The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Has Olivia Rodrigo entered a new era, or is GUTS just an extension of SOUR?

Evelyn+Pierce%2C+Graphics+Manager+%2F+The+Bucknellian
Evelyn Pierce, Graphics Manager / The Bucknellian

Four-letter-word album title. Purple theme. Angsty songs about growing up and relationships. Roughly divided into half rock bangers and half sad songs. Now, don’t get me wrong; I absolutely loved ‘SOUR’ and would be all in for a deluxe version with more songs. However, I would want it to be marketed that way. While it’s evident that Olivia Rodrigo has learned and grown since ‘SOUR,’ I can’t say I believe that ‘GUTS’ is something entirely distinct. Yet, I’m also uncertain if that’s a negative thing.

Artists such as Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran tend to break up their albums into clearly defined eras, have conditioned us to expect that each new album for an artist must unlock something fresh. But why does that have to be the case? Why can’t artists simply excel at one thing and create a multitude of songs that might sound similar but are guaranteed successes?

Yes, ‘Bad Idea Right?’ and ‘Brutal’ may essentially be the same song, and ‘Logical’ gives off major ‘Favorite Crime’ vibes; ‘The Grudge’ bears similarities to ‘Enough for You,’ and ‘Lacy’ touches on a theme similar to ‘Jealousy, Jealousy.’ But that’s because Olivia Rodrigo excels at crafting excellent teenage pop songs, and she should have the freedom to do just that.

I do believe there are a couple of songs on ‘GUTS’ that seem disconnected from ‘SOUR’ and could potentially signify a new direction for Rodrigo. For instance, ‘Get Him Back!’ and ‘Love is Embarrassing’ don’t quite sound like anything we’ve heard from her before. Impressively, ‘Get Him Back!’ is already gaining massive success, with its music video amassing six million views in less than a week after its release. However, it’s worth noting that people are indeed exploring new sounds, even with tracks like ‘Bad Idea Right?’ racking up over 126.5 million streams on Spotify. So, does Rodrigo truly have any motivation to venture beyond this realm of pop music, where she has undeniably found tremendous success?

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Olivia Rodrigo has mentioned in interviews that she intentionally crafted this album with a focus on its suitability for concert settings. This decision arose from her experience during the ‘SOUR’ tour when she found it challenging to create opportunities for audience participation. Notably, the bridges in songs like ‘Logical’ and ‘Get Him Back!’ really stand out as moments that would be incredible for audiences to shout along with during a concert. Olivia does have plans for a ‘GUTS’ concert, and it’s expected to be even more massive than the ‘SOUR’ tour. But the question remains: Is ‘GUTS’ as a whole on a grander scale than ‘SOUR’?

That has yet to be seen. The beautiful thing about ‘SOUR’ is that although it is written and sung by a teenage girl, it has the ability to connect with people of all ages as they think about their relationships. ‘GUTS’, on the other hand, has a lot to do specifically with being a teenager. I think a lot of us at Bucknell are close enough to that age to remember it well and relate to the songs, but will we see the same reaction with older generations as we did with ‘SOUR’? I guess we will have to see if they too view ‘GUTS’ as an extension of ‘SOUR’.

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