Album Review: SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo is a singer, songwriter, and actress from California. While she first got her start as an actress with Disney through shows such as High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and Bizaardvark, she didn’t really hit mainstream success until her single, drivers license came out. That single alone was a quick hit and success, especially in North America. Now, she drops her debut album, SOUR.

The first track from the album is brutal. While only hearing a few singles from her, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this album or how it would open up. It opens up with some sweet and quiet strings, however, it quickly changes into some loud guitars. It definitely sounds like her take on pop-punk in the early 2000s. Since she just turned 18 a few months ago, you could probably guess it’s about your typical problems teenagers will face, especially in high school which many people can probably relate to. She also takes a hit at the music industry with the “It’s brutal out here” line.

traitor tones down the feeling of the album again. If you have heard any of her singles before the album release, this is exactly what I would have pictured the album being like. It’s a very stripped back track with a quiet acoustic guitar and light percussive beats in the background. The chorus opens up slightly more, but not enough to make a huge difference in sound. This could have some connections with the next track, but we’ll get to that later. She basically talks about how she felt betrayed by a past ex and how he was spending his time with another girl when he was still dating Olivia.

It’s the track almost everyone in North America knows by now, drivers license. For whatever reason, I could never get into this track, but I get why a lot of people are able to get into this, especially since it’s relatable for many people. As I said before, there’s probably connections with the previous track moving into this track since she talks about still being in love with her ex. There’s hints that this track is probably about her ex, Joshua Bassett since she mentions “I guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me.”

I have to be honest, when I saw the 1 step forward, 3 steps back, I immediately thought of Not Meant to Be by Theory of a Deadman. I know they only say, “It’s like one step forward and two steps back”, but I immediately thought of that song. I know it’s showing my age, but anyways, back to the track. This is another toned down track with just a piano backing it. By the title of the track, she’s talking about the ups and downs of a relationship. However, since she says three steps back, it seems like there’s more downs than ups in this relationship.

deja vu was another single for the album which has grown on me more than any of the other tracks on the project. While it opens up quiet and doesn’t really seem like it’s going to go anywhere, the first chorus definitely shines through and brings more change and uniqueness to this album. The distorted guitars and synths do it for me, which makes me thing of some current hit indie pop tracks that I have listened to recently. Other than that, it’s probably my favorite from the album.

good 4 u was the last promotional single for the album and was released a week before the album came out. I managed to escape hearing this track before the album, mostly because I knew I would be listening to it for the review. It’s honestly not that bad of a track and opens up with a non-intrusive bass part. You also get a more rock inspired track when the chorus opens up so it’s nice to see some of these more exciting tracks on the album.

After the last explosive track, it comes to a halt with enough for you which is a soft and quiet acoustic track. I’m not really into this track that much, but I can’t complain since it really seems like she’s putting a lot of emotion and feeling into this track. Just digging into this a bit more, Olivia talks about how she was inspired to write this track from some TikTok videos she saw while going through a breakup. Other than that, not too instrumentally complex.

happier opens up with a synth drone, then quickly cuts into a piano ballad with Olivia. Instrumentally, I’m just wanting more and expecting more, especially with the quick bursts of the synth from here and there, but I guess her singing will do for this track. Throughout the track, she’s talking about her ex-lover and how she wants the best for him. However, she always wants to be a memory in his head and can’t let him go.

jealousy, jealousy is another track that opens up with a string bass. I wish it was a bit louder since it’s almost difficult to hear at the beginning. The extra instrumentals that come in during the chorus are fine though. Other than that, her vocal harmonies that she puts together on this track are amazing and add a great deal of energy to this track. Through this track, she talks about the unrealistic standards that society has placed on women.

We have another acoustic track on the album titled favorite crime. Besides just a single acoustic guitar, the thing that really shines out from this track are the vocal harmonies again. Again, this isn’t really my favorite or regular type of track I would listen to, but I’m glad they’re adding the different layers to make it more unique. Olivia seems to reminisce about the times she shared with her ex during the relationship, but also puts the blame on herself since she let him treat her badly.

The final track on the album is hope ur ok. While it does have a guitar, it is a bit more distorted and tuned differently. Both of the verses on this track seem to talk about old friends that she no longer talks to. However, she wonders if they are doing okay since they have disapproving parents and aren’t accepting of who they are. She talks about hoping they are doing better and happier than what they once were when she knew them.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Favorite Tracks: deja vu, good 4 u, jealousy, jealousy

Originally published at on May 28, 2021.

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