Olivia Rodrigo finally released her highly anticipated sophomore album GUTS, and she did not disappoint! The album begins with the song “All-American Bitch,” and has a very impactful meaning — the perfect kickstarter to the perfect album.
“I’m most proud of the first track,” Olivia told Bru on the Radio of the song. “It’s a concept that I’ve been trying to write for a really long time, and I think it’s really musically interesting too. I think it’s one of my best songs.”
Keep reading for our lyric breakdown, and the meaning behind the song’s title.
What Is Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘All-American Bitch’ About? Lyric Breakdown
“All-American Bitch” is a song about Olivia’s confused feelings of fitting into the tight societal standards of being a woman.
The former Disney channel star begins the song with describing herself as the impossible idealized woman, “I am light as a feather, I’m as stiff as a board. I pay attention to things that most people ignore,” she sings, before screaming it out in the chorus. “Forgive and I forget. I know my age and I act like it. Got what you can’t resist. I’m a perfect all-American.”
The last verse has Olivia crooning over how “grateful” she is, expressing her frustration on feeling like she has to explain why she deserves her success, and overly expressing her gratitude to society. “I’m grateful all the time,” she sings. “I’m sexy and I’m kind. I’m pretty when I cry.”
During her conversation with Phoebe Bridgers for Interview Magazine, Olivia revealed the phrase “all American bitch” was inspired from a quote in Joan Didion’s book published in 1979, The White Album.
“[Joan Didion] has so many f–king great quotes,” she began, explaining that she reached a part of the biography where the author goes to visit “hippies” in San Francisco. “She was talking to some hippie who ran away from home and he called his mom an all-American bitch. And I was like, ‘That’s the f–king coolest phrase I’ve ever heard,’ so I had to write a song about it.”
While the phrase “all American bitch” is inspired by the term she read in a book, Olivia went more into depth on what the song actually means during an interview with the Guardian in September 2023.
“I’ve experienced a lot of emotional turmoil over having all these feelings of rage and dissatisfaction that I felt like I couldn’t express, especially in my job,” she told Guardian of the song’s meaning. “I’ve always felt like: you can never admit it, be so grateful all the time, so many people want this position. And that causes a lot of repressed feelings. I’ve always struggled with wanting to be this perfect American girl and the reality of not feeling like that all the time.”