‘Sour’ But Sweet: Olivia Rodrigo Shines on Debut Album


Album cover art for Olivia Rodrigo’s debut release “Sour.”

By India Bown, Arts Writer


In her debut album “Sour,” 18-year-old Disney star Olivia Rodrigo breaks out of her shell and rises into fame with the songwriting abilities teased in her newly released singles coming into full form on this record. 

Rodrigo’s Rise in TV and Music

Rodrigo got her start on Disney Channel in the comedy series “Bizaardvark,” but is better known for her role as Nini on Disney’s “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” She first showcased her singing and songwriting talents with the wildly popular song “All I Want” and subsequent duet “Just for a Moment,” which she co-wrote with “High School Musical” co-star Joshua Bassett.

As the Disney+ series became a hit both among fans of the original “High School Musical” trilogy and the younger generation, Rodrigo’s name became recognizable in pop culture. The combination of her sweet, melodic voice and genuine presence put Rodrigo in the spotlight, which only continued to shine brighter with the release of her first single, “driver’s license.” The song rose to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and kept that spot for eight weeks, breaking records for singles on Spotify and the UK charts. 


With “Sour,” Rodrigo gives her audience a taste of the good, the bad and the ugly parts of teenage love. The pop album showcases different styles to describe getting over a hard break-up and experiencing the trials and tribulations that come with growing up. In nostalgic punk, pop and rock songs like “brutal,” “jealousy, jealousy” and “good 4 u,” Rodrigo reveals an angsty side complemented by drum beats and guitar as she expresses her sour remarks for the boy that broke her heart. These songs give off “screw you” energy and make you want to dance in your room like a lovesick teenager. 

“driver’s license” and “deja vu” are reminiscent of the anxieties in her past relationships as well as the emotions of longing for her ex. Both songs, with the mention of another girl, tell a story of being replaced, coupled with the expectations and disappointment in the relationship itself. In “driver’s license,” Rodrigo sings, “’Cause you were so excited for me / To finally drive up to your house / But today I drove through the suburbs / Crying ’cause you weren’t around.” We hear the loss she feels in the excitement of finally getting her license.

In “deja vu,” Rodrigo draws more comparisons to a girl that replaced her, pouring her heart out about the disingenuous actions from her ex in his new relationship. The lyrics, “Strawberry ice cream in Malibu / Don’t act like we didn’t do that sh*t, too,” say it all. 

The rest of “Sour” takes on a softer sound with songs like “traitor,” “enough for you” and “1 step forward, 3 steps back” as Rodrigo relives her trauma and the realizations she had during and after a relationship. These tracks feel connected to her roots in “All I Want,” adding piano, acoustic guitar and dreamy harmonies as she confesses her feelings of vulnerability and resentment to the one that broke her heart.

Now a designated pop princess, at least in my mind, Rodrigo brilliantly tells her story about her struggle to accept heartbreak. Her truthful lyrics create an intimate connection between her and listeners. “Sour” is honest, beautiful and truly bittersweet. An 18-year-old rising star, Rodrigo proves that there is sweetness in the sour. 

You can listen to “Sour” on any music platform or streaming service.


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