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Pitchfork’s BEST NEW MUSIC: “bad idea right?”
August 11, 2023 -  34 

The second single from GUTS is hammy, blasé, and brilliant.

Olivia Rodrigo is a masterful chronicler of pivotal “firsts”: first love, first heartbreak, first time you heard Uptown Girl. On bad idea right? the second single from her forthcoming album, GUTS, she explores an equally significant moment in any young person’s life: first backslide. Wry and motormouthed, it adds some waggish comedy into Rodrigo’s music, the seed of wounded irony planted on the Sour track brutal sprouting into hammy, blasé brilliance.

Were the person performing bad idea right? even slightly less committed to the bit, it likely wouldn’t have worked. But Rodrigo, a capital–P Performer, barrels into the song with profound commitment to playing the role of sloppy main character. Chattering over the song’s strutting bassline, Rodrigo narrates her decision to link up with an ex–boyfriend like she’s relaying the information in real time:

I’m out right now and I’m all fucked up
And you’re callin’ my phone and you’re all alone
And I’m sensing some undertone!

Aesthetically, the track exists miles away from vampire, GUTS‘ soaring and bitter first single. But there’s still a thread of musical theater in there: bad idea right? manages to recall the narrative punk of Drama Queen (That Girl), the centerpiece of the early–aughts Lindsay Lohan teen musical Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and draws from the squared–off new wave synths of the Cars, as well as Weezer’s chunky pop–rock. The glue holding this genre Frankenstein together is Rodrigo, whose cheekily feigned innocence (“I just tripped and fell into his bed!”) provides one of the best pop performances of the year.

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