When Olivia Rodrigo announced her highly anticipated sophomore album Guts, promised Sept. 8, fans acted accordingly. In the way the singer-songwriter encapsulated her coming-of-age heartbreak into Sour in 2021, we were ready to throw ourselves into her (and our) next chapter of emotional angst — whether in our teens, twenties, thirties, and beyond.
With the announcement of her upcoming album, and the recent release of scorching “Vampire,” Rodrigo has set the stage for a record “about growing pains and trying to figure out who I am at this point in my life.”
“I feel like I grew 10 years between the ages of 18 and 20 — it was such an intense period of awkwardness and change,” she previously wrote in a statement. “I think that’s all just a natural part of growth, and hopefully the album reflects that.”
As fans simmer in the summer leading up to the album release, here’s what we know so far about what’s shaping up to be the coming-of-age album of the year.
She began recording before her tour last year and finished the album a week before releasing the single
In an interview with Rolling Stone last spring, Rodrigo said that she and collaborator Dan Nigro were trying to finish as much new music as possible before she hit the road for her first-ever tour. In a more recent interview, she mentioned that the writing of lead single “Vampire” jumpstarted the actual sound of the album and helped mold the project from there. Just days before dropping the single, she noted that they had just finished the album “a week ago.”
The album is all about looking back at uncomfortable mistakes and growing up
The song’s first cut, “Vampire,” is all about a “fame-fucker” who betrayed Rodrigo. But the Best New Artist winner’s most pointed jabs on her sophomore album may be saved for herself.
“One of my favorite lines in the song is ‘I’ve made some real big mistakes but you make the worst one look fine.’ This album talks about me making a bunch of mistakes in my life and being awkward, not knowing who I am and not knowing what I want. That’s just a really necessary part of life. Looking back, it was super uncomfortable when I was going through it but I think making mistakes and not doing everything perfectly is the only way to figure out who you are and how to grow and evolve,” she tells Rolling Stone. “The album’s a lot about that.”
She’s not worried about reinventing herself too much.
In a statement, Rodrigo pointed out that her focus for Guts was the songwriting above all else. And it’s clear she is not worried about tackling a whole new persona for her sophomore album. She stuck with purple for the color palette of the album, similar to Sour, and noted that “Vampire,” while similar to her past work, is about showing a progression that is still able to keep the new music feeling fresh.
She’s reunited with Sour collaborators Petra Collins and Daniel Nigro.
Rodrigo threw a viewing party, hosted by YouTube, for the release of the music video for “Vampire,” and thanked Petra Collins, who directed the visual, and Nigro who produced the track.
“I made this video with my friend Petra Collins, who’s amazing. I’ve been following her for years,” Rodrigo told the crowd. “I’ve been like saving her photos on my Pinterest since I was 15. I feel really lucky that I get to make art with her now.”
In an interview with RS, Rodrigo continued to express her love for Collins’ work and aesthetic. “I think she really captures such a beautiful, feminine, young essence in everything she does that I think my music probably conveys as well.”
As for the track itself, Rodrigo thanked Nigro for his help making the record. “I made it with my good friend Daniel Nigro, who I wrote the song with, and who I wrote Guts with, and he’s just a genius and I feel really lucky to get to work with him too,” she said. “Big thanks to them.”
She’s dropping multiple versions of Guts on vinyl — and an alternate cover
In true 2023 fashion, Rodrigo is releasing multiple variants of her album. Her website features vinyl pressings in four different colors — purple, navy blue, white, and red — featuring the original album artwork, which sees the singer laying on a dark purple backdrop as she bites her thumb and the rings on her finger spell “guts.”
Along with the four colored pressings on her website, fans can purchase a transparent version of the LP at Walmart, a bright pink version from Amazon, and a light pink one from Urban Outfitters.
A separate, limited-edition vinyl pressing is available at Target, featuring an alternative cover that sees Rodrigo kicking her feet up while laying on a lavender bedsheet as she wears a black sweatshirt, gray skirt, and high-top Converse. The Target vinyl pressing includes a poster and a maroon-colored record.