‘SOUR’ Is Still the Ultimate Teen Album
After a very long two-year wait, pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo is returning to the music scene. On June 30, Rodrigo will be releasing “Vampire,” her first new song since her debut album, SOUR.
Fans have been theorizing about her next move for the past couple of years. Some thought she may grace the world with a sister album to Sour, this time called “Sweet.”
While that is likely not the case, Olivia Rodrigo is definitely coming back. Expectations are surely high after the record-smashing SOUR.
“driver’s license” was the first song released from SOUR and was an instant success. The song went number one and was critically acclaimed, with good reason. Rodrigo, who at the time was just 17 years old, managed to put the pain of teen heartbreak into words.
She is nowhere near the first young singer to do this (think Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift in the late 2000s), but Rodrigo felt like the first to do it in a while. “driver’s license,” released Jan. 8, 2021, was real, raw and relatable. Rodrigo didn’t shy away from her story in the ballad. She expressed her true feelings as a teen girl.
In a world where young women are often not taken seriously or written off for being “too emotional,” Rodrigo and SOUR are a protest. She shared her emotions freely and proudly — from heartbreak to anger to jealousy — and people responded.
While “driver’s license” brought the world’s attention to Rodrigo, the rest of SOUR kept them captivated.
SOUR began with “brutal” a pop-punk track that perfectly draws in the listener. She begins the song by interrupting a soft orchestral intro, saying, “I want it to be, like, messy.” By doing so, she immediately breaks free of all expectations. She delivers messiness but in the perfect way. In the song, Rodrigo captures the frustration of being a teenager — all the anxieties and pressures that come along with it.
“brutal” is everything needed to set up SOUR as the teen pop bible of the 2020s.
“jealousy, jealousy,” a later track on the album, follows up on “brutal,” detailing the all too real envy that comes along with social media. It would be hard, if not impossible, to find a young person that cannot connect to the message of “jealousy, jealousy.”
Rodrigo’s power comes from her relatability. Sure, she’s now a global pop superstar, but SOUR and songs like “brutal” and “jealousy, jealousy” shows she understands what it means to be young in today’s world.
With songs like “good 4 u,” Rodrigo was also able to tap into nostalgia, with the song being compared to the pop-punk energy of the late 2000s.
On the song, she sings “maybe I’m too emotional,” which is a label often given to teen girls. She uses it to make what was the song of the summer. She is giving power to all young people to feel every emotion and the confidence to share.
While the album features high energy tracks like “brutal” and “jealousy, jealousy,” Rodrigo truly shines on the LP’s many ballads.
“traitor” — SOUR’s second track — is both solemn and angry. She tells the story of her ex not cheating but moving on too quickly. It’s a hard situation, but she expertly crafts a crushing chorus. She sings:
‘Cause I know that you’ll never feel sorry
For the way I hurt
“traitor” by Olivia Rodrigo
It’s a simple statement but hits hard. Rodrigo doesn’t try to overcomplicate things, but she shares her story just as it is. Her lyricism is beautiful without trying too hard and that’s another reason why so many can appreciate her.
Rodrigo is also willing to share her insecurities. “happier” sees her part wishing the best to her ex-partner but also hoping that he won’t forget her and be “happier.”
On the track, she doesn’t pretend to be perfect. She admits she is “selfish,” and that’s what makes the song and album so strong. She aims to show every side of herself, even the bad ones.
The 11-track album, which only plays for 34 minutes, ends with “hope ur ok.” While most of the album is about teenagehood and heartbreak, “hope ur ok” shares a different side of Rodrigo. She shares her love for childhood friends, reminding them they are loved even when family members and those around them didn’t feel the same.
Well, I hope you know how proud I am you were created
With the courage to unlearn all of their hatred
God, I hope that you’re happier today
‘Cause I love you, and I hope that you’re okay
“hope ur ok” by Olivia Rodrigo
In the song, she is sympathetic and intelligent. It’s a beautiful way to end a perfect album.
While waiting for “Vampire,” make sure to appreciate SOUR today and follow Rodrigo on Instagram to keep up with her latest work. Two years later, Rodrigo’s work has stood the test of time.