A Nostalgic Return to Teen Angst: A Review of Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour


Olivia Rodrigo's debut album holds back nothing, allowing us to relieve our naive teenage expectations of romance, all whilst rocking out to 11 tracks of pure musical talent.

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Olivia Rodrigo blew us all away with ‘driver’s license’, and again with singles ‘deja vu’ and ‘good 4 u’, which made Sour an extremely anticipated album. It’s safe to say, Rodrigo has delivered. Sour is an outstanding 11-track debut album that has already broke multiple records. For starters, Rodrigo has become the youngest solo artist to ever score an official UK chart double, with ‘driver’s license’ and ‘good 4 u’ both charting at number 1, and ‘good 4 u’ had the biggest streaming week of any song in global Spotify history. It’s clear that Rodrigo is going to be a sensation for years to come, and I can’t wait to track this journey.

Sour is an album that’s united generations, with gen z’s and millennials joining up to celebrate our new reigning pop queen. Citing inspirations such as Taylor Swift and Hayley Williams, it’s no wonder that teens and young adults alike are eating up everything Rodrigo throws at us. ‘brutal’ is a particular favourite from the album, expressing teen angst in a wonderful rock-pop combination. Something about teen stars swearing in song makes it all the more powerful, with “I’m so sick of 17 / where’s my fucking teenage dream?”. A trend on Tik Tok has been to remix Rodrigo’s songs, with ‘good 4 u’ being merged with Paramore’s iconic ‘Misery Business’ and Swift’s ‘Wildest Dreams’. It’s safe to say that Rodrigo’s musical influences explode into Sour, merging the emo-angst of Paramore, with Swift’s clever lyricism, Easter eggs, and bad-ass attitude. Swift is even credited on ‘1 step forward, 3 steps back’ due to Rodrigo sampling Swift’s ‘New Year’s Day’ piano tracking.

‘jealousy, jealousy’ and ‘traitor’ are two more stand-out tracks from Sour. ‘traitor’ has the slow, heartbreaking qualities of Rodrigo’s debut single ‘driver’s license’, and the lyrics “guess you didn’t cheat, but you’re still a traitor” are bound to be Instagram break up post captions for decades to come. ‘jealousy, jealousy’ is quite different, and again falls back into a punk/rock track, which is why it’s so great. The line “I think, I think too much / ’bout kids who don’t know me” also feels very apt considering the obsession we (mostly early-mid 20s) have with the Rodrigo, Joshua Bassett and Sabrina Carpenter drama. This drama doesn’t just occur in Rodrigo’s single releases, but runs throughout the entire album. In true Swifty style, Rodrigo creates an album dedicated to an ex who broke her heart, and lets the world know every detail of what both parties did wrong. For anyone going through a break up, this album certainly has you covered – moving through sadness, grief, hatred, jealousy and spite. All that’s left is happiness, which fans believe could come on Rodrigo’s next album.

After clues in ‘deja vu’ hinting at the release of ‘good 4 u’, with an ice cream truck in the music video reading “deja vu ice cream is good for you”, fans are keen to find what else Rodrigo has hidden. One big clue came in Rodrigo’s team up with Sour Patch Kids, which reads “sour then sweet” on the packaging. Considering Rodrigo has plenty of unreleased tracks which are far happier than those found on Sour, fans have speculated that her second album will be titled Sweet and will share these songs. Now just to wait and see if, in her idolisation of Swift, she chooses to take this a step further and release her second album this year too.

Now for some favourite lyrics… to start “it took you two weeks, to go off and date her” from ‘traitor’ has a strong resemblance to Selena Gomez‘s lyric “in two months you replaced us” from ‘Lose You To Love Me’. In ‘1 step forward, 3 steps back’ Rodrigo calls Bassett “boy” multiple times; the power this one word holds when she sings it honestly deserves an award- go girl, you belittle him! “But I say that I hate you with a smile on my face” in ‘favourite crime’ is quite a cutesy-psycho lyric, Swift would be proud of the monster she’s created. ‘brutal’ is overall iconic, with relatable lyric highlights being  “I’m anxious and nothing can help”, “god, it’s brutal out here”, and “they say these are the golden years, but I wish I could disappear” – uni students and 13 year olds alike can hardcore relate. Finally, lyrics aside, the intro bass in ‘good 4 u’ sounds remarkably like Miley Cyrus‘ ‘WTF Do I Know’, proving again that Rodrigo is a Disney stan.

Sour is a sensational, record breaking, and unforgettable album that has set Rodrigo up for a long and hopefully successful career. It’s a front runner for album of the year, particularly after the records it broke in it’s first week alone. If you haven’t already, give Sour a listen, go do it; you’ll be transported back to your emo teens, feeling angry at the world and getting emotional over a breakup that you may not even be going through. You won’t regret it.

Sour is available to listen to now via Geffen Records. Check out ‘brutal’ down below.


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