Featured Photo Credit: Larissa Hofmann
After much anticipation, Olivia Rodrigo returns with her new single “vampire.” Rodrigo’s lead single off of her upcoming sophomore album is emotionally raw yet extravagantly composed, more intense than her lead single off of her debut, “Drivers License.” Rodrigo is aching from a past love in this powerful single, feeling like she was used for her fame, which sadly is common in the entertainment industry. Some lyrics Rodrigo sings, “bloodsucker, famefucker, bleeding me dry like a goddamn vampire,” shows her more mature side, allowing her to get a little more messy with lyrics, as she put it in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple.
Produced by and co-written with Daniel Nigro (also Rodrigo’s main creative partner on SOUR), “vampire” marks a departure from the dreamy minimalism of past hits like her 5x Platinum breakthrough single “driver’s license.” To that end, “vampire” begins with a hushed intensity before bursting into a larger-than-life epic built on pulse-pounding drumbeats and magnificently frantic piano work. As the track takes on a wild velocity, Rodrigo reveals her newly heightened sophistication as a vocalist and lyricist, spinning a tale of the kind of toxic romance that drains your very life force.
“I was upset about a certain situation and went to the studio alone and sat down at the grand piano, and the chords and melody and lyrics just poured out of me — almost like an out-of-body experience,” she recalls. “It’s a song about feeling confused and hurt, and at first, I thought it was meant to be a piano ballad. But when Dan and I started working on it, we juxtaposed the lyrics with these big drums and crazy tempo changes. So now it’s like a heartbreak song you can dance to.”
Partly written at the legendary Electric Lady Studios in New York City, GUTS mostly came to life in Nigro’s garage studio in Los Angeles. Although each song intensifies the emotional honesty that’s always imbued her storytelling, the album ultimately finds Rodrigo expanding her expressive palette and uncovering entirely new dimensions of her artistry.
“When I was making SOUR I was so new to the process and also so heartbroken; I’d just sit at the piano for hours and feel overcome with things I needed to express,” says Rodrigo. “But this album was much more about focusing on the craft of songwriting, which sometimes meant not taking myself so seriously and getting a little more tongue-in-cheek with my lyrics. We experimented so much with different approaches to writing and ended up with something that’s much more rock-influenced than anything I’ve done before.”
Watch the music video for “vampire” now!