On ‘GUTS,’ Olivia Rodrigo is a “vulnerable and intimate” rock star

Geffen Records

If you’re wondering what Olivia Rodrigo‘s highly anticipated album GUTS sounds like, well, just read The New York Times. The publication has declared that on the album, Olivia’s “largely opted out” of pop, adding, “She is simply a rock star.”

Olivia tells the Times that she decided to move in a more rock direction after recording “Brutal,” the last song she wrote for her debut, SOUR. “It was super-heavy we were rehearsing it,” she explains. “I remember tears welling up in my eyes and being like, this is so powerful. This is what I wanted to see when I was a girl scrolling YouTube when I was 14.”

Olivia notes that she’s “always loved rock music, and always wanted to find a way that I could make it feel like me, and make it feel feminine and still telling a story and having something to say that’s vulnerable and intimate.” 

The artists she admires — everyone from Gwen Stefani and Joni Mitchell to St. Vincent and riot grrrl legends Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney — are “using rock music, but they’re not trying to recreate a version of rock music that guys make.”

As for the subject matter, the Times notes that there are plenty of takedowns of Olivia’s exes.  

“I had such a desire to live and experience things and make mistakes and grow after SOUR came out, I kind of felt this pressure to be this girl that I thought everyone expected me to be,” she said. “And I think because of that pressure, maybe I did things that maybe I shouldn’t have — dated people that I shouldn’t have.”

So GUTS, she says, is “about…realizing the core of who I am and what I want to be doing and who I want to be spending my time with.”


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