You don’t need to have been homeschooled to connect with sentiments of social anxiety and self-loathing within “Ballad Of A Homeschooled Girl” from Olivia Rodrigo’s impressive sophomore album, Guts. But Rodrigo is nothing if not Gen Z’s predominant pop-punk auteur, writing from writhing personal experience.
“I am a homeschool kid, so I’m so used to being in my house on my laptop, but with my parents,” Rodrigo told Glamour UK in May 2020 when asked about the COVID-19 lockdown. “So I’ve kind of been preparing for this moment for a while, and I feel very fortunate to be able to say that I’m in a really good place. My screen time on my phone is just horrendous. It’s awful the amount of time that I spend on there, but I have been pretty productive. I am catching up on schoolwork, and I challenged myself before the quarantine started to write a song every day of the quarantine, and I haven’t missed a day yet. They’re not always great, but I think that’s a fun, creative challenge that I’ve been doing.”
Later in the same interview, Rodrigo drew a parallel between her homeschooling and filming Disney’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, saying (in part), “I always say that I never had a normal high school experience. I’ve always been homeschooled because I’ve been working. So this is kind of like my high school experience, and these are my high school best friends. It’s an experience that I’m going to remember forever.”
Guts arrived last Friday, September 8, but her fans are seasoned veterans at sleuthing for traces of real life in her songs — dating back to her unprecedented January 2021 debut single “Drivers License” and continuing with Guts tracks “Vampire,” “Bad Idea Right?,” and “The Grudge.”