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The Scarlet

The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet

The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet


“Haven’t heard from you in a couple months” – Yeah, Olivia, a couple of months, how about waiting a couple of years for your sophomore album?

Olivia Rodrigo took the music industry by storm with the release of her first album, “Sour.” Now, “Sour” was an incredibly well written album. The album was filled with lyrics that anyone who has experienced heartbreak could relate to. I will admit that when I first listened to the album, I was unsure of what I thought. I thought her transition from a more lyrical vibe to a punk artist was a little unusual, and I think she was trying to drift away from comparisons to Taylor Swift. However, it took a few more listens for me to appreciate what Olivia has brought to the music industry. 

Her album “Sour” was released following the breakup of her and her supposed ex-boyfriend Joshua Bassett. I would argue that Olivia Rodrigo is still mourning the loss of her former partner. In “Guts,” one of the songs is titled “ballad of a homeschooled girl.” In it, there is a line that says “I talkеd to this hot guy, swore I was his type; Guess that he was makin’ out with boys, like, the whole night,” and then going on to say, “every guy I like is gay,” potentially referencing that Joshua Bassett had previously come out as queer. 

Joshua Bassett is not the only ex that Rodrigo has had since the release of her last album. She announced Adam Faze as her boyfriend publicly in the summer of 2021, but their relationship was brief. Afterwards, she started dating the now twenty-seven year old DJ, Zack Bia, in the summer of 2022, but they had been talking for a few months prior. It is unknown if she is specifically basing her album on one specific breakup – it could be multiple – however, there are some clear signs that point in the direction of Zack Bia.

Speculation arose that “bad idea right” was written about Joshua Bassett, but Rodrigo claims differently. According to the article titled “​​Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Bad Idea, Right?’ Lyrics Are All About Hooking Up With an Ex-Boyfriend” on, “She explained that ‘’Bad Idea, Right?’ started with us making a joke song about me hooking up with an ex-boyfriend, but then we realized we were actually onto something. We were throwing the weirdest things at the wall—in one of the choruses there’s a part that sounds like an instrument in the background, but it’s me gradually screaming louder and louder.’” Although she argues that the song is a general breakup song, her debut song from the album would claim that the song is targeted for the now twenty-seven year old DJ, Zack Bia. 

The album kicks off with the song “vampire” which was released on June 30, around two months before the rest of the album was released. In the first verse of the song, she sings “how’s the castle built off people you pretend to care about”. It could be assumed that Rodrigo is  referencing Bia’s rise to popularity after he gained notoriety in being the ex-boyfriend of pop star, Madison Beer. 

Rodrigo also mentions another castle in her song, “logical.” This song is one of the few slower songs on the album, and the lyrics are more tragic as opposed to the angry approach she has taken in other songs. The song says, “You built a giant castle; with walls so high I couldn’t see.” She again mentions castles in her songs, referencing how Bia has a reputation for getting into clubs. This is also mentioned in Rodrigo’s song “get him back,” when she sings, “Another song, another club, another bar, another dance; And when hе said something wrong, he’d just fly me to France,” hinting at the idea that Zack Bia’s name is one that people worldwide seem to bend for. 

The young star comes for Bia again in “vampire” by saying, “I should have known it was strange, you only come out at night.” It seems as though the short-lived couple had gone out to parties and clubs, and it seems to be that it was the only time that Bia would be publicly seen with Olivia despite her previous relationships. 

However, where “Sour” had a primary focus on her apparent break up with Joshua Bassett, “Guts” has more diversified tracks that are perfect to scream your heart out after a breakup. It also has songs like “teenage dream,” “lacy”, and “pretty isn’t pretty” where the focus is on what it is like to be a teenager in today’s society. 

The song “making the bed” seems to bridge the breakup album and Rodrigo’s insecurities. In this song, Rodrigo faults herself and her actions, but also there’s a lyric that says “they tell me that they love me like I’m some tourist attraction”. The lyric could be alluding to Bia again due to the fact that it seems that he prefers to date girls in the spotlight and dump them after he gets what he wants. 

There is so much more that can be said of Rodrigo’s sophomore album, but for right now, I will conclude by ranking the album based on the songs I like from best to worst. 

  1. vampire
  2. love is embarrassing
  3. the grudge
  4. logical
  5. get him back!
  6. ballad of a homeschooled girl
  7. bad idea right?
  8. all-american bitch
  9. making the bed
  10. pretty isn’t pretty
  11. teenage dream
  12. lacy
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