Olivia Rodrigo’s name is everywhere – in our daily conversations, in the headlines, our Spotify playlists, and especially the charts! To say that Olivia is dominating the charts would be a massive understatement. Her debut album, SOUR, consists of 11 songs, and all 11 of her songs are on Singapore’s Top 50 list. In fact, they’ve all clinched their spots in the Top 35!
It’s an impressive feat for the 18-year-old debutante singer-songwriter, who co-wrote the entire album. She injected her past experiences of heartbreak and comeuppance into her music, hoping to inspire her listeners.
“There’s nothing like sitting at the piano in my bedroom and writing a really sad song. It’s truly my favourite thing in the world; it’s so inspiring to see my music affect people and maybe help them to feel less alone too,” Olivia shared.
Her debut single, “drivers license”, was the first this year to be RIAA-certified as Gold, Platinum, double and triple-Platinum! Her single set the tone of what Olivia’s sound is as her raw self-expression rocked everyone to their core. This song also put Olivia in the spotlight, along with her ex, Joshua Bassett, and his now-ex but then-girlfriend, Sabrina Carpenter. Confusing, huh! The drama had blown up, and the heat was on!
I won’t lie though, the whole drama kind of turned me off a little. Don’t get me wrong! She is talented beyond what words can express, but I just wonder if this beef contributed to Olivia’s immense success.
Even now, as I listen to the new songs and their lyrics, rather than enjoying it, I find myself wondering whether this was related to the other two artists. It started feeling like her shadiness was overpowering the true meaning and authenticity of the songs, just because of how she started out.
But what can’t hurt you, makes you stronger. And oh boy, does it for Olivia Rodrigo!
To me, a song’s lyrics are just as important as the vocals because they all work together to deliver the narrative the songwriter has intended. Today, I will share what I feel about each song and the perfect time or mood for you to listen to this. Well