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The Flor-Ala

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The Flor-Ala

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GUTS embodies the 20-something experience

Bre Goodwin

Olivia Rodrigo released her highly anticipated sophomore album, “GUTS,” on Sept. 8. The album, much like her first album “SOUR,” features heavy inspiration from pop-punk and early 2000’s hits. Despite this, the album still has a distinctly modern feel.

Rodrigo began her fame on Disney Channel, with her role as Nini on “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” being the most recognizable. The show was able to show off her beginnings as a songwriter and artist, with the self-written “All I Want” gaining traction on social media platforms. The release of “drivers license” broke various records and solidified her place as a singer-songwriter rather than an actress.

Rodrigo released two singles before the album’s release, “vampire” and “bad idea right?”, which were received positively and soared on the charts.

all-american b*tch

The album’s opening song, “all-american b*tch” starts off with commentary about American ideals, particularly unattainable American ideals about women. 

The first verse of the song deals with the duality of being authentic and being a celebrity. Celebrities are media-trained and have a certain image pushed about them by their teams, record labels, fans, etc. It can be easy to lose the authenticity that drew fans in in the first place. Authenticity and “rawness” can only be done so much before it becomes a bit that you’re known for.

Rodrigo has also been criticized for either acting older or younger than her age, and addresses those criticisms in the line “I know my age and I act like it.” Additionally, in the outro she insists that she is soft and demure, with the gentle delivery of “I’m grateful all the time/ I’m sexy and I’m kind/ I’m pretty when I cry”.

Favorite lyric: “I got class and integrity/ I’m graceful as a Kennedy, I swear”

bad idea right?

The outro of “all-american b*tch” perfectly melts into the intro of “bad idea right?”. The song itself is about hooking up with an ex, even though you know it’s a bad idea (as the name suggests). 

The chorus of the song is Rodrigo trying to convince her friends that she should leave their night out to go see her ex. She even claims to see him as a friend (which she confirms as a lie in an aside to the audience). She ultimately decides to go, as stated in the second verse (“I told my friends I was asleep/ But I never said where or in whose sheets”). 

The entire song is very tongue-in-cheek and fun, with a distinct pop-punk sound. I’m not ashamed to say that it was my most listened song of August, even though it’s a topic I don’t relate to.

Favorite lyric: “I’m sure I’ve seen much hotter men/ But I really can’t remember when”


“Vampire” was the first song released for “GUTS.” It details a toxic relationship with undertones addressing grooming and powerlessness. Rodrigo makes it evident that the song’s subject used her (possibly for her fame) and took advantage of her naivete. 

Rodrigo, at the time she wrote “vampire,” had dated DJ Zack Bia, who was seven years older than her. She notes how he made her seem naive and stupid for having a relationship with him and ultimately getting her heart broken. She likens him to a vampire, sucking the life and energy from her before leaving. He also “sold her for parts,” highlighting that he exploited her and her stardom for his own benefit, rather than appreciating her as a person.

The subject also goes on to gaslight her, brushing off when other women comment on how he is “bad, bad news” and calling them crazy. To gain his approval, she joins in and agrees that they are. She also further confirms that the subject is somewhat significantly older than her by saying, “girls your age know better,” when he says he could have chosen another girl over her. The subject of this song is creepy and exploitative, and Rodrigo details how much stress she was under while with him.

Favorite lyric: “You can’t love anyone ‘cause that would mean you had a heart”


Rodrigo tows the line between jealousy and homoeroticism in “lacy.” It’s written about a supposed “perfect” girl, potentially a romantic rival. The Target-exclusive track “obsessed” leans into this theory, as Rodrigo talks about being obsessed with her love interest’s ex-girlfriend.

Lacy, the song’s subject, is making her feel inferior, and Rodrigo romanticizes everything about her. In her eyes, Lacy is a personification of her inferiority complex, as she perfectly fits into the beauty standard (“skin like puff pastry,” “eyes white as daisies,” “Bardot reincarnate”). 

In the outro, Rodrigo somewhat confirms that she has some form of affection towards Lacy, by saying “I despise my jealous eyes and how hard they fell for you.”

The production of the song is soft and gentle, perhaps nodding to the softness and gentleness Rodrigo characterizes Lacy as having. 

Favorite lyric: “I try, I try, I try/ But it takes over my life, I see you everywhere/ The sweetest torture one could bear

ballad of a homeschooled girl

I see “ballad of a homeschooled girl” as the awkward cousin of “bad idea right?” It is equally as fun and dance-able, but discusses how Rodrigo feels socially stunted compared to others her age. It is a common stereotype that homeschooled children are socially stunted, and Rodrigo confirms that she, despite her fame, falls into that stereotype. 

She names all of the ways she embarrassed herself during a party, from breaking a glass and falling to flirting with a guy who ends up being gay.

The song is cohesive with the album, but has a unique garage rock sound to it, as it has heavy drums and electric guitar. Rodrigo’s genre range shines, as her voice is perfectly suited for the style. The song also had an angsty teenage tone to it.

I listen to this song a lot while driving. It’s a total bop.

Favorite lyric: “I’m on the outside of the greatest inside joke”

making the bed

This track resonates with me personally, and it’s one of the songs on the album that takes a raw and personal approach to Rodrigo’s issues. She discusses the changes in her life since her last album and how she finds herself unhappy despite her successes, as she feels like she has no control of her life. 

