Rage and Regrets: Olivia Rodrigo Chronicles the Perils of a Teenage Girl in “GUTS”

Rage and Regrets: Olivia Rodrigo Chronicles the Perils of a Teenage Girl in “GUTS”

What fresh hell is this? “All-American bitch” Olivia Rodrigo encapsulates the weight of being a teenager in her sophomore album



Being a teenage girl is hard. As a geriatric Millennial—or so what the young'uns would think now that I’m 31—I can attest that there’s nothing more confusing than being a young woman with big feelings you don’t quite have the vocabulary for. Falling in love for the first time and losing that love, then somehow gaslighting yourself into believing it never existed. Watching your friendships slowly wither and not knowing how to adapt to this change. Having it so good, yet still wanting everything you don’t have. Attaching yourself to anything that fills the void within and feeling as if no one in history has ever gone through it before. And being dismissed for having all these feelings. What fresh hell is this?


Doe-eyed Disney star-turned-all-American bitch Olivia Rodrigo chronicles the perils of a teenage girl in her sophomore album, GUTS. She perfectly encapsulates the weight of being a teenager—feeling everything everywhere all at once—in this 12-track album.



RELATED: Olivia Rodrigo Spills the Beans About SOUR and Acing Her Driving Test


Let’s talk about the rage; oh, the rage. As the Patron Saint of Mga Marurupok, Olivia’s music is reminiscent of carefree days when we—my aging generation—listened to the harmonized yells of Avril Lavigne and Paramore’s Hayley Williams using our MP3s and iPods (now stored in our own Museum of Forgotten Things). We had our whole lives ahead of us, and we couldn’t wait to start living it. We withdrew inside our little worlds because we always felt misunderstood.



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In Olivia Rodrigo's opening track, all-american bitch, Olivia explores the contradicting female ideals inherent in American culture, many of which are unattainable. Inspired by the phrase “all-American bitch” from Joan Didion’s The White Album, she sings about feeling misplaced. In an interview via The Guardian, she confesses, “I’ve experienced a lot of emotional turmoil over having all these feelings of rage and dissatisfaction that I felt like I couldn’t express, especially in my job. I’ve always felt like: you can never admit it, be so grateful all the time, so many people want this position. And that causes a lot of repressed feelings. I’ve always struggled with wanting to be this perfect American girl and the reality of not feeling like that all the time.”  


In love is embarrassing and get him back!, Olivia sings about…well, essentially, being delulu. When we don’t know any better, we’re drawn like moths to a flame to boys who are the textbook-definition toxic and present this us-against-the-world relationship. Seriously, everything’s fucking embarrassing.


Olivia lays out the perils of being a teenage girl in pretty isn’t pretty. All we want is to be wanted; as women, we can’t help but believe that beauty—and being desirable—is social currency. Even the Glossier brand ambassador has days when she feels that pretty isn’t pretty enough, “chasing dumb ideals” that, at the end of the day, you can never grasp. It’s not you, bestie, it’s the system. 


After all the fast-paced, scream-your-heart-out tunes, Olivia slows down in teenage dream. She relates it to her debut album, SOUR, where she asks in the opening single brutal: “Where’s my fucking teenage dream?” She laments what it feels like to have your whole life ahead of you but to feel so jaded—to be 19 and feel like you’ve already had all your best years. 


RELATED: Through the Years with Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now”



GUTS brings my inner teenager healing—the starry-eyed girl who believed the best in everyone and thought she would find forever in the first guy she dated at 16. Olivia Rodrigo gifted us with honest-to-god anthems to scream to, laugh to and cry to. She illuminates experiences I thought I had to suffer through alone, and for that I am grateful. 


RELATED: Fall Apart With Kacey Musgraves’ Star-Crossed, An Offering for the Unlucky in Love



Art Matthew Ian Fetalver

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