Honest and cathartic or childish and brash? Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album SOUR says we don’t have to pick. What seems like overnight stardom has been brewing for a while now, Rodrigo has been dropping heartbreak ballads for teenagers everywhere to resonate with since 2019 when ‘All I Want’, a song from High School Musical the Musical the Series dropped. Emblematic of sweeter times and bitter realities, SOUR solidifies Rodrigo’s place in pop music and it’s only her debut. Citing inspirations like Taylor Swift, St. Vincent, and Lorde, Rodrigo walks in the footsteps of the women who came before while blazing a new age path that says there is room for lots of girlies at the top.
Though catharsis in nature and genuine, it’s clear through the melodrama that this album is the brainchild of a young adult. It’s immature and toes the line between edgy and corny carefully. It passes because it’s tasteful and well done. Produced by Dan Nigro (Carly Rae Jepsen, Kimbra, Sky Ferreira) it appears Rodrigo is in good hands.
The record is 11 tracks, 34 minutes of incredibly insightful words and meticulous melodies showcasing Rodrigo’s absolute versatility. The singles ‘drivers license’, ‘deja vu’, and ‘good 4 u’ set this album up like the smackdown of the century (good 4 u). However, listening to each track reveals such deeper pain in losing a love (traitor). Each track moves like a stage of grief. Recalling the epic highs (drivers license) and depicting the lowest lows (1 step forward, 3 steps back) of being 17 and letting someone know you long enough to hurt you in a significant way. After all, nothing bruises like a teenage ego (brutal). Reckoning with feeling inadequate (enough for you) and yet, finding your strength through the rubble which is arguably the best and most dramatic part of learning that some people do not always have as kind or caring of a heart as you do. In turn, all we can do is continue to move forward with light and grace (hope ur ok). How did Rodrigo capture teenage angst and feelings most adults can’t verbalize and seal it in an album? SOUR is 100% a work of art and Olivia Rodrigo’s potential is bursting at the seams.