Olivia Rodrigo’s first album was no disappointment

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Sour, Drama Collector, Fair use

Olivia Rodrigo’s first album is one for the books.

Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour is the Quintessential Teenage Album

Olivia Rodrigo released her debut album Sour. Filled with heartbreak, insecurity, and influenced by two decades of artists, Rodrigo encapsulates the teenage experience like nothing else.

I haven’t turned off Sour since it dropped on May 21. To be fair, that wasn’t even a week ago, but I don’t really plan on stopping. Clocking in at just under 35 minutes, Sour is 11 songs worth of raw teen emotion. Every track makes me want to cry, roll down the window, and scream the lyrics until my voice gives out. Essentially, it’s the perfect album. That is, if you’re a heartbroken teenager. But, let’s be honest, what teenager isn’t?

It seems like Rodrigo has an anthem for every type of heartbreak. On “enough for you,” she croons over the guitar, reminiscing every time she changed herself for an insatiable partner and promising that, one day, someone will love her for who she is. “good 4 u” is angrier, as Rodrigo bashes on the ex who moved on while she was hurt. Her pain throughout the album is clear and cutting. Much like I’ve found my own healing to be, it sways from resentful to heartbroken and back again. Rodrigo is relatable and comforting—a voice for thousands.

Even if you’re not in need of a good breakup song like me, Rodrigo has you covered. Her opening track “brutal” is upbeat, but Rodrigo lays out serious feelings like anxiety and being exploited—all the reasons she’s sick of being a teenager. She can’t parallel park, and she definitely doesn’t want you to remind her of it: “if someone tells me one more time ‘enjoy your youth’ I’m gonna cry.” For many of today’s teens, this hits close to home. Between living through a pandemic and suffering under the highest generational levels of anxiety and depression, can these really be the best years of our lives?

Following the same thread, Rodrigo opens up about her insecurity on “jealousy, jealousy.” She knows better than to compare herself, but the pressure of social media still takes its toll.

On her last track, “hope ur ok,” Rodrigo steps away from her own heartbreak and addresses the friends she’s fallen out of touch with. While some of us can boast having a lifelong friend, most of us can say we’ve lost a friend. Sometimes for no other reason than growing up and apart. Rodrigo captures that melancholy. Not only that but the friends she remembers were shunned from their family over their sexuality. For anyone in the LGBTQ+ community struggling for acceptance, Rodrigo’s message is crucial: people are proud you were created.

The motifs are not the only thing teens will find familiar in Sour. The music itself draws inspiration from artists that helped to shape Rodrigo.

There’s a Tik Tok trend going around. People compile a list of everything they say or do that they’ve learned from someone they love or loved. Things range from writing the letter A the way your second grade teacher did to punching the roof of your car at every red light because of your best friend. The point is to show that people are mosaics of love, who you are is built from pieces of everyone you’ve loved and learned from.

Sour is a mosaic. A tribute to the pieces of music that made Rodrigo who she is. Spanning over the almost two decades of Rodrigo’s life, teens will hear their favorite artists within her work. Taylor Swift—who is known to be one of Rodrigo’s biggest inspirations—can be heard when “1 step forward, 3 steps back” interpolates Swift’s “New Year’s Day.” Fans compare good 4 u to Paramore’s “Misery Business.” Beyond that, I hear Billie Eilish at the end of brutal, and Bon Iver in the guitar of hope ur ok.

Olivia Rodrigo - SOUR (Official Audio) from Make Best Music on YouTube

While some may argue so much similarity makes Rodrigo unoriginal, I’d say Sour is merely a reflection of herself and in that you’ll see everything that impacted her. She’s just like any other teen. She’s figuring out her place in the world. She’s a little angry, a little lost, a little jealous, and a little heartbroken. I feel at home listening to Rodrigo’s lyrics. You probably will too.

Grace’s Tangent: Grace’s take on “Sour” including her favorite songs and her view on Olivia’s future.

Hey, resident Olivia Rodrigo stan here. This album is everything to me. After being an Olivia Rodrigo fan since 2016, this album just really reminded me of the reason I’m a fan of her. My favorite song at the moment (it changes everyday) is “favorite crime.” Something about this song just always hits the spot. Have I ever gone through a breakup? No. Do I sometimes pretend that I did just to feel something while I listen? Yes. The song has so many good lyrics and the soft guitar in the background is everything. It gives me major Taylor Swift vibes. If I’m gonna be honest, I think Olivia could be the new Taylor Swift. With how fast she has taken off, I think she has a lot of potential. This album will definitely be in my top five of the whole year.

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Traitor is the ultimate sob-song for this summer:

While I typically don’t stan things, I was obsessed with Rodrigo’s first three releases (you can even read an in-depth review of “Driver’s License,” deja vu,” and “good 4 u” on the Knight Errant website.) Sour was such an exciting debut for Rodrigo, and the hype is well deserved. Currently, I am listening to “Traitor,” a true heartbreak ballad with such raw emotion it is hard not to love. Scream or cry to it, Rodrigo’s take on cheating-but-not-really-cheating is gut-wrenching to say the least. While I have a particular predisposition towards it at the moment, the song itself is filled with one-liners that will break anyone to some degree. Lines like, “you betrayed me, and I know you’ll never feel sorry for the way I hurt,” loved you at your worst, but that didn’t matter,” and the take-away from the song, “guess you didn’t cheat, but you’re still a traitor” are some of the most profound lyrics featured in the song—each conveying a different aspect of confusion, loss, and betrayal. “God, I wish you would’ve thought this through before I went and fell in love with you” is my personal favorite line of the entire album, makes me tear up every time; there is no word to describe the pain in her voice during this part of the song.

Her words and the way she sings loud without singing in a high pitch not only makes it easier to sing to for the rest of us, but also sadder. You can hear the pain in her voice as she tries to process her heartbreak and the idea of someone she loved moving on so quickly. Although the melody is simple, the emotion behind the song and word choice are so powerful—especially for someone so young and new to the artist scene.