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.