Just a few months after her hit “drivers license” took the charts by storm, pop’s newest it-girl Olivia Rodrigo offers a plethora of angsty breakup tunes on her debut album “SOUR” that tug at anyone who listens’ heartstrings, even those of a millennial like myself.
In this generation, it seems rare to find a triple threat in the industry, but not only does Rodrigo perform/sing her records, but she also is a songwriter which makes the album all the more personal. The album is rooted in heartbreak and that is evident in the opener, in a “brutal” way.
Olivia opens the album with “brutal”, a track where she literally picks herself apart to this upbeat rock instrumental. Melancholy and mischief are constant themes throughout the album. She goes from that to “traitor” which is a hopeless track of betrayal.
Throughout the record, we see this constant tug of war of her anger and sadness over this love lost. If I’m being completely honest, I cried as I listened to this album in whole (don’t judge me). It brought about the thought of how we give so much of ourselves to others only for them to end up letting us down in the end.
Olivia speaks of her early influences coming from trips with her mother to grab old records from thrift shops. The likes of Carole King and Pat Benetar can be heard throughout the tracks. She also speaks of Taylor Swift being one of her greatest influences, which speaks to the varieties of music that she had influencing her growing up.
Despite the makeup of the songs coming off as teenage angst, the record has been well received by millennials alike. The hit track “good 4 u” is reminiscent of Paramore’s triple-platinum single from 2007, “Misery Business”, and even a viral trend on TikTok emerged where millennials went back in time with a mashup of the two songs.
Themes of revenge as well as the way that we pick ourselves apart whenever we go through things like break-ups are heard throughout the album. “I wore makeup when we dated cause I thought you’d like me more,” she sings on the vulnerable track “enough for you.” Her airy falsetto makes the track hit even harder at your heartstrings.
One track really stood out from the rest of the songs that can be grouped into the angsty teenager who just experienced the worst breakup of her life (so she thinks). “hope ur ok,” closes out the record to a twinkly instrumental where Rodrigo sings to a victim of child abuse, a queer girl rejected by her family and the song serves as an overall ode to an outcast. The song has a vibe of empowerment, but it doesn’t seem to fit with the album as a whole. All in all, this last track serves as an inspiring closer leaving fans optimistic for what’s to come from the star.
This debut album opens up a world with no limits for Rodrigo. She has her own sound and a voice that she’s not afraid to use. The influence of Taylor Swift gives a peek at what to possibly expect from her in the future, and relationship woes might be the fuel to the fire that creates hit records for the young star.
Photo Courtesy of GEFFEN/INTERSCOPE