If you’ve been anywhere on the internet in the past week or so, you’ve definitely heard that Olivia Rodrigo recently dropped her debut album, SOUR. After the success of her three singles, driver’s license, deja vu, and good 4 u, everyone was waiting to see if Rodrigo could continue her unbroken streak of musical genius. Honestly, to say that she delivered would be the understatement of the year. SOUR broke records, topped charts, dominated social media, and has rightfully been acclaimed by critics and the public alike. At just 18 years old, Rodrigo has proven through SOUR that she will undoubtedly become one of music’s biggest names in no time.
Thanks to her pen from the songwriting heavens itself and her voice gifted by the angels that occupy it, Rodrigo skillfully crafted a cohesive album that illustrates modern-day teenagerhood in all of its glory.
To start off, songs like jealousy, jealousy provide an authentic representation of teens living in an age of constant comparison and competition because of social media. In fact, the concept of self worth is a prominent theme throughout SOUR, as Rodrigo explores how relationships can negatively affect it in tracks like enough for you and favorite crime. She illustrates how loving someone can often come at the cost of your own self love, an experience that far too many of us are familiar with.
Hard hitting and heartfelt ballads like 1 step forward, 3 steps back, happier, drivers license, and traitor are painful to listen to in the best way possible. Rodrigo’s lyrics show that sometimes less is more; her opaque honesty about the anguish of heartbreak hitting us right where it hurts. Brutally honest lines like “I’m the love of your life ‘till I make you mad,” spare no prisoners and show the harsh reality of toxic relationships without any sugar coating. The lack of hyperbolization in her words makes the impact all the more powerful, showing how simple truths can be the sharpest swords.
Additionally, Rodrigo’s ability to fill her voice to the brim with raw emotion is the icing on the musical cake. Her vocals accompanied with the products of her anguish inducing pen, are enough to make you ache at the core. She’s able to skillfully transform the entirety of her inner woes into euphonious harmonies, pulling at our heartstrings one high note at a time. With this talent, Rodrigo’s able to not only remind of us our sorrows through song, but make us feel hers as well. Frankly, even if you’ve never endured any kind of heartbreak first hand, this album will make you feel like you’ve been divorced twice and lost custody of your kids.
Rodrigo also proves herself to be more than a one trick melancholic pony and shows us that sad songs aren’t all she has to offer. She channels a little early Paramore and 2000’s pop punk in songs like brutal and good 4 u, which encapsulates the full unadulterated nitty, gritty edginess of a teenage girl. deja vu, accompanied with the aforementioned tracks, complete the holy trinity of the album’s perfect songs for impromptu dance parties. They’re perfect for grabbing your hairbrush as a makeshift microphone and lip-syncing your heart out in the comfort of your room, as all the cool kids in all of our beloved coming of age movies do.
Finally, the album closes with a nostalgic note to former figures in Rodrigo’s life with hope ur ok. Although Rodrigo does sing about specific individuals in this song, hope ur ok is a fitting finish to an album all about heartbreak and hurt as it serves as a comforting ode to all those affected by life’s adversities. It is literally the musical embodiment of the feeling you get when you encase yourself in the comforting embrace of a loved one after an arduous day. “Nothing’s forever,” Rodrigo sings in the bridge, reminding us that although you’ll go all the trials and tribulations that come with being a teeenager, eventually, you’ll be okay.
Despite my humble opinion that SOUR is album of the year, there are some that find fault with it, as they perceive the album to be somewhat juvenile. Funnily enough, though, they’re right. SOUR is in fact, a bit juvenile. It’s juvenile, messy, immature, emotional, just like a teenage girl, which is why I love it so much. SOUR perfectly showcases all the insecurity, naivety, bitterness, longing, dreaming, all of the ups and downs of this rollercoaster that we call adolescence. It perfectly delineates all the complexities of being young and being a girl, without painting our experiences and emotions as something negative.
SOUR is more than just an album; It’s also a letter from one teenage girl to another. It’s addressed to all of us and in it, Rodrigo validates all of our experiences, letting us know that we’re not alone in our plight to navigate the craziness of our teen years.