It Gives You the Feels: Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR

By Michelle Kenney

SOUR is the debut album by singer/songwriter/actress Olivia Rodrigo. Rodrigo has recently taken the world by storm after releasing her sorrowful single driver’s license back in January. Since then, she has released two more singles, deja vu and good 4 u, and her songs only keep getting better and better; each new single is very different from the previous releases. Rodrigo has proved to be one of the most promising artists of the year, with driver’s license making history as the fastest-growing song with the most streams in a single day on Spotify, becoming the quickest song on the streaming platform to reach 100 million streams. According to Vogue Magazine, the song has hit #1 in the U.S. and U.K. and had the biggest opening week of sales since Zayn Malik’s “Pillowtalk” in 2016. 

Rodrigo’s newfound success left many fans excited and anticipated for her debut album, SOUR, which did not disappoint. SOUR was originally intended to be an EP, but after the massive success of driver’s license, Rodrigo decided to develop SOUR into a full album. Despite currently becoming one of the biggest pop stars in the world, Rodrigo says she feels nothing has changed: “It’s quite strange because my entire life has changed in a week and also nothing has changed at all. Every day I’m in my house, doing my homework, but people who I’ve looked up to since I was 10 are reaching out and saying they love my music. It’s a strange sort of paradox.” (Vogue) SOUR captures every emotion felt by teenagers – heartbreak, insecurity, jealousy, and anger. Here is my breakdown of the SOUR tracklist. 

TRACK 1 – brutal: brutal feels like the complete opposite of what you’d expect from a girl who is known for singing heartbreaking ballads. In this spunky rock song, Rodrigo sings about all the pressure she feels as a teenager, especially a teenager growing up in the spotlight. The track has witty, relatable lyrics, such as “I can’t even parallel park” – a lyric that made my mother laugh upon first hearing. I think brutal is an entertaining, angsty opening to an album, and is also favorite amongst my father and younger brother, so I guess it has something to please everyone.

TRACK 2 – traitor: The second song, traitor, is significantly similar to driver’s license. We can assume that traitor is written about the same boy driver’s license is written about, as she talks about a boy immediately leaving her for another girl. The boy in the song doesn’t seem to be affected by the breakup at all, which hurts Rodrigo. Traitor is a favorite amongst many fans online, who post videos of ranked SOUR songs. From all the videos I’ve watched, I’ve usually see traitor in the top three. With gut-punching lyrics such as “God I wish that you had thought this through before I went and fell in love with you”, traitor is a must-listen for fans who enjoyed driver’s license. 

TRACK 3 – driver’s license: The third track on the album is the single that started it all for Rodrigo, and probably her most famous song – driver’s license. The song blew up the day it was released, and for me, going on Spotify each day that week and seeing the streams on this song fly up quickly was quite amusing. Teenagers are able to connect to a song about heartbreak, and driver’s license was released when the world needed it most: in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, which caused people a lot of pain and sadness. Rodrigo sings about finally getting her driver’s license after a breakup with her boyfriend, and she feels upset because they used to bond over his teaching her to drive. Overall, driver’s license will hold a special place in our hearts, considering it was the song that introduced the world to Olivia Rodrigo.

TRACK 4 – 1 step forward, 3 steps back: If I were to film one of those “rating SOUR songs” videos I was talking about before, 1 step forward, 3 steps back would probably hover somewhere near the bottom. I have nothing against the song, but I personally don’t enjoy it as much as I enjoy the other songs on this album. The song’s melody was interpreted from Taylor Swift’s song New Years Day, and although I am a Taylor Swift fan, I personally think the melody is a bit boring. However, that’s not to say I dislike either song. I just simply don’t think it’s as good as some of the others on this album.

TRACK 5 – deja vu: deja vu is the perfect song to listen to while driving during a summer sunset – that’s the best way I can describe it. Rodrigo sings about her ex doing all the things he used to do with her, but with a different girl. The music video looks like something out of an old Hollywood movie, but modernized. The melody is fresh and fun, and it definitely reflects the type of music that is popular today. If you’re looking for a song to listen to this summer with your friends on the beach or during a long road trip, I’d recommend adding deja vu to your 2021 summer playlist. 

TRACK 6 – good 4 u: My current (it changes!) favorite Rodrigo song is another smash hit, good 4 u. The song channels early 2000s pop rock vibes which I love, and sounds similar to songs by Paramore, No Doubt, or Avril Lavigne. It’s another angsty song similar to brutal, but with some more pop elements to it. The music video is also amazing and watching it feels like you’re watching a feature film. This song is an exhilarating song to scream with at the top of your lungs. It differs greatly from the other two singles by Rodrigo, but it reinforces that love and breakup ballads aren’t the only kind of music Rodrigo releases.

TRACK 7 – enough for you: A lovely song that is bound to be popular with fans of track 4, this song talks about not feeling like you’re good enough for the person you love. It resonates with young people because a lot of times, we feel forced to conform to society’s standards of beauty. I like the song, but it wouldn’t be in my top three.

TRACK 8 – happier: This song is one of my father’s favorites as well. happier has a sweet melody with meaningful lyrics. Melodically, it’s similar to traitor, and is definitely a fan-favorite. Rodrigo sings about hoping her ex remembers her fondly, and to find happiness, but never be too happy without her. It’s an excellent song to belt out to. 

TRACK 9 – jealousy, jealousy: Along with good 4 u, this is one of my favorite songs on Rodrigo’s debut album. It’s very unique, and a bit more edgy than the other tracks. It has a relatable message while the vibes are similar to Lana Del Rey and Billie Eilish. It’s one of my favorites because it differs greatly from the soft ballads this album predominantly consists of.

TRACK 10 – favorite crime: This song is by far one of the saddest songs off of SOUR. It is, in my opinion, one of Rodrigo’s most well-written songs, and it’s a no-skip for me. The bridge is very melancholic, and the whole song puts you in your feels. I believe it’s one of the best songs on the album.

TRACK 11 – hope ur ok: hope ur ok has a nostalgic feel, and I think the bridge is one of the best bridges on the album. Rodrigo sings about childhood friends, and when listened to, there’s not a dry eye in the house (or the car. Wherever.) I think it’s a great song to end an amazing debut album.

Overall, this is an excellent debut album from Rodrigo, and it’s bound to leave fans wanting more. SOUR has a song for everyone and for every emotion, and it’s definitely worth a listen, even if you think you might not enjoy it.

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