Review: Olivia Rodrigo, Sour

Finn Murphy | Student Contributor

If you haven’t heard of Olivia Rodrigo by now, then where have you been for the past 5 months? The star of ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ is already breaking out of her teenage Disney star phase with her debut album Sour. She had already treated us to 3 singles that became iconic TikTok sounds with millions of videos utilising her music for relatable and comedic content, and now she is only adding to her exceptional discography with 8 new songs.

She broke records with the release of Driver’s License in January, having the biggest first week for any song on Spotify ever, and debuting at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Rodrigo’s music was catapulted to the top of the charts due to the online buzz surrounding the meaning of song, however when she released her second single, Deja Vu, she cemented her place as an upcoming music phenomenon. Her range was only added to with the release of Good 4 U a week before the release of the album, as she showed us that she produce pop punk bangers alongside dramatic ballads.

At the age of 18, her debut album embodies feelings of teenage angst and finds nuanced definitions for a multitude of emotions that everyone can relate to in some way. Feelings of betrayal and anger define an album of love and loss, with Rodrigo expressing a need to escape her teenage years with the short opening song, Brutal, exclaiming ‘If someone tells me one more time/ ‘Enjoy your youth’, I’m gonna cry’. She takes the listener on a musical journey, leaving us feeling cathartic by the time we reach the last song, as she has been able to perfectly articulate all of the emotions that we can’t as teenagers, with tracks like Enough for you describing the effort that she put into the relationship to try and be enough, before realising that her lover is the one who is missing out: ‘And you’ll be the one who’s crying’. Whilst Olivia Rodrigo is talking about her ex here, she also expresses how fans are reacting across the world. Twitter users are expressing that there are two sides to the album, with a feeling of power and sadness in one. Many fans are comparing her music to that of her idol Taylor Swift, and the album feels like Swift’s discography mixed with the experience of being a teenager that has constantly been left out of the music industry. There used to be a fear that music about being under 18 would not be enjoyable for anyone over the age of 18, however Rodrigo’s new music has changed this perception forever. With most of these songs being written when she was only 17, you wouldn’t expect her lyrics to resonate with anyone that is older than her, but somehow she takes these teenage experiences that are usually omitted from the narrative and makes them accessible for everyone. Maybe this music is what generations have been waiting for.

The subject of each song never seems to feel repetitive, and Rodrigo draws the album to a close by pushing her perspective onto those friendships and relationships that we have lost along the way, wishing them well and stating that ‘Every door is hard to close’, but she seems to have been able to close this album flawlessly. If this is the calibre of music that Olivia Rodrigo is producing at the age of 18, then imagine what she will producing when she’s older. Sour is the teenage break-up that we have always wanted, combining poetic lyrics and the messy yet glamourous teenage life to create a musical gem. Sour really hits the sweet spot.

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