A “SOUR” treat: Olivia Rodrigo’s new album sets world records


Caroline Seiler

Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album “SOUR” has set global Spotify records for having the biggest opening week for an album written by a female artist. Released on May 21, the jaw dropping and capturing album tells various intricate stories through Rodrigo’s eloquent songwriting capabilities. 

The first song to be heard by the public was “drivers license,” which sat at the top charts for eight weeks after its January release. The second single, “deja vu,” was followed by “good 4 u” in its rise to fame. Rodrigo even performed these two songs on Saturday Night Live on May 15 and at the 2021 Brit Awards. The first three singles were spaced out in their releases, while the rest of the songs in the album were looked at as a whole. This is arguably a good thing, because even though “SOUR” is an amazing work of art, some of the songs like “enough for you” and “1 step forward, 3 steps back” would have been skips for me if they were the ones released earlier on. 

Olivia Rodrigo has the fantastic ability to convey many different messages through the same style of music that flows throughout the album. She has definitely trademarked her own style in “SOUR,” one that takes inspiration from Rodrigo’s idols like Taylor Swift—shown in her sampling of “New Year’s Day” in “1 step forward, 3 steps back”—, while remaining distinctive and unmistakably her own. The songs have different volumes and styles of music tracks but her singing style stays constant—“brutal,” the most hard-hitting song of the album that takes more of a Paramore-esque punk/rock genre title, is the one exception.

In the first and best track of the album “brutal,” Olivia Rodrigo complains about how her idealized “teenage dream” is a sham, and of course, it isn’t in the cards for many others her age. “jealousy, jealousy” is another relatable song that hits close to home for many teenagers, bringing the unreal expectations of social media to the spotlight. The song highlights how easy it is to compare yourself to others, with the jealousy of it all destroying you. While most of “SOUR” deals with Rodrigo’s alleged relationship drama with her “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” co-star Joshua Bassett, “hope ur ok” ends the album off on a depressing note, describing some of Rodrigo’s past friendships. Even though it goes into a difficult subject matter, the song is a nice and pleasing way to end the album. 

At only 18 years old, Olivia Rodrigo has made a name for herself in the music history books as the first female artist to have two songs from a debut album hit #1 on Hot 100. During the first week of the release, the charts were taken over by “SOUR”: all eleven songs sat in the top twelve spots of the Spotify USA charts. It’s safe to say that she has a bright future ahead of herself, hopefully bringing joy to her fans around the world along the way.