The Bloodsucking Meaning Behind the Olivia Rodrigo’s 2023 Hit “Vampire”

I used to think I was smart / But you made me look so naive / The way you sold me for parts / As you sunk your teeth into me seethes Olivia Rodrigo in her 2023 hit “Vampire.” Co-written with producer Dan Nigro, “Vampire” is a brooding ballad of regrets and boiled-up resentment. The lead single from Rodrigo’s second album Guts, “Vampire” ultimately helped her work through those exact emotions.

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“Writing this song helped me sort through lots of feelings of regret, anger, and heartache,” shared Rodrigo on Instagram when releasing “Vampire” in June of 2023. “It’s one of my favorite songs on the album and it felt very cathartic to finish. … I hope it helps u deal with any bloodsuckers in your life.”

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The Meaning—and the Bloodsucker

If one’s guard is down, there’s always someone ready to take advantage and take a bite out of you. “Vampire” calls out the fakes, the users, and the “bloodsucker” she’s encountered along the way, who tried to bleed her dry.

Hate to give the satisfaction, asking how you’re doing now
How’s the castle built off people you pretend to care about?
Just what you wanted
Look at you, cool guy, you got it

I see the parties and the diamonds sometimes when I close my eyes
Six months of torture you sold as some forbidden paradise
I loved you truly
Gotta laugh at the stupidity

‘Cause I’ve made some real big mistakes
But you make the worst one look fine
I should’ve known it was strange
You only come out at night
I used to think I was smart
But you made me look so naive
The way you sold me for parts
As you sunk your teeth into me, oh
Bloodsucker, famefucker
Bleedin’ me dry, like a goddamn vampire

Further into the lyrics, she recognizes the warning signs and her negligence of them.

And every girl I ever talked to told me you were bad, bad news
You called them crazy, God, I hate the way I called them crazy too
You’re so convincing
How do you lie without flinching? (How do you lie, how do you lie, how do you lie?)

Ooh, what a mesmerizing, paralyzing, fucked-up little thrill
Can’t figure out just how you do it, and God knows I never will
Went for me, and not her
‘Cause girls your age know better

A “Clean Version

Shortly after its release, Rodrigo played around with several “clean” edits of “Vampire” that would be more radio-friendly and share them in a TikTok video.

Replacing some of the original chorus of Bloodsucker, fame fucker / Bleedin’ me dry like a goddamn vampire, in the TikTok video Rodrigo and Nigro are laughing through alternate phrasing or fame fucker, including “Mark Zucker,” “tree hugger,” “garlic butter,” and “whale blubber” before landing on “dream crusher.”

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No. 1

Rodrigo’s first solo single since releasing Sour in 2021, “Vampire” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and picked up three 2024 Grammy nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance.

Guts also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and topped the Top Rock Album and Top Alternative Albums charts. It also went to No. 1 in several countries, including the UK.

“For me, this album is about growing pains and trying to figure out who I am at this point in my life,” shared Rodrigo on Guts in a previous statement. “I feel like I grew 10 years between the ages of 18 and 20—it was such an intense period of awkwardness and change. I think that’s all just a natural part of growth, and hopefully, the album reflects that.”

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV

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