Fans Theorize That Olivia Rodrigo's "The Grudge" Lyrics Are About Taylor Swift

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Happy GUTS Day to those who celebrate—aka teenagers and teenagers in their twenties who just need to feel things. Olivia Rodrigo's second album continues the emotional journey she embarked on as she released her record-breaking single, "Drivers License," nearly two years ago. The Grammy winner was met with praise from pretty much everyone—including her lifelong idol, Taylor Swift.

As GUTS hit streaming services on September 8, fans were quick to dive deep into the lyrics on the album, from "Vampire" to "Logical." But once they made it to track 10 on the album, theories began swirling that "The Grudge" may allude to the alleged feud between Olivia and Taylor (which, to be fair, may not even be real in the first place). Of course, they shared their thoughts on the internet, as stans do:

To process your emotions and wear your heart on your sleeve—only to have the entire world question who or what you're thinking about at that vulnerable moment—takes guts. And that's probably the reason why "The Grudge" landed on Olivia's follow-up to Sour.

Find our full lyric breakdown of Olivia Rodrigo's "The Grudge" below.

Lyrics provided by Genius

[Verse 1]
I have nightmares each week 'bout that Friday in May
One phone call from you and my entire world was changed
Trust that you betrayed, confusion that still lingers
Took everything I loved and crushed it in between your fingers
And I doubt you ever think about the damage that you did
But I hold onto every detail like my life depends on it
My undying love, now I hold it like a grudge
And I hear your voice every time that I think I'm not enough

Olivia opens up the song by painting a vivid picture of nightmares she started having after a life-altering phone call.

Before the release of her debut album Sour in May 2021, she attended the BRIT Awards to perform "Drivers License" and ended up meeting Taylor Swift IRL backstage. Olivia had been vocal about her Swiftie status in the early days of her career as she posted videos singing along to Taylor tracks in her car and even promoted Fearless (Taylor's Version) with Conan Gray. The love and respect were totally visible, and Liv was even gifted a ring that Taylor wore while she wrote Red.

In July 2021, reports surfaced that songwriting credits on Olivia's track "Deja Vu" were given to Taylor, Jack Antonoff, and St. Vincent as she revealed the song was inspired by Lover's "Cruel Summer."

"It's one of my favorite songs ever. I love like the yelly vocals in it, like the harmonized yells that she does, I think they're like super electric and moving, so I wanted to do something like that," Olivia told Rolling Stone at the time. Since then, she has split 50 percent of the royalties on the smash hit with Taylor, Jack, and St. Vincent, potentially losing out on millions of dollars.

And I try to be tough, but I wanna scream
How could anybody do the things you did so easily?
And I say I don't care, I say that I'm fine
But you know I can't let it go, I've tried, I've tried, I've tried for so long
It takes strength to forgive, but I don't feel strong

If the song really is about the situation outlined above, then it makes sense that a young artist would feel betrayed by an industry vet she's admired for a long time. In the chorus of "The Grudge," Olivia admits she doesn't feel strong enough to let go and forgive the person who betrayed her "so easily."

During an interview with The Guardian ahead of her second album's release, Olivia was straight-up asked about an random theory that "Vampire" was written about Taylor. She responded, "How do I answer this?" before adding, "I mean, I never want to say who any of my songs are about. I've never done that before in my career and probably won't. I think it's better to not pigeonhole a song to being about this one thing."

She then revealed she "was very surprised when people thought that" her lead single was tied to the "Karma" singer– especially because they were openly supportive of each other at the start of Olivia's music career in 2021.

[Verse 2]
The arguments that I've won against you in my head
In the shower, in the car and in the mirror before bed
Yeah, I'm so tough when I'm alone and I make you feel so guilty
And I fantasize about a time you're a little fuckin' sorry
And I try to understand why you would do this all to me
You must be insecure, you must be so unhappy
And I know, in my heart, hurt people hurt people
And we both drew blood, but, man, those cuts were never equal

When someone loses your trust, it's easy to think about how different things could be if scenarios panned out differently. The second verse taps into the fantasy of winning a fight with someone—don't scoff at me, we've all been there. 👀 The final line leading into the chorus packs a punch as Olivia accepts responsibility for her own wrongdoings and says the "cuts were never equal."


Ooh, do you think I deserved it all?
Ooh, your flower's filled with vitriol
You built me up to watch me fall
You have everything and you still want more

One thing about this bridge is that it seriously stings. As it potentially ties back to her budding relationship with Taylor, the flower line can allude to how the Midnights singer gave Olivia her flowers upon the release of "Drivers License."

In case you don't know, I'll save you the Google search: Vitriol can mean one of two things. Olivia likely intended for it to have a double meaning here, as vitriol can be "bitter" criticism or (quite literally) sulfuric acid.


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