion, the more the merrier. Still, Olivia should be careful, having already had plagiarism accusations for using Taylor’s piano riff from “New Year’s Day” in her song “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back”, as well as Taylor’s bridge of “Cruel Summer” in “Déjà vu.”

Last on GUTS: (spilled) is the song “So American”. It’s upbeat, punchy, and a great way to end the album. Of all the other songs of the extended version, I think this song showcases Olivia’s vocal range above all else, as she goes from a quiet sweet tone to belting her heart out in the chorus. Between her vocals, the intense instrumentals and fast-paced drum beat, I would kill to see this song performed live. Care to come to Osheaga 2025, Olivia? 

Overall, this new release reminds us all what we already knew: there is no one who writes music about loving and losing and being angry quite like Olivia Rodrigo. I hope my review inspires you to watch reruns of 2000s Disney sitcoms, listen to Beyonce, keep an eye out for a Swift vs Rodrigo court case, or maybe buy tickets to Osheaga. If nothing else, I hope you can appreciate Olivia’s new album as much as I do!