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The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

A Sophomore Album with Staying Power

Olivia Rodrigo releases gutsy 12-track record
Photo by BBC

Critics call her yet another passing trend, but fans of the 20-year-old pop-rock sensation Olivia Rodrigo argue she might be the world’s biggest star.

“SOUR,” her first studio album, was released in 2021 and went viral on TikTok after gaining attention because of its relatable lyrics and catchy choruses. Young listeners could easily identify with its thematic exploration of lost love and growing up. As important as the album was to listeners around the world, the record was also deeply personal for Rodrigo. Upon its release, she wrote on Instagram, “I hope you guys enjoy the 34 minutes and 46 seconds of me spilling my guts out that is called SOUR. Thank you for helping me turn all my unhappy feelings into one of the best moments of my life.”

Because “SOUR” was such a hit (the first debut album ever to have two songs top the Billboard Hot 100), fans were anticipating what came next from the up-and-coming singer-songwriter.


Since then, Rodrigo has released her second studio album “GUTS,” supported by its lead single “Vampire,” which topped the charts with 83.6 million streams. “Vampire,” a piano-driven power ballad, details Rodrigo’s own experience with being taken advantage of by an ex-boyfriend. 

The album’s second single “bad idea right?” discusses her desire to hook up with an ex even though she knows it’s a bad idea. It’s carried by strong verses and a pop-rock style that is present across many of the album’s songs. In “get him back!” Rodrigo contrasts the desire to get back together with an ex-boyfriend with her desire to inflict revenge. Another highlight was the album’s closing track “teenage dream,” which emphasizes the challenges of growing up as a Disney Channel star and the intense pressure she felt when attempting to compose a new record. The song’s slow build-up ultimately culminates in Rodrigo’s repetition of its main theme: “They all say that it gets better / It gets better, but what if I don’t.” This question demonstrates the difficulty faced by Rodrigo and is relatable to many listeners. 

Rodrigo is presented as social and outgoing, aA nd the majority of her music gives off an upbeat, loud, and fast-tempo vibe. This style is similar to the 90s-2000s rock icons like Paramore and Avril Lavigne who Rodrigo often cites as her own inspiration. “GUTS” stands out precisely because of its unique blend of ballads and pop-rock bangers, and the success of her unique genre-bending body of work proves Rodrigo is here for the long haul.

Our top two songs are “pretty isn’t pretty” and “Vampire.” “pretty isn’t pretty” is a song with a deep emotional meaning. In this song, she expresses emotions resulting from being body-shamed on the Internet. No matter how much she tries to improve her appearance, it will never fulfill and satisfy society’s beauty standards. Even after everything, even Rodrigo feels imperfect. It’s different from some of her other songs because the song isn’t discussing romantic relationships and instead focuses on Rodrigo’s own life. 

“pretty isn’t pretty” stands out against her past music because it shows her branching off from the classic romance feel that her other songs have.  The song’s genre is more pop than rock. Even though “Vampire” is one of her early released songs from the album as a lead single, it’s a huge hit among audiences because of its viral impact on social media platforms like TikTok. This is similar to her previous song “Drivers License” which launched her music career after working as an actress. 

Overall, this album is well-balanced, crossing into multiple genres while continuing to capture the vulnerability that catapulted Rodrigo into stardom. Her music is targeted toward Generation Z, specifically teenage girls. With “GUTS” being a viral sensation, Rodrigo has some big plans for a world tour coming up, and she intends to sell tickets for reasonable prices. With the improvement over her first album, we and other fans are excited to see what direction her music career takes next. 


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Milana Anderson
Milana Anderson, Reporter
I am a sophomore and this is my first year on Tiger News. I am looking forward to getting to know the staff and learning from them. I enjoy hanging with my friends and family and just having a good time.
Julianna Baldwin
Julianna Baldwin, Reporter
I am a sophomore and this will be my first year on Tiger News. This year, I am anticipating being able to inform the student body about interesting things around Central. Outside of school, I enjoy cooking, hanging out with friends, and loving on my pets. I am looking forward to getting to know the news staff and meeting new people.

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