‘Hope ur ok’ after hearing Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘SOUR’

Sophia Rocha

Originally emerging as a Disney Channel star on shows “Bizaardvark” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” Olivia Rodrigo has recently evolved into one of the biggest new music artists of this generation. In January, she released her debut single, “drivers license,” which shot up to number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles less than a week after its release, garnering more than 76 million listens during that time and breaking records on Spotify and Amazon Music as well. Part of her success for this particular single came from the attention it received on TikTok, as the bridge featuring lyrics “Red lights/stop signs/I still see your face in the white cars,” started a popular trend that many creators took part in. Since the release of “drivers license,” Rodrigo released two more singles: “deja vu” on April 1 and “good 4 u” on May 14, which only made fans’ anticipation grow for the full 11 song album, titled “SOUR,” which was released on May 21.

Coming to fame as an actress in several Disney shows, Rodrigo faces success in the music industry as well. (Getty Images)

The album kicks off with “brutal,” the ultimate teenage angst song that is certain to be blasted in many cars throughout the summer. With lyrics like “I’m so sick of 17/Where’s my f***in’ teenage dream?” and “I’m not cool and I’m not smart/And I can’t even parallel park,” listeners are reminded that Rodrigo is only 18-years-old, making “SOUR” immediately relatable to her high school-aged fans. After the upbeat, aggressiveness of “brutal,” Rodrigo pulls a full 180 with the next song, “traitor,” a sad, tear-inducing melody played mostly on piano with a slow drum beat and guitar coming in on the first chorus. “Traitor” proves to be one of the most expressive songs of the album, showing off Rodrigo’s impeccable vocal skills. 

After appearing at the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, “good 4 u” made Rodrigo the first artist in history to debut her first three singles in the top 10. This song provides a similar fast-paced feel to “brutal,” while telling the story of watching an ex-partner move on and living a better life. With the final chorus sporting the lyrics, “Good for you/You’re doing great out there without me, baby/Like a damn sociopath,” this song is sure to make you feel angry, even if it’s at someone who doesn’t exist. 

Some fans were expecting a more upbeat album in general after hearing the single “good 4 u,” so it came as a surprise to many when a majority of the songs on the album had slower melodies and more somber stories. For example, the album’s closer, “hope ur ok” centers around Rodrigo telling the stories of people that she lost touch with who needed her support the most. Mentioning a boy whose parents didn’t care for him enough, along with a middle school friend who raised her siblings and also had absent parents, Rodrigo reflects on her regret of not checking in on them as much as she should have, and makes listeners feel that same regret. To close off the song, she sings the lyric, “God, I hope that you’re happier today/Cause I love you/And I hope that you’re okay,” in a wispy voice that could make your heart break. 

Rodrigo performs singles “drivers license” and “good 4 u” on Saturday Night Live before her album release. (Getty Images)

Although it’s important to note Rodrigo’s talent both lyrically and vocally, Rodrigo herself has attributed much of her success to other women in the music industry who inspire her. Most fans of Rodrigo know about her obsession with Taylor Swift, (me too, girl) and the first chord progression of “1 step forward, 3 steps back” may sound familiar to other Swifties. If you can’t quite put your finger on it, take a listen to Swift’s song “New Year’s Day” off of her album “reputation,” released in 2017. Although the songs are clearly different, it is very noticeable that “1 step forward, 3 steps back” is an interpolation of Swift’s song, meaning Rodrigo intentionally copied the song but placed her own spin on it. Fans of both artists also noticed that the bridge of Rodrigo’s single “deja vu” sounded very reminiscent of Swift’s single “Cruel Summer” from her album “Lover,” released in 2019, prompting mashups of the two songs, making the perfect blend.

Unfortunately for fans, Rodrigo didn’t drop any music videos — other than the three she had already released for her first three singles — and instead posted lyric videos for the other songs on the album. All the lyric videos follow the similar theme of a scrapbook that the album cover has: the lyrics appear in a font resembling handwriting and images of Rodrigo throughout the videos look cut out and pasted onto the page. Considering how young and new to music Rodrigo is, “SOUR” is surprisingly well done and cohesive; Rodrigo’s future in the music industry looks promising as fans are already anticipating her next album.

Just a few days after its release, all 11 songs from “SOUR” made Spotify’s Top 50 globally as well as in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, making Rodrigo join Ariana Grande as the only female artist to place all their tracks in the top 20 on these charts. Filled with upbeat anthems that make you want to scream the lyrics, to slow ballads that make you want to bawl your eyes out, “SOUR” is the perfect album to turn on no matter what you’re in the mood for.