Feeling SOUR: Olivia Rodrigo’s Introduction into the Music Industry

On May 21, Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album SOUR was released. Coming off her chart-topping single ‘driver’s license,’ the release of SOUR was anxiously anticipated by fans and music fanatics alike. 

After the album’s release, it skyrocketed to the top of the charts, holding the number one position on the Official Charts for two weeks. With 11 tracks, the album is 34 minutes in length and features ‘deja vu’ and ‘good 4 u’ (Rodrigo’s other well-known singles) with the smash-hit ‘driver’s license.’ 

The Good 

Rodrigo’s heart-wrenching lyricism is masterful. At only 18 years old, Rodrigo manages to capture emotions that many have felt intensely throughout their teenage years – heartbreak and jealousy in particular. While the album will resonate strongly with those still navigating their teenage years, the songs are mature and thought-provoking for individuals in their twenties and beyond to enjoy.

While the singles on the album have been well-received and are circulating among many social media platforms, other songs on the album are not to be overlooked.

Of special note are the songs ‘jealousy, jealousy’ and ‘brutal.’ Each is upbeat and easily could have been released as singles. ‘Brutal’ is a distinct and fiery opening to the album, Rodrigo lamenting unrealistic teenage dreams and the brutality of being a young adult.

In contrast, ‘jealousy, jealousy’ reflects on the picture-perfect lives many appear to have on social media and how detrimental these comparisons become. Both are catchy and highlight Rodrigo’s unique voice as an artist. 

The influence from one of Rodrigo’s self-proclaimed inspirations, Taylor Swift, is present throughout the entire album. The song ‘1 step forward, 3 steps back’ samples the piano line from ‘New Year’s Day,’ the closing track on Swift’s 2017 album reputation.

The Bad 

As many debut albums released by a new artist often do, Rodrigo’s first step into the music industry has some pitfalls and growing pains. 

Rodrigo struggles the most in SOUR with finding her core sound. Tracks like ‘brutal’ and ‘good 4 you’ are comparable to Paramore’s rough, pop/punk sound. However, tracks such as ‘traitor’, ‘happier’ and ‘hope ur ok’ are balladesque and clash with the more upbeat songs on the album. While each song is strong on its own, the overall album struggles as Rodrigo switches between distinct genres. 

While ‘traitor’ is an enjoyable song, it is very similar to ‘driver’s license’ and it would be easy to confuse the two. While both are examples of the painful emotions that follow a betrayal, there are too many similarities – especially since ‘driver’s license’ directly follows ‘traitor’ as track 2 and 3 on the album.

Overall, Rodrigo’s first album is enjoyable and will be a favourite on playlists for those going through heartbreaks and navigating the ups and downs of relationships.

As Rodrigo continues to develop her songwriting abilities, her music will only improve and SOUR will remain an iconic part of her discography. 

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