Author: Grace Srinivasan
This week, The Anchor sat down with two Hope College students who are fans of singer and songwriter Olivia Rodrigo to discuss her latest album. Rodrigo is an up-and-coming singer, more formally known for starring on the tv-show series, High School Musical The Musical The Series. She has blown the music world away recently with the debut of her sophomore album, GUTS. From the marketing to the overall release of the album, Rodrigo did phenomenally at reaching her target demographic. The album features thoughts of heartbreak, maturity and growth. Let’s hear what they have to say!
The Anchor began by asking what their favorite song off the album was.Alyssa Segura (‘23) mentioned “teenage dream”. “ I thought ‘teenage dream’ was very honest and kind of got to the depth of who you are as a young woman that you don’t necessarily want to confront.”
Another student, Nyomi Oliver-Martins (‘23), said her favorite song was “pretty isn’t pretty”. “…you go on social media and you are exposed to all these beautiful women, and it’s really easy to look at them and feel insecure of how you look. I like how in ‘pretty isn’t pretty’, we have make-up, change our hair and do all of these things, and it still feels like it is not enough. We need to realize that we are already beautiful.”
When both fans were asked about what their first listening experience of the album was like, Segura responded with, “[It] definitely contained a lot of jaw-dropping lyrical moments and also jaw-dropping sound moments… I feel like she really stepped in her pop-rock era, and I thought it was cool because I really hadn’t heard an album like that in a while.”
Similarly Oliver-Martins said, “I felt happy and sad and felt a mix of emotions. I felt like I was able to scream and be happen and jump towards the end and self-reflect on myself. It was a mix, it was everything all at once.”
As Segura and Oliver-Martins were contrasting Rodrigo’s first album, Sour, with her most recent album, GUTS, they both agreed that GUTS is more relatable and expands on content from her first album.
Segura compared Rodrigo’s stylistic choices between the two albums saying, “GUTS is definitely more a pop-rock album…which I enjoy. I do think they are very different, but I think GUTS speaks to her growing up and having new perspectives on her relationships and what she’s going through. I do think they both serve different purposes so it’s hard to pick one that I prefer.”
Unlike Segura, Oliver-Martins felt that the relatability of GUTS made it a more enjoyable album than Sour: “I feel like Sour was like just about a breakup and GUTS is more, like, breakup, but also after the breakup, how you feel when you’re alone by yourself, processing, and everything that goes on beyond the breakup. I like GUTS more because I can relate to it more and I feel like I can scream and relate to it more than Sour.”
The students were then asked where they thought Rodrigo came up with the album’s title: GUTS.
Segura said, “…the lyrics definitely seem to be from the depths of who she is and the thoughts in her mind that don’t necessarily come out in normal day-to-day conversations. I think she admits to things people may find it difficult to or find it hard to articulate. I’d say honesty is a big central idea of this album.”
Oliver-Martins said: “I think she named the album GUTS because it’s like you’re getting everything out, all these emotions and feelings, and letting it go. She’s just releasing everything and it’s, like, messy.”
When listening to music or an album, especially during the time of its release, there is usually a song that the listener gravitates toward. The Anchor asked these students what song they gravitated towards the most as they listened to the album for the first time.
Segura said: “I like the lyrics and ballad form of ‘logical’, and it’s a very heart wrenching and beautifully done song.”
Oliver-Martins responded with, “‘ballad of a homeschool girl’…because I know how it is being awkward with social groups, and how what you say isn’t right. I rethink everything I say…Sometimes I overshare and think ‘Why did I say that?’”
For the final question, Segura and Oliver-Martins were asked what their favorite lyrics from the album were, and if they held any special significance.
Segura said, “From ‘teenage dream’, ‘…got your whole life ahead of you, you’re only 19’. It’s hard to want to grow up and stay young at the same time, and I feel like this lyric makes me rethink my last year as a teenager and how there is definitely a lot to still learn…I have to give myself grace and progress in life and learn things to grow into the person I want to be. It’s not going to be easy, and I’m not going to do everything right, but then again, I’m only 19.”
Oliver-Martins said, “Maybe ‘my undying love, [now] I hold it like a grudge’. To get a little personal…my dad was not a part of my life. I remember when I was little I had such love for him, and he made promises he couldn’t keep…I resent that love for him because he didn’t deserve it. So when I hear ‘the grudge’, it brings me back to my younger self.”
As we interact with new works of artistry, such as Rodrigo’s album GUTS, it is important as consumers to think about questions like these. It is one thing to scream song lyrics in your car, but it is another thing altogether to understand why the lyrics resonate so deeply with us, and what message the artist may be trying to push across with their work.
Photo credit: Apple Music