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THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

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REVIEW: Ranking the deluxe tracks of Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘GUTS (spilled)’

Olivia+Rodrigo+recently+released+five+new+tracks+to+accompany+her+second+studio+album%2C+GUTS%2C+which+was+released+Sept.+8%2C+2023.
Courtesy Geffen Records
Olivia Rodrigo recently released five new tracks to accompany her second studio album, “GUTS,” which was released Sept. 8, 2023.

When Olivia Rodrigo began the songwriting process for “GUTS,” her sophomore album, there were high expectations for the outcome. Her debut album, “SOUR,” was mostly written in her bedroom, free from the judgment of others, where she found a safe haven in songwriting. Yet Rodrigo’s astonishing rise, fueled in part by the success of her song “drivers license” (which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eight straight weeks), lent itself to intense and newfound fame. Suddenly, she found herself with three Grammy Awards, an “Entertainer of the Year” title by TIME Magazine and incessant tabloid speculation.

Living up to the success of a debut album, especially one that was as critically acclaimed as “SOUR,” is incredibly difficult to achieve. Songwriters oftentimes succumb to something known as the “sophomore-slump” where their second album fails to live up to expectations. Many online commenters feared that Olivia Rodrigo would undergo such a slump for “GUTS,” but her innate ability to weave stories and music together to create songs was exquisitely reflected in the resulting record. “GUTS” went on to be named the No. 1 Album of 2023 by Billboard and earned six Grammy nominations. Defined by pop-rock and ‘90s style alternative, “GUTS” contains the heartfelt ballads that “SOUR” was most well-known for: songs like “teenage dream” and “pretty isn’t pretty” speak to the universal challenges faced by youth. 

Rodrigo is currently touring as part of the “GUTS World Tour,” and on the Chicago stretch of shows, Rodrigo stopped in the middle of her performance to announce the release of five new songs for “GUTS” in an album called “GUTS (spilled)” (pun most definitely intended). Four of those pieces, including “obsessed,” “scared of my guitar,” “stranger” and “girl i’ve always been,” were already available to fans who had purchased the various vinyl editions of “GUTS,” but the deluxe version of the album also included a new song named “so american.” Released on March 22 to extraordinary anticipation, here is our ranking of the five deluxe tracks on “GUTS (spilled)”:

1. obsessed

In her lead single “obsessed” from “GUTS (spilled),” Rodrigo skillfully channels the grungy, pop-rock essence that defined much of “GUTS.” This track swiftly became an internet sensation, eagerly anticipated by fans for its inclusion in her tour setlist (which it indeed made!). “obsessed” delves into the dynamics of jealousy within relationships, portraying the fixation over her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. Numerous elements set “obsessed” apart from the rest of the songs on “GUTS (spilled),” including its ability to relate to teenagers and listeners of all different backgrounds.

2. so american

The song “so american” is not only an incredible track, but it is noteworthy because it was not part of the original vinyl release; it was specifically added for the “GUTS (spilled)” album. Amid Rodrigo’s exploration of the darker side of relationships, this song shines as a heartfelt message to her current boyfriend, Louis Partridge. It’s refreshing to see Rodrigo happy and content in her current relationship, and this song was perfect to showcase her love. With its upbeat tempo and pop-infused melodies, “so american” captures Rodrigo’s love in a vibrant and compelling manner. This song undoubtedly begs to be played at full volume in the car, especially when you’re riding the waves of happiness and love. 

3. scared of my guitar 

In “scared of my guitar,”  Rodrigo reverts to the folk-ballad style that helped fuel her popularity, echoing previous songs such as the single “Can’t Catch Me Now (From The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes)” and “lacy,” a track on the standard edition of “GUTS.” There is something magical about the build up to the climax in “scared of my guitar.” The song, which illustrates Rodrigo’s apprehensiveness about honesty in songwriting, concludes with a beautiful demonstration of her upper register. 

4. stranger 

Rodrigo boasts an impressive array of music and genres, but she is most recognized for her break up songs which have been ingrained into the 21st century. “GUTS (spilled)” is no exception, and in “stranger” (which is by all means a break-up song), Rodrigo focuses on the one aspect of a romantic split that is often neglected: acceptance. Although the song lacks in a build up and seems anticlimactic in some parts, Rodrigo’s ethereal vocals and elucidatory songwriting more than make up for it. The profound lyricism found in all of her music is what makes Rodrigo so appealing to a wide audience, and this is highlighted perfectly in “stranger,” where she sings, “I cried a million rivers for you, but that’s over now / You’re just a stranger I know everything about.”

5. girl i’ve always been 

In “girl i’ve always been” Rodrigo crafts a compelling story of standing up to someone, with a distinctive and catchy approach. The song’s subtle country twang adds a delightful twist to Rodrigo’s typical, pop-rock sound, evocative of Taylor Swift in her albums “Fearless” or “Speak Now.” The standout moment arrives in the chorus, where Rodrigo sings, “And I can’t say I’m a perfect ten / But I am the girl I’ve always been.” The song’s message boldly advocates for standing up for oneself when faced with injustice, perfectly aligning with Rodrigo’s own beliefs. Although this song is strong and important for the “GUTS (spilled)” album, it unfortunately does not evoke the same level of excitement and creativity in vocals as the other tracks. While “girl i’ve always been” sets a mood that could serve as a nice background track, it lacks the energy to get a crowd screaming and on their feet like Rodrigo’s other songs do. 


The deluxe tracks prove the versatility of Olivia Rodrigo as an artist; in just a few years, she has skyrocketed from a Disney actress to an international superstar. Rodrigo’s evolution not only demonstrates her success as a famous singer, but highlights her ability to connect with listeners on a personal level. “GUTS (spilled)” is a perfect example of what the singer does best: vivid songwriting paired with beautiful musicality, ensuring Rodrigo’s status for years to come.

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Nora Kurtz
Nora Kurtz, Staff Writer
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