Olivia Rodrigo is a skillful chronicler of significant “firsts”: initial romance, inaugural heartbreak, the primary encounter with “Uptown Girl.” In “Bad Idea Right?,” the second release from her upcoming album, Guts, she delves into an equally pivotal moment in the life of any young individual: the first regression. Displaying a sardonic and loquacious style, the song injects a humorous touch into Rodrigo’s music, with the seed of wounded irony planted on the Sour track “Brutal” blossoming into exaggerated, nonchalant brilliance.
If the individual performing “Bad Idea Right?” were even slightly less dedicated to the role, it likely wouldn’t have succeeded. However, Rodrigo, a committed performer, charges into the song with a profound commitment to portraying the role of the messy protagonist. Chatting over the song’s confident bassline, Rodrigo narrates her decision to reconnect with an ex-boyfriend as if she’s conveying the information in real-time:
“I’m out right now and I’m all messed up/And you’re calling my phone and you’re all alone/And I’m sensing some undertone!”
Aesthetically, the track resides far from “Vampire,” Guts’ soaring and bitter initial single. However, there’s still a hint of musical theater present: “bad idea right?” manages to evoke the narrative punk of “Drama Queen (That Girl),” the focal point of the early-aughts Lindsay Lohan teen musical Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and draws inspiration from the angular new wave synths of the Cars, as well as Weezer’s robust pop-rock. The adhesive that binds this genre mishmash together is Rodrigo, whose playfully feigned innocence (“I just tripped and fell into his bed!”) delivers one of the standout pop performances of the year.