Olivia Rodrigo is a #relatable girl. Despite the Grammy-winning debut album, Disney kid back story, and her millions of social media followers, she still manages to tap into the desires and frustrations of the wider collective. Following the viral success of her 2021 single “Driver’s License”, which solidified her reputation as a pop phenomenon, her long-awaited sophomore album Guts is rockier than 2021’s Sour (by that I mean that there’s some pop-punk thrown into the mix). It’s the sort of album you put on with your friends while you get ready for a night out and share secrets. It’s Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” but younger, fresher and so damn relatable.
Pop music usually falls into one of two camps: it’s either aspirational, or something that reflects the listener back to themselves. What makes Guts such a good listen is that it’s the latter. Rodrigo’s That Girl energy is infectious as she makes sly digs to ex-lovers, confesses to accidentally hooking up with said exes (“I tripped and fell into his bed,” she sings on “Bad Idea Right?”), and recounts messy nights getting drunk in the club with “fairweather friends”, presumably some being the “fame fuckers” she alludes to in her single “Vampire”. “Lacy” is a country-tinged ballad about falling into love with someone with eyes “as white as daisies”, while “Making The Bed” and “logical” chronicle the classic tale of putting yourself through hell for a guy who doesn’t deserve it. Masculinity might as well be in crisis, but at least we have Rodrigo to comfort us through its ups and downs.
Elsewhere, James Blake returns with a new record, Lil Peep’s estate shares a posthumous album withiLoveMakonnen, and Gaika shares his most expansive release yet.