“SOUR” Review: God! it’s brutal out here

Olivia Rodrigo returns listeners to the 2000s


Stephani Bradley

Her appearance in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and her musical influences speaks to the wider appeal of the 2000s aesthetic.

For the longest time, teenage angst has made an excellent subject for all types of art. Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album “SOUR” covers this subject in excellent detail. At only 18-years-old, she is already topping the charts with hits such as “drivers license,” “good 4 u” and “deja vu.”

Rodrigo’s sound is influenced by pop punk artists such as Paramore and Avril Lavigne, as well as artists from today’s scene, such as Taylor Swift. These influences are especially apparent throughout the album. For example, a listener may mistake “good 4 u” for Paramore’s “Misery Business” at first listen. I know I did!

However, this is not Rodrigo’s first brush with the spotlight. She previously appeared as Paige in the Disney Channel series “Bizaardvark” and currently stars as Nini Salazar-Roberts in the Disney+ series “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.”

Her appearance in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and her musical influences speaks to the wider appeal of the 2000s aesthetic. Even before the pandemic, Y2K style and nostalgia has become a trend on social media. In particular, the “High School Musical” series and other teen movies have been experiencing a resurgence in the popular consciousness.

Some particular highlights of the album for me are “jealousy, jealousy,” “brutal” and “enough for you.”

“Jealousy, jealousy” demonstrates how easy it is to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. It is particularly relevant because although social media can show a perfect life, the person’s real life may not be perfect.

Rodrigo’s “brutal” can easily be described as the song of the summer for 2021. Rodrigo does a stellar job of illustrating her insecurities throughout the track, and has a way of making herself relatable to her listeners. In spite of her insecurities, she does indeed “try her best,” to paraphrase the song.

In “enough for you,” Rodrigo tells off an abusive ex-lover who brought her down and belittled her. She is aware that she will find the right partner who sees her for who she is, rather than what she can do for them.

Rodrigo has proven herself to be a role model for young women through her work. Not only has she made relatable music, but she has also advocated for several important causes. She has collaborated with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and she has worked directly with the president of the United States to raise awareness of COVID-19 vaccinations.

“SOUR” is a welcome addition to the pop-punk genre and could very well herald a resurgence of the genre as a whole. It can be said that Olivia Rodrigo’s star is rising and that she is definitely an artist to watch out for.