Olivia O’Brien Drops Her New Micro-Mixtape, A Means To An End

With over 2 billion global artist streams to date, Olivia O’Brien has released her third micro-mixtape, A Means To An End via Island Records. The three-song project was dropped Nov. 18 and features “What Are We,” “Never Be The One,” and “Gone Girl,” all emotion-driven bops that you’ll have on repeat. 

“What Are We” is the first song of the micro-mixtape – with an upbeat and fast-paced tempo of instrumentals, the lyrics are about something many have gone through – the situationship. In case you haven’t experienced this, a situationship is the limbo phase of a relationship where you don’t know if you’re dating or “just having fun,” but too afraid to find out. 

O’Brien eloquently details this thought process by transitioning her mindset throughout the song; first she’s bold, then she’s unsure, and finally, she doesn’t want to know the answer to her questions. Who wants to gamble with something great by defining what it is? Throwing away the euphoria and imagination behind a connection can be difficult – especially when you don’t know what’s on the other side – and Olivia captures this phenomenality perfectly.

“Never Be The One” is the next light-hearted, break-up song that’s main focus is to cut ties before letting someone get close enough to break your heart. The chorus sings, 

“(Who got away) / Never be the one (Who had to stay) / Never be the one / Never be the one / I-I-I-I like the way you’ll never be the one (Who broke my heart) / I’m never gonna let (It get that far) / Never be the one / Never be the one.” 

The rhythm is consistent and has an optimistic beat to it that makes you want to dance, despite its somber content. Although Olivia sings about breaking ties, it’s still obvious that she cares for this person, but their surface-level connection isn’t enough to commit long-term.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Miranda

“Gone Girl” is the final song of the short mix and gives Hailee Steinfeld vibes with the harmony and lyrical resonance of the music, where O’Brien talks about running away and starting over with a clean slate in a new city with new people. Who hasn’t wanted to do that? Its instrumentals shadow the theme of idyllic freedom with a smooth combination of perpetual drums and echoing piano keys.

Olivia explains her inspiration behind the music, stating:

A Means To An End is about navigating relationships (both romantic and platonic) as a young adult. In ‘Gone Girl,’ I talk about being unhappy with the life I’ve created for myself and the superficiality of it all… when you just want to run away and start over, but you’re afraid to lose everything. ‘What Are We?’ and ‘Never Be The One’ explore the complicated realities of ‘dating’ without being in any real relationships. Being compelled to ask ‘What Are We?’ is something almost every young person goes through in the age of ‘situationships’ and talking stages, whereas ‘Never Be The One’ illustrates a more romanticized situationship in which you can see the beauty in just experiencing life with someone without ever putting pressure on each other to do anything more.”

Named as one of “100 Women Revolutionizing Pop Music,” Olivia O’Brien has already made a memorable name for herself at only 22 years old with over 1.5 million followers on Instagram and over 1.4 million on TikTok. To listen to more of Olivia’s music and stay up-to-date with her rising success, you can visit her Spotify link or social media below!

FOLLOW OLIVIA O’BRIEN: WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | TIKTOK | YOUTUBE

Angela is a graduate of the University of Akron with her Bachelor’s in English. For more articles by this author, click on “Angela Graczyk” above. To contact Angela about freelance opportunities, visit LinkedIn.com/in/angela-graczyk-writer-and-editor.
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Angela is a graduate of the University of Akron with her Bachelor’s in English. For more articles by this author, click on “Angela Graczyk” above. To contact Angela about freelance opportunities, visit LinkedIn.com/in/angela-graczyk-writer-and-editor.

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