It’s hard to believe last year not many people even knew the name Olivia Rodrigo but after January of this year she became a household name overnight. “drivers license” was the key to her new life in this crazy musical spotlight and she’s taking full advantage of it. A debut album opening with a song like “brutal” is incredibly impressive. Sounding like a straight-up Bikini Kill b-side, this rebel anthem is girl punk at its finest. Rodrigo sing-speaks “I’m so sick of seventeen, where’s my f****ng teenage dream”. While this song differs from most of the tracks on the album, it fits in with the angsty feelings we hear echoed throughout.
Sour has expertly crafted production on every track. It’s easy to create a pop album, but you can tell Olivia wanted to make this one different, and boy did it pay off. Each song is unique with a variety of production elements and intricate vocal changes. Listen to how Olivia sings the chorus in “jealousy, jealousy” versus in “good 4 u” – the artistry speaks for itself. Not to mention, her alto voice has such a wide range that feels more romantic and lush everytime she holds a note.
While some songs feel more mature than others, the teenage themes cannot be avoided; lost friendships, jealousy, young love, betrayal. She could’ve made a simple cookie-cutter breakup album about hating her ex and wanting to key his car, but Sour is much more layered than that. “hope ur ok” is a touching tribute to lost friendships. Rodrigo sings, “but, God I hope that you’re happier today, cause I love you, and I hope that you’re okay”. While next single “enough for you” focuses on insecurities in a relationship, ones that can consume your mind. The piano-led “1 step forward, 3 steps back” details a toxic relationship and the ups and downs that come with it; “Do you love me, want me, hate me? Boy, I don’t understand”.
Rodrigo stated in a recent interview that she loves writing ballads more than any other type of song but knew her album needed to have more variety to it which is exactly what she did. Even the upbeat songs still evoke the exact emotion she’s feeling, whether it be anger or sadness without sounding forced or ingenuine. Hit single “deja vu” is a soft song until it builds to a powerful loud chorus playing on the idea of deja vu from an outside perspective – another mature metaphor that you can’t help but relate to.
With a debut album this authentic and flawless, it’s hard to believe Olivia is only 18 years old. She’s zooming on the fast track to a Grammy, a world tour, and a career full of success.
It’s been two years since the beachy boys of LANY lulled us to sleep with their epic alt-pop melodies. The band is back with a new single that surely lives up to their vibey brand. “Good Guys” is as romantic as it is comforting.
Lead singer, Paul Klein announced the new single on his Instagram saying “pls don’t spend ur whole life trying to do the right things for the wrong ones.” “Good Guys” defines romantic gestures in a world that often feels romantic-less; “I just wanna be the one you call, anything you need, anything at all, all I wanna do is let you in.” Klein revisits his southern upbringing mentioning he’s a “southern gentlemen”; a theme I’m sure we’ll hear more of on the upcoming album titled mama’s boy. “Guys” features the usual subdued guitar riffs that we love from LANY. The song fits right in on a sunset drive or a night on the couch with a glass of wine. Near the end of the track, Klein’s soft layered vocals sing, “so I’m gonna play it cool, til I know you want me too” in a sweet innocent tone.
Sivan’s latest music is his first solo single since his transformative album, Bloom back in 2018. “Take Yourself Home” feels new and fresh – still pop but an evolved pop with an underlying dance element.
Troye announced the emotional release of “Home” on his Instagram saying, “this was a really scary moment for me – being this honest w myself about my happiness and my life and the way all the pieces fit together, or don’t 🥴 just like a moment of dude..what r u doing. this isn’t working anymore. go home. go be w ur family.dance. write music. be w ur friends who have known u since u were 2. reevaluate. hope you like it and it brings you some of the joy and relief it brought me during these crazy times.”
“Take Yourself Home” has strong themes of escape and clarity. Troye sings deeply on the verses, “Talk to me / There’s nothing that can’t be fixed with some honesty / And how it got this dark is just beyond to me / If anyone can hear me, switch the lights.” The lyrics feel like a page ripped straight out of a diary – something Sivan does so beautifully. After describing he’s tired of the city, he sings, “Sad in the summer / City needs a mother” which feels so significant and eye-opening; the thought of a city needing a mother figure. The lyrics do not disappoint. “Home” has a steady melancholy feel to it while the outro switches gears to a deep-house beat for the remaining 39 seconds. I hope more of this sound is incorporated into Sivan’s future music releases or remixes.