the map with her debut album “Sour.” With her exploration of punk rock and y2k style, Rodrigo was able to show her ability of storytelling through music and creative lyrics and has continued this trend in her second album “Guts.” She takes this punk, y2k aesthetic into her new album featuring more ballads and upbeat songs than seen on her previous album, while also focusing on a more thematic album.
Through “Guts,” Rodrigo displays her ability to create a more cohesive album than her first, all focused around one common theme, girlhood.
Rodrigo pays perfect homage to girlhood through her second album. Through witty, creative, emotional and angst-ridden lyrics, Rodrigo paints a picture of simply being a teenage girl and all the things that come along with that, crushes, heartbreak, expectations, comparisons and, of course, embarrassment.
The first song on this album, “All-American B*tch” sets this picture up well. The song pushes this pressure to appear as someone who is complicit, adaptable and appealing, a sentiment that many young girls find themselves slipping into. Rodrigo creatively depicts the expectations of young girls through a light voice and tinkly music with lines like, “I am light as a feather and as stiff as a board” showing the odd and unrealistic expectations of girls. To combat this sweet sound and soft lyrics, Rodrigo takes a dramatic turn in the song, showing her inner thoughts, feelings and angst. Even going so far as to show her “scream[ing] inside to deal with it” throughout the bridge of the song. Yet through all of this she ends the song with sweet affirmations, showing the dramatic mood swings and calming of emotions that girls everywhere relate to.
Rodrigo also features another relatable emotion on this album: embarrassment. In “Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl” Rodrigo depicts the world-ending embarrassment that comes with trying to act normal as a young girl. With lines like “Searching ‘How to start a conversation’ on a website” and “Thought your mom was your wife, called you the wrong name twice” she is able to encompass the uncomfortable, embarrassing memories of our early teen years withing a fun pop punk ballad.
Though the embarrassment does not stop there. Her song “Love is Embarrassing” goes into all the dramatic ups and downs of dating. In the song she says, “You found a new version of me, and I damn near started World War III” thought to be a jab at her younger self and her costar Joshua Bassett. Overall, this song is a playful depiction of reflecting on previous relationships with more
Do not worry though, love is not just about embarrassment, but also in making questionable choices. “Bad Idea, Right?” one of the singles from the album, Rodrigo talks about going back to her ex in a moment of weakness. Though this upbeat humorous tune isn’t the only song on the album featuring that theme. “Get Him Back!” is another example of Rodrigo going back to her ex, but with a slight twist. She uses a double meaning in this song of getting her ex back and getting back at her ex with lines like, “Wanna kiss his face with an uppercut/I wanna meet his mom and tell her her son sucks”.
Though love is not all fun and games on this album, Rodrigo also goes back to her roots and features more emotional piano ballads. Songs like “Making the Bed” and “The Grudge” both reflect on heartbreak and the lingering feelings that it leaves. While “Logical” and “Vampire,” the other single from the album, both touch on a manipulative relationship with an older man. These deep, emotional songs all show what Rodrigo does best, storytelling.
Rodrigo also tells a story of a common pit fall for most young girls, comparison. “Lacy” focuses on comparing oneself to someone that they idealize. This comparison is on a very personal basis, but Rodrigo also touches on comparison in general in “Pretty Isn’t Pretty.” Rodrigo touches on the social pressure that young girls face to try to be pretty, but not living up to it. A theme of not being enough is found both in this song and the last song on the album.
Rodrigo wraps up the album with the ballad “Teenage Dream” which shows a sense of conclusion of her teen years, leaving her feeling like she has already hit her peak. She leaves listeners with the final thought “They all say that it gets better, but what if I don’t?” and closes the book on her girlhood.