SOUR - OLIVIA RODRIGO ALBUM REVIEW
Since the release of 'driver's license' this year, it has felt like all anyone's talking about in pop music is Olivia Rodrigo. Her debut album Sour has finally been released, and does it live up to the hype of all her singles? Long story short, yes.
Sour feels like an almost perfect screenshot of being a broken-hearted teenager in 2021. From the introductory track 'brutal', Rodrigo is not holding anything back, with a song that features some of the most relatable lyrics of all time like "They say these are the golden years / But I wish I could disappear / Ego crush is so severe / God, it's brutal out here."
Throughout Sour you can hear clear influences from the people Rodrigo looks up to: from Taylor Swift, to old-school rock, from Paramore to Ariana Grande. Rodrigo even interpolate's 'New Year's Day' by Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff on the song '1 step forward, 2 steps back' However, this does make it a little difficult to pin down exactly what Rodrigo's own style is. 'driver's license' and 'deja vu' are the two songs that really feel like they've never been done before, and perhaps we'll see more of this sound as Rodrigo comes into herself. I mean, she's 18, who the hell knows themselves, let alone their musical identity, at 18?
Olivia Rodrigo delves into the angry girl music that became popular in the 2000s with songs like 'Misery Business' (2007) and 'Better Than Revenge' (2010) but skips out on the thing that makes those songs more difficult to listen to now: internalised misogyny. Rodrigo tells the story about a man leaving her for a better girl, without really bringing the girl down at all, and in songs like 'happier' she actually talks about the fact she wants to tear her down, but knows that its wrong "And now I'm pickin' her apart / Like cuttin' her down will make you miss my wretched heart / But she's beautiful, she looks kind / She probably gives you butterflies".
Sour then ends with 'hope ur ok' which is dedicated to telling those struggling with their identity, particularly those in the LGBTQI+ community, that she's 'glad they were created'. This feels like a great closing track, as it moves away from the heartbreak and frustration into a sadder yet kind-hearted perspective.
Overall, Sour is a stellar debut album. It's consistently good, cohesive, and incredibly well written. There does feel like a bit of an imbalance, and there is a feeling that Rodrigo could have put more songs akin to the edgier sound of 'good 4 u' and 'brutal' on the album to balance out the heartbreak ballads, but the album still runs well despite this.
Over time, Rodrigo will no doubt become more solid in her own sound, rather than echoing the voices and sounds of others, as she releases more music and gets to grips with what it means to be herself in this industry. Until then though, Sour is an excellent start to her incredibly promising career.