It’s hard not to think about Taylor Swift while listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts. No, I’m not talking about those falling-out rumors — it’s the bridges. Since her 2021 debut single, “drivers license,” it’s been clear that Rodrigo studied bridge design at the Taylor Swift School of Architecture, from a musician who’s been known to take her songs “to bridge city.” Some of the best moments on Sour came after the second chorus, like Rodrigo eviscerating exes on “Good 4 U” and “Traitor.”
Now, on Guts, the student is quickly becoming a master herself. Rodrigo, like the former theater kid she is, knows the dramatic value of a third-act twist and deploys them expertly throughout the album. Not all of the songs have proper bridges, but the ones that are there are some of the album’s emotional peaks, on ballads like “Logical” and thrashers like “All-American Bitch” alike. So I’ve ranked them, from the tamer ones to the ones that will have you screaming, crying, and maybe even throwing up after a punch to the gut.
“Pretty Isn’t Pretty”
Making a shoegazey rocker the penultimate track of your album is a swerve, but Rodrigo’s lyrics about beauty standards on “Pretty Isn’t Pretty” feel more predictable than the rest of her album. Even if the bridge is sharper than the rest of the song, it still can’t break out of that.
Line to scream: “I chased some dumb ideal my whole fuckin’ life.”
“Love Is Embarrassing”
It’s fun to hear Rodrigo raise her voice to a squeal in this bridge, but it’s more functional than anything — just to get you back to the chorus, where the real juicy lines are.
Line to scream: “I give up, give up, I give up everything.”
There are so many choice lines throughout this song — Rodrigo sings about “perfect all-American hips” and compares her luck to the Kennedys — that the bridge is nowhere near the best part. But hey, Rodrigo’s guttural scream at the end is the perfect kickoff to this album.
Line to scream: “Like ‘Ahhhhh!’” — as in, the line that she literally screams.
By this point in the song, Rodrigo sounds on the verge of tears, like one more word from the ex she’s addressing could crumple her (and the rest of us). It’s a short and simple bridge, but it’s all the song needs. Bonus points for rhyming “vitriol.”
Line to scream: “You have everything, but you still want more.”
What a fakeout — things seem pretty gentle until about halfway through this bridge when the whole band comes crashing in. It’s quite the fireworks show for the album’s grand finale.
Line to scream: “They all say that it gets better, it gets better / But what if I don’t,” after the full-band breakdown.
“Get Him Back!”
Because come on, who hasn’t wanted to key someone’s car and then make him lunch? Oh wait, you mean that’s not a normal feeling in a breakup? Don’t tell Rodrigo, who sounds so ambivalent that it hurts here — and could get you drafting a text to that ex.
Line to scream: “I wanna meet his mom / Just to tell her her son sucks.”
A pair of teens standing in front of me at the Eras tour started to lose their voices less than an hour into the show, but not even that could stop them from screaming “Don’t call me kid! Don’t call me baby!” at the top of their lungs when Swift played “Illicit Affairs” later into the night. I can guarantee they’ll be yelling this one even louder when Rodrigo takes Guts on the road.
Line to scream: “Said I was too young, I was too soft / Can’t take a joke, can’t get you off.”
The bridge of “Vampire” is set to a chase scene in the music video — a perfect choice because that’s exactly how high-stakes this moment of the song sounds. (Aside from Swift, it reminds me of Florence Welch, another master of high drama.) It’s hard to believe anything can cut deeper than that “bloodsucker / fame-fucker” hook, until the piano picks up and Rodrigo starts really spilling her guts about this manipulative ex. It’s the most devastating, amazing 20 seconds of music I’ve heard this year.
Line to scream: “You can’t love anyone ’cause that would mean you had a heart.”