Olivia Rodrigo’s musical career quickly rose to fame back in early 2021, when she released her massively popular single, “driver’s license.” However, before the release of the single, the artist was no stranger to the limelight as she starred in Disney Channel shows such as “Bizaardvark” and more famously, “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” Following the release and success of “driver’s license,” Rodrigo would release two more singles, “deja vu” and “good 4 u.” These singles would lead to the release of the singer’s debut album, “SOUR.” The album was a huge commercial success for Rodrigo, especially with the wide praise for the singer’s vocals, lyrics and instrumentals. However, since its release in 2021, the singer had not released any new music, building anticipation for fans.

When Rodrigo announced her single “Vampire,” fans were ecstatic to be getting new music from the Grammy Award winner. With the amount of popularity her songs received in the past, it was no surprise how highly anticipated this single was. On June 30, Rodrigo’s lead single for her sophomore album, “Guts” was released alongside a new music video.

“Vampire” starts off with slow piano instrumentals that match the sad ballad lyrics Rodrigo sings. In the first verse, she softly sings “I loved you truly / You gotta laugh at the stupidity,” demonstrating how she is finding amusement in how much love she gave, only to deal with pain and heartbreak after. In the way that Rodrigo sings it, listeners can feel the bitterness and resentment harbored by the artist as she hashes out how foolishly she felt over the hurt and mistakes she made.

The instrumentals start to swell as it gets closer to the chorus, introducing an electric guitar into the mix. This is reflected in the lyrics as she belts out how she feels about the person taking advantage of her and her love. The emotions are felt more intensely in the chorus, especially with the raw way she sings. The build-up emphasizes the overwhelming feelings that she has, especially as she looks back over the person’s treatment of her. At the height of the chorus, she belts out “Bloodsucker, fame f*cker / Bleedin’ me dry like a goddamn vampire.” This demonstrates how drained out Rodrigo felt from the relationship, symbolizing her past lover as a vampire, sucking everything out of her. The difference from the soft beginning to the more intense chorus helps to highlight the tone of the song as she focuses more on the anger and betrayal she feels.

By the second verse, the song continues with a faster and more intense tone that starts shifting in the chorus. This type of build-up has been shown before in Rodrigo’s past music, as it portrays the different music sides she can employ. That style of music progression is one of the factors that makes her music so unique. While the song still maintains its ballad feel, it brings up the musical tone to convey the more intense feeling that she sings about. The second verse shows the more toxic and manipulative effects that her former partner had on her. The intensity of the verse allows listeners to sympathize with the difficulty of letting a toxic relationship go despite the warnings and red flags. 

In the last choruses and bridge of the song, the tempo builds up even more, as it adds in drums further intensifying the song. The listener can feel the frustration of Rodrigo as she addresses her past lover’s actions and how the relationship would have never worked out. In the last moments of the bridge, she sings, “I tried to help you out, now I know that I can’t / ‘Cause how you think’s the kind of thing I’ll never understand.” It is a pivotal moment in the song, as it shows how she not only accepts how he is but also her limitations and boundaries. 

Alongside the release of the song came the music video, directed by Petra Collins, who was also responsible for Rodrigo’s past music videos. The music video matched perfectly with the song, demonstrating a different side to the song, as she focuses more on the toxic impact of the pressures and exploitation of fame. At the beginning of the video, she is seen singing a soft ballad at an awards ceremony. When the song hits the moment of its shift to the faster tempo, things on stage start crashing down on her and she begins bleeding. Despite this, she continues smiling throughout her performance, demonstrating the pressure to put on a happy facade. As the song builds even further, she then gets chased away by the paparazzi in a chaotic frenzy. The music video demonstrates how drained and exhausted the music industry can be, especially for a young artist like Rodrigo. 

Verdict: With the beautiful music progression, deep lyrics and powerful vocals, the pop-rock artist delivered yet another song to listen to on repeat. Rodrigo’s “Vampire” shows promise as she begins a new musical era.