Olivia Rodrigo, you’ve created a masterpiece.
There are simply not enough ways I can describe how much I absolutely love this album. I find myself screaming the lyrics to every single track — not a single skip to be found. “SOUR” has brought back all of my teen angst in the best possible way.
The album’s three lead singles, “drivers license,” “deja vu” and “good 4 u,” have all been smashing successes in the weeks and months leading up to the full release, and rightfully so. “good 4 u” is my new go-to shower song. But because these songs have been around a little longer, I’m going to focus on the eight new songs that round out the album.
The opening track, “brutal” is exactly that. Knocks it out of the park. I could write an essay on the first verse alone —
“I’m so insecure I think / That I’ll die before I drink /And I’m so caught up in the news / Of who likes me and who hates you / And I’m so tired that I might / Quit my job, start a new life / And they’d all be so disappointed / ‘Cause who am I, if not exploited? / And I’m so sick of seventeen / Where’s my f*cking teenage dream? / If someone tells me one more time / ‘Enjoy your youth,’ I’m gonna cry / And I don’t stick up for myself / I’m anxious and nothing can help / And I wish I’d done this before / And I wish people liked me more.”
— but the whole thing hits so close to home. It also has a super fun sound. Think “Misery Business” meets the entire “Speak Now” album meets the Notes app diary I kept on my iPod in eighth grade. “jealousy, jealousy” is another teen angst anthem —
“Com-comparison is killin’ me slowly / I think I think too much / ‘Bout kids who don’t know me / I’m so sick of myself / I’d rather be, rather be / Anyone, anyone else.”
— honestly, I still relate to this one now.
“traitor,” the second track, brought me back to a high school crush that I was way too into (and am LONG over). “enough for you” broke my heart. If you’ve ever felt like you’re, well, not enough for someone, this will shatter you, but, like, in a good way. “enough for you,” along with “favorite crime,” makes me want to give her a hug and tell her everything will be okay.
Two of my favorites are “1 step forward, 3 steps back,” which interpolates Taylor Swift’s “New Year’s Day,” and “happier,” a heart-wrenching ballad about an ex moving on with someone new. I loved that Rodrigo, a self-proclaimed Swiftie, was able to take the piano melody from a Swift song and write an entirely new song based off of it — and she was able to do it without giving any royalties to Scooter Braun, who currently owns the master recordings of six of Swift’s albums.
Out of all of these, though, it was the last song on the album, “hope ur ok,” that left me ugly-crying on my couch at 1 a.m. Rodrigo sings to two long-lost friends of hers, both of whom were living in unfortunate environments — a boy she knew as a kid whose sexuality wasn’t accepted by his parents, and a girl she knew in middle school who was raising her brothers on her own. Here are some of the lyrics:
“Don’t know if I’ll see you again someday / But if you’re out there, I hope that you’re okay.”
“We don’t talk much, but I just gotta say / I miss you and I hope that you’re okay.”
“Well, I hope you know how proud I am you were created / With the courage to unlearn all of their hatred / But, God, I hope that you’re happier today / ‘Cause I love you / And I hope that you’re okay.”
It wasn’t just the stories about her friends that put me in my bag while listening to this song. Over the last two years I have spent a lot of time in mental health treatment programs, where I have met some of the kindest, most wonderful people I’ve ever known. As is typical after leaving most treatment programs, I’m not allowed to keep in touch with the other patients I’ve met. I know that I’ll never see these people again, but I think of them every day. “hope ur ok” took all of the love and hope I hold in my heart for these people and put it into a song.
Overall, “SOUR” is a 10/10 for me. If I could change anything, I’d only make it longer (the 11-track album clocks in at about 35 minutes). As I said before, there’s not one skip on this album. It’s wonderful to see a teenage girl express all of her feelings — the good, the bad and the ugly — and be supported for it, as opposed to being made fun of (like Swift or Avril Lavigne). If you haven’t listened yet, do yourself a favor and stream it right now. After this stunning debut, I can’t wait to see Rodrigo’s career continue to grow.