Olivia Rodrigo reflects teenage girls

Olivia Rodrigo GUTS album cover.
Olivia Rodrigo “GUTS” album cover.
Photo courtesy of Pitchfork

After listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album, GUTS, I couldn’t help but think that she has become a staple for the teen girls of this generation. Exploring themes of heartbreak, realities of teenagehood and self-doubt, her lyrics speak to the masses.

There are many artists that are targeted for girls, but they aren’t necessarily going through the same things that the teenage girl audience is experiencing because they’re older. Freshly exiting her teenage years, Rodrigo acts as a good spokesperson for the demographic, as she understands the lore and experience first hand; thus offering a modern perspective.

Not only are Rodrigo’s songs relatable, but they’re also open for interpretation. Despite making her debut in 2021 with “Drivers License”, she shared in an interview with People Magazine that she doesn’t want to be “pigeonholed.” This means that she wants her music to be known for more than heartbreak, as there is more to the teenage girl experience than failed relationships and dwelling on being sad over a boy; though she acknowledges that that is still an aspect.

She accomplishes this in introspective songs such as “Making the Bed.” With self-reflective lyricism, Rodrigo discusses dealing with the burden of having to suffer the consequences of her own actions.  

“I’m so tired of bein’ the girl that I am, every good thing has turned into somethin’ I dread. And I’m playin’ the victim so well in my head, but it’s me who’s been makin’ the bed,” she sings.

No matter what she does, there’s always a lingering feeling of self-doubt and discomfort. This is a feeling we all know too well. 

In high school especially, feeling out of place is very common, as cliques develop over the years. Some might find themselves making peer pressured decisions or hanging out with certain people they know they shouldn’t because the alternative is feeling like an outsider. They trade feeling lonely for toxic friendships.

“Well, sometimes I feel like I don’t wanna be where I am. Gettin’ drunk at a club with my fair-weather friends. Push away all the people who know me the best, but it’s me who’s been makin’ the bed,” she also mentions in the track “Making the Bed.”

Rodrigo also acknowledges the insecurities and comparisons girls go through in our day and age of social media in “Pretty Isn’t Pretty,” further emphasizing just how relatable she is. This proves that even someone with millions of followers still compares herself to others in the media. 

Imagine going on social media and the first thing that you see is a really pretty girl. You instantly get knots in your stomach, feeling as though you pale in comparison to such mesmerizing beauty. Soon after that you rack your brain trying to figure out what you can do to improve your image. Though, no matter what you do, you’re always left feeling like you’ve fallen short. 

“And I try to ignore it, but it’s everything I see. It’s on the posters on the wall. It’s in the s***** magazines…when pretty isn’t pretty enough, what do you do? And everybody’s keepin’ it up , so you think it’s you. I could change up my body and change up my face. I could try every lipstick in every shade, but I’d always feel the same ‘cause pretty isn’t pretty enough anyways.”

In enchanting ballads like “Logical” and “The Grudge,” Rodrigo is able tug on heartstrings by speaking on feelings of betrayal in relationships; something that many teen girls grapple with. Though she wrote about personal events in these songs, her lyrics leave the door open for listeners to relate it to their own experiences.

“Teenage Dream” captures the fear of growing up and leaving your youth behind. 

“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.”

There is so much pressure to live your teen years the “right way.” If you’re constantly comparing  your teenage experience to those we’ve seen in movies, or to the ones around you, you will always feel as though you’re coming up short. 

Olivia Rodrigo’s music perfectly encapsulates the highs and lows of being a teenage girl. With her authentic insight and thought provoking lyrics, she knows just the right way to put our feelings into words.


View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All The Voyager Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • I

    Isabella LeijaMar 31, 2024 at 2:07 am

    I love olivia rodrgo and I also believe her songs are relatable and also really powerful