She is tired of being herself. She wants a life separate from the one she has curated through the success of “SOUR.” Does she regret it? Maybe. Can she change it now? No, and she has to deal with that.

Lyrics draw contrast from songs earlier on the album, too, providing an internal dissonance. In the first verse, Rodrigo says that she is “pretending I’m older than I am,” which directly contrasts to “all-american b*tch,” where she states that she knows her age and acts like it.

She addresses that she is to blame for putting herself in the situation she resents. She plays on the term “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it” by saying that she’s the one who’s been making the bed and it is no one else’s fault. Despite this, she wishes to hide from the consequences by “pull[ing] the sheets over [her] head.”

Even her modes of escape prove to be futile, as people still treat her as something bigger, or a “tourist attraction.” People say they love her, yes, but they don’t fully care to know her. Their words are empty. 

Favorite lyric: “I’m so tired of bein’ the girl that I am/ Every good thing has turned into somethin’ I dread”


“Logical” is another ballad lamenting about a toxic relationship. It provides a deeper, more visceral account than “vampire.” The song is poignant in its exploration of how much love can blind a person, and the red flags in their partner can be easily ignored. The lyrics also lean into self-blame, especially in its outro.

Her partner gaslights her into believing almost anything, and she would do anything for him if he just asked. The chorus relays that him being the love of her life is as impossible as two plus two equaling five or grass being red. It will just never be true.

The chorus bemoans the relationship, listing off the defenses her partner would use in arguments. She “was too young, was too soft” and couldn’t “take a joke” or “get [him] off.” Seeing as how her ex-partner was seven years older than her, their senses of humor and grasp on what is acceptable to joke about would likely be vastly different.

Favorite lyric: “’Cause if rain don’t pour and sun don’t shine/ Then changing you is possible”

get him back!

Another fun bop on the tracklist is “get him back!” It’s fun, playful, and talks about the dual feelings towards an ex. The title “get him back,” takes on two meanings. She wants to get him back by restarting their relationship, but she also wants to get back at him for the way she was treated in the relationship. 

Similarly to “bad idea right?,” Rodrigo’s friends disapprove of her remaining affections towards her ex. She does consider their opinion, but then contradicts it by saying that she could “fix him.”

The bridge shows off the duality of her feelings well, with her expressing a need to care for him while also wishing to hurt him. She wants to make him food, heal his heart, meet his mother and kiss him, but she also wants to key his car, break his heart, tell his mother that “her son sucks” and punch him in the face. Revenge seems to take the cake in this track.

Favorite lyric: “But I am my father’s daughter, so maybe I could fix him”

the grudge

Another ballad depicting a distrusting and tumultuous relationship, “the grudge” reflects the struggle of growing past someone who hurt you. She holds a grudge for the person who hurt her, but she loves them more than she hates them. The way they hurt her still continues to haunt her, even though the person seems like they don’t care about what they did.

She cannot fathom how cruelly her partner hurt her when she would never dream of doing such a thing. She asks them if she deserved what they did, and she can’t help but hear ulterior motives in their kindness and comments.

Despite the pain, she still holds a deep love for them. She still has not forgiven them, as it takes a strength she doesn’t think she has.

Favorite lyric: “And we both drew blood, but, man, those cuts were never equal”

teenage dream

The final track, “teenage dream,” gives a look into Rodrigo’s state of mind throughout the creation of the album. She lists off her fears of never growing past her peak and falling to an average status rather than the standard for her profession.

Age is a central theme to this album, and it continues through the last track. She is celebrating her nineteenth birthday and worried that her current state will be something she looks back at and wishes to return to. There is a guilt to her unhappiness, as it may be her best years. She has shed the naivete of “SOUR” and showed her maturity in an attempt to continue her close bond with listeners.

She ends the album with a question: “They all say that it gets better, but what if I don’t?” What if her next album doesn’t live up to the hype and acclaim of “SOUR” and “GUTS”? She won’t know until it happens.

The song, while it discusses fame, can resonate greatly to those in the early years of adulthood. As a 20-year-old myself, I found a deep relation to this song. When will I start to grow up? When will I stop being the “gifted kid” and burn out? They aren’t answers I have until I’ve grown past this stage in my life. It’s a terrifying reality.

Favorite lyric: “When am I gonna stop being great for my age and just start being good?”

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About the Contributors
Emma Tanner, Editor-in-Chief
Emma is Editor-in-Chief of the Flor-Ala. She is a senior from Killen, Ala. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism and digital media. She was previously Managing Editor for the spring 2023 semester. She also served as News Editor from Jan. 2022 to Dec. 2022. She was previously a volunteer writer. Her favorite topics to cover are profiles and local news. Tanner has written since her childhood and grew a passion for journalism during high school. Aside from working on the Flor-Ala, she was also a research assistant for a psychological study at UNA and served as CASE ambassador president for the Fall 2022 semester.
Bre Goodwin, Lead Graphic Designer

Bre Goodwin is a junior majoring in Cinematic Arts & Theatre with a concentration in Acting. As a graphic designer for the Flor-Ala, she is passionate about art and the ways it can heal individuals and unite communities. She is from Leighton, Ala.

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