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How Olivia Rodrigo Avoided a Sophomore Slump

Olivia Rodrigo paved her own way for her excellent, guitar-drenched second album, Guts. It’s impossible to imagine a major pop artist pushing this hard into rock if she hadn’t already opened the door with the hardest-hitting moments of her 2021 debut, Sour. (That said, she doesn’t see herself as a pop star, anyway.)

In the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, Angie Martoccio, who wrote our revealing new cover story on Rodrigo, joins host Brian Hiatt to break down every track of Guts, from the biting sarcasm of the opening track, “All-American Bitch,” to the tears-on-her-birthday-cake closer “Teenage Dream,” written about Rodrigo’s “fear of not being a teenager anymore.” Check out the whole conversation here at the podcast provider of your choice, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or just press play above.


The episode also digs into what may be the two most controversial tracks on the album, “Lacy” and “The Grudge.” Some fans think “Lacy” might be about Rodrigo’s onetime romantic rival, Sabrina Carpenter, and that “The Grudge” could allude to an alleged feud with Taylor Swift — although the latter song could just as easily be about a breakup. It’s worth noting that in Martoccio’s cover story, Rodrigo denied the existence of that feud. “I don’t have beef with anyone,” she said. “I’m very chill. I keep to myself. I have my four friends and my mom, and that’s really the only people I talk to, ever. There’s nothing to say… There’s so many Twitter conspiracy theories. I only look at alien-conspiracy theories.” And Swift, for her part, was seen applauding for Rodrigo at this week’s VMAs.

Download and subscribe to Rolling Stone’s weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts). Check out six years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth, career-spanning interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Mariah Carey, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Taylor Hawkins, Willow, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Dua Lipa, Questlove, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Charlie Puth, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, and Gary Clark Jr. And look for dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters.

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