SOUR – Album Review

India McCarty

I’m calling it now: 2021 is the year of Olivia Rodrigo. Last week, she released her debut album SOUR. It’s already amassed a billion streams. 


To catch up anyone who hasn’t been watching the Disney darling’s meteoric trail up the charts: Rodrigo, star of Disney+ show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, released her first single, “drivers license,” in January. The song went No. 1, inspired an SNL skit and turned the internet against the suspected subject of the song (Rodrigo’s costar, Joshua Bassett). 


With the release of singles “deja vu” and “good 4 u,” Rodrigo proved she was no flash in the pan, and the world eagerly awaited her first album. 


SOUR is an explosion of emotion; from anger to sadness, from gleeful name calling to teary pleas, Rorigo does it all and does it well. 


She kicks off the album with “brutal,” a pop-punk recitation of all the things she’s already so over at the ripe age of seventeen. “They say these are the golden years // but I wish I could disappear,” she chants over grinding guitars, before summing it all up with a laugh: “God, it’s brutal out here.”


Brutal is right. Rodrigo shows her song’s subjects no mercy – and why should she?


There are no love songs on this album. Rodrigo goes from pissed off (“Good for you // you’re doing great out there without me, baby // like a damn sociopath”) to brokenhearted (“And don’t you think I loved you too much // to be used and discarded?) in no time flat. The whiplash of emotions mirrors how catastrophic everything feels when you’re young. 


She finds time to wish she could stop comparing herself to strangers on the internet with “jealousy, jealousy” (“I think I think too much // ‘bout kids who don’t know me”) and wish lost friends well on “hope ur ok” (“Don’t know if I’ll see you again someday // but if you’re out there, I hope that you’re okay”), but the album’s strongest points are when she’s screaming her heartbreak out to us. 


Rodrigo’s success as an artist lies in her total lack of artifice. Every song is almost painfully real, and fans respond well to vulnerability (see Taylor Swift, one of Rodrigo’s biggest influences).


The songs of SOUR are guaranteed to be sung all summer long and used to caption many an Insta post. With this album, Olivia Rodrigo has shown the world that she is here to stay. 


Check out SOUR here!