Press Play: Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album is anything but “Sour”


Photo credit/ Jenny Flynn

Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album “Sour” was released on May 21st.

If there is any album that deserves a standing ovation, it would be Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album “Sour.” Rodrigo, who is only 18 years old, released her debut album on May 21 after her three previous singles achieved insane amounts of success and popularity on streaming platforms.

Rodrigo is best known for her role on the Disney+ series “High School Musical:The Musical:The Series.” She became a household name in January when she released her first single “driver’s license.” about having to do things alone after a breakup that you promised a significant other you would do together. The song became so popular that there was a Saturday Night Live sketch about how emotional it made young girls Rodrigo’s age and adults alike.

Rodrigo turned her teenage heartbreak into art, much like Taylor Swift. In fact, Swift has nicknamed Rodrigo “her daughter” and co-wrote “1 step forward, 3 steps back” for this album, along with songwriter Jack Antonoff.

Rodrigo turns her pain into ballads such as “favorite crime” and “enough for you.” You can tell that she is a teeanger who grew up inspired by Taylor Swift and Lorde. Even some Billie Eilish inspiration can be heard in her vocal styles.

Rodrigo channels Avril Lavigne for some punk inspiration in songs such as “good 4 u” and “brutal” where she is more angry about the end of her relationship rather than being sad about it. As a young person, I think that that’s what makes Olivia Rodrigo so great. She puts into words the feelings and array of emotions a teenager gets when they get their heartbroken for the first time.

The final song on the album is called “hope ur ok,” which seems to be the only song not about teenage heartbreak or expectations. In the song, Rodrigo mentions two specific people she grew up knowing whose families she felt did not treat them well. She says she hasn’t seen them in years but still thinks about them and wonders if they’re okay.

Personally, for me, I felt like there were no songs that needed to be skipped when listening to this album. Each song is as enjoyable and as well-written as the song before it. Even if you are not feeling heartbroken, you can still listen to the songs about heartbreak for the lyrics and the melody. A good album should be good to listen to, regardless of how you are feeling.

I think by combining songs about heartbreak and societal pressures with a song about checking in on people you knew were struggling, Olivia Rodrigo put together an album that is the perfect description of all the different kinds of stress teenagers find themselves facing. If “The Breakfast Club” was our parents’ generation’s way of perfectly capturing the teenage experience, then “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo captures it perfectly for us.

Much like Taylor Swift, you step back and are amazed by Rodrigo’s songwriting abilities. She manages to describe feelings in ways no one would have thought to describe them. She is the future of songwriting and will make a huge impact on the music industry if her very first album is this good. She can only get better from here.

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Twitter: @EllenFrantzTWW