MUSICJune 14, 2021

SOUR: A Review of Olivia Rodrigo's New Album

Filipina-American music sensation Olivia Rodrigo drops emotional new album, SOUR.

You said forever, now I drive alone past your street. These heartbreaking lyrics from Olivia Rodrigo's hit debut single "driver's license" have been all over the radio, social media, even on Saturday Night Live. The actress, known for being in Disney's Bizaardvark and High School Musical: the Musical: the Series (HSMTMTS), released two more bangers, "deja vu" and "good 4 u", in the weeks after "driver's license" came out and did not disappoint. Finally, she her dropped her much-anticipated album on May 21.

Teen Vogue / teenvogue.com

For anyone who missed the drama, part of the huge success of "driver's license" was the speculated relationship between Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett, her HSMTMTS co-star. The two played a couple in the show, and fans began to suspect they dated in real life as well- that is, until Joshua allegedly cheated on her with fellow Disney actress Sabrina Carpenter. That's what most of SOUR is about: each track taking listeners though her emotions of being in love and facing heartbreak.

Track 1: "brutal"

She starts her album off with a headbanger that has a strong rock beat and lyrics that you have no choice but to scream along to. It's about being angry at the selling of a "teenage dream" when she is very stressed out and straight up not having a good time. Some have compared this track to the band Paramore with its upbeat expression of angst. A couple lyrics fans particularly like from this song is "I'm not cool and I'm not smart and I can't even parallel park" (relatable content!) and "I'm so tired that I might quit my job, start a new life and they'd all be so disappointed 'cause who am I, if not exploited?" (comrade Olivia!)

Track 2: "traitor"

Her second song is very likely about Joshua and his unfaithfulness in their relationship. Part of the drama surrounding the two was that he technically didn't cheat on her, but said he would wait for her to turn 18 to officially date (not Joshua tryna catch a case right now...) but he didn't and started dating Sabrina. So she explicitly says in this song, "guess you didn't cheat, but you're still a traitor." So true, Olivia. The melody is pretty ballad-like in a way where you should listen to it in the car dramatically looking out with the windows rolled down.

Track 3: "driver's license"

Billboard / billboard.com

Of course, everyone knows this banger. It jumpstarted her career and soared to the top of the charts, rightfully so as its heartbreaking lyrics and beautiful melody make a top-tier musical experience for the listener. It's very popular for many reasons, from the drama attached to it to Olivia's vocals, and especially for how amazing the bridge of the song is.

Track 4: "1 step forward, 3 steps back"

This song is one of many on the album that will make you tear up. She recounts the ebb and flow of her past relationship, singing "I'm the love of your life until I make you mad" and saying how the love she felt made the pain of the relationships worth it, though in the long run they were not having any healthy growth together. The whole song is backed by gentle piano and she sings in a soft voice, making it sound like she is sad, yet accepting and not angry, about the whole situation.

Track 5: "deja vu"

People / people.com

"deja vu" was Olivia's second lead single from her album, and showed to fans that "driver's license" was not a one-hit wonder. This song is more aggressive than driver's license, exchanging piano for strong bass and lyrics about woefully missing her ex to ridiculing him for doing all the same things they used to with his new girl. The situation with Sabrina also becomes more explicit; while "driver's license" had a line alluding to "you're probably with that blonde girl", "deja vu" takes it a step up by casting a girl in the music video who is basically twins with Sabrina Carpenter and films her copying all the things Olivia does. Quite spicy!

Track 6: "good 4 u"

udiscovermusic / udiscovermusic.com

"good 4 u" was her third lead single, released just one week before SOUR. Once it came out, fans became even more excited for the album because of how hard the song went. It is very pop punk and was also compared to Paramore songs, with fast-paced rock guitar throughout. It's super energetic and makes you want to jump around your room screaming your lungs out to the lyrics. It's about her ex doing great while she, well, isn't and she's angry about that (rightfully so!) One of the most gripping part of the songs comes in the last chorus where she goes "good 4 u, you're doing great out there without me, baby, like a damn SOCIOPATH!" (all caps to emphasize you have to scream that part of the song.)The music video has a teen movie concept to it, with a grainy film filter and direct allusions to scenes from the movie Jennifer's Body and outfits from Princess Diaries. Her coming-of-age film serve!

Track 7: "enough for you"

Vulture / vulture.com

Uh-oh, grab the tissues. Following two of her more upbeat songs in the album, "enough for you" is an acoustic song that will absolutely break your heart (well, it broke mine at least.) She released a live video of her performing it on the night SOUR dropped, and you can just feel the sorrow in her voice. It talks about her always doing her best to satisfy her boyfriend, but after everything she did he still made her feel inadequate. This feeling was driven home by him leaving her for a new, more 'interesting' girl and making her think it was somehow her fault (cue lyrics: "You say I'm never satisfied but that's not me it's you,'cause all I ever wanted was to be enough, but I don't think anything could ever be enough") Okay, time for the next track before I start sobbing.

Track 8: "happier"

On a scale of 'i hate you i hope you're doing horrible' to 'i love you i miss you so much', this song is pretty much a happy middle. Its main message is "I hope you're happy, but don't be happier." She still feels love for her ex in a way where she wants him to be happy even if she's no longer the source of his happiness, but only to an extent- she still does not want to be happier than when they were together. The melody of this song is slower and makes you feel like swaying your arms in the wind.

Track 9: "jealousy, jealousy"

With Instagram culture always demanding a perfect body and perfect friends, this song expresses the frustrations in wanting to live up to that beauty standard but being unable to. Personally, I find that Olivia Rodrigo actually does fulfill a lot of these standards (being skinny, conventionally pretty, etc.) but I'm not one to tell her she can't feel insecure. Also, since a lot of influencers are white and with previous songs mentioning her insecurities perpetuated by her pats relationship, a big message of her album is essentially summed up in this tweet:

Track 10: "favorite crime"

As beautiful as this song is, initially it rubbed me the wrong way. A lot fo the album is presumably about Joshua Bassett, and they presumably dated while she was a minor and he was not- which is technically a crime. So its lyrics "all the things you did, well I hope I was your favorite crime" is a bit uncomfortable. But, it's likely a metaphor that they both did things that were wrong in their relationship but they had fun together and she hopes she still means that much to him. This is another slower, emotional song where you can feeeeel the longing in her voice as she sings, and the arrangements in the final chorus are quite heavenly.

Track 11: "hope ur ok"

She finishes out the album with this endearing track, where she recounts the stories of people she's met in her life and admires for being so strong in the face of abusive and unaccepting parents. The verses communicate these stories, while the chorus sings "I hope you know how proud I am you were created, with the courage to unlearn all of their hatred." It has a sweet and soft guitar backing to match its wholesome lyrics, and might make you cry but in a happy way. Fans also love how she ends the album with a song that is not about her relationship with Joshua Bassett. At the end of the song, a sound plays that resembles a car turning off, symbolizing the closure she's gotten since "driver's license."

Overall, her album conveys all of the hurt, love, anger, and sorrow that comes after a breakup. It has a good variety of ballads and upbeat songs that all showcase her amazing vocals and musical talent, and all her fans can not wait for what more she has in store.

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