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How GUTS (spilled) has helped my journey of healing and growth

The album is a rollercoaster of emotions that continues her story of love, loss, and self-discovery

By Jillian Gonzales

GUTS by Olivia Rodrigo dropped in Sept. 2023 and recently dropped the deluxe version, GUTS (spilled).

The original version was too good and the songs added to the deluxe elevate the album even more.

At just 21 years old, the former Disney actress is now on her Guts Tour around the world in sold-out stadiums because her music strikes a chord with so many people. Rodrigo has a way of writing songs that perfectly articulate complex feelings and still sound so beautiful.

What sets this new album apart from her debut album SOUR, is the genre she has found her place in. Her combination of angsty pop and ballads has listeners going from jumping up and down screaming her lyrics to sitting on the floor weeping and really, what else could you possibly ask for in an album? 

One of my favourite songs on the GUTS (spilled) has to be “so american” because of how she describes the feeling of being in love with someone who sees you for who you are.

As the closing track of the deluxe, Rodrigo demonstrates a whirlwind of emotions, opening with “all-american bitch” which speaks to the constant feeling of wanting to fit in and trying to meet unattainable societal standards.

“So american” closes the album by explaining the feeling of finding comfort with yourself and being in a relationship after building this peace with yourself. In the first verse she sings “Feet on the dashboard, he's like a poem I wish I wrote” which stands out because she is expressing a feeling of gratitude for being with someone you could not even imagine yourself with.

This song is so liberating because I can relate to feeling defeated after so many failed attempts at finding love and starting to look down on myself but after finding the strength to focus on myself, love found me when I was ready.

As one of Rodrigo’s few love songs, it is such a happy and exciting song which mirrors the feelings of accepting love after so many heartbreaks. 

stranger,” the second last song on the deluxe is also such a great addition because coming before “so american,” she sings about the healing journey coming out of a relationship and slowly finding peace within yourself.

This song strikes a chord with me because you can feel so sure that someone will be yours forever but when they are gone, it’s scary to think of them as a stranger. The folksy-sounding song is so light and airy, like the feeling of getting over someone from your past and the weight that is released.

She opens the song by singing “I woke up this mornin' and I sat up straight in bed / I had the strangest feeling of this weight off of my chest / I hadn't felt that hopeful since the day that you left,” and she describes the feeling of the realization of being freed from a feeling that has kept you down for so long.

In the chorus, she sings “You're just a stranger I know everything about,” which explains how even though this person is no longer in your life, you did once share parts of yourselves but now they will just be a stranger and that’s okay. 

These songs added to the deluxe are so refreshing describing the feelings of love and finding closure within yourself.

Rodrigo does have her fair share of sad songs like “lacy” that speak on the feelings of inferiority and the comparisons one can find themselves in.

As Genius describes the song, “Rodrigo embraces her inferiority complex by personifying the beauty of women she’s intimidated by in this “Lacy” character [...] Rodrigo succumbs to her habit of comparing herself to other women to an extent so extreme that it seems like a crippling romantic obsession.”

What makes this song so great is that it is relatable in how she describes the obsession – the love for Lacy but also hating her for the control she has. It is such a complicated relationship with oneself and Lacy that Rodrigo sings about but also comforting as it makes us feel seen for not having these feelings alone. 

teenage dream” continues to be a song that stands out from the album because of how Rodrigo describes growing up.

The journey of adulthood is really hard for so many reasons and one of them is realizing that you’re going through it. The song speaks about mourning the loss of youth and taking control of your life.

The chorus sings “I'll blow out the candles, happy birthday to me / Got your whole life ahead of you, you're only nineteen /  But I fear that they already got all the best parts of me / And I'm sorry that I couldn't always be your teenage dream.”

These lyrics reflect on the feeling of going through another birthday, reaching a new age and chapter, and coming to terms with the fact that there are still so many years ahead yet it feels like the best years have passed but also so much you wished to achieve.

For me, entering my 20s was hard and confusing – to some, I’m still a baby and have so much left to live but for me, I am facing the world on my terms. This can be liberating but it is also really scary trying to live up to my teenage expectations. 

“​girl i’ve always been” is an addition to the deluxe that also strikes a chord because of how it takes a different perspective on growing up.

Change is inevitable and that can be a scary thought but when someone else points out a change in you, it’s even worse. When Rodrigo sings “But I am the girl I've always been / I got wrapped up in the game again,” she articulates the complexity of getting caught up in life and becoming a seemingly new person but still grounded in the person you always have been.

Growing up means discovering new things and people but that does not need to be a bad thing. At first listen, this song sounds like it is related to a romantic partner but the more times it's played, it can relate to others who have an opinion on your change.

It’s okay to change and as she says, “So don't say that I've been actin' different / I'm nothin' if I'm not consistent.” 

Overall, this album is so healing for several reasons. Rodrigo writes her songs as if she is telling a story about growing up, the trials and tribulations of various relationships, and finding peace within yourself.

The additional five songs to GUTS (spilled) continue the stories she is telling in the original version of the album to close one chapter and set up a new hopeful story.


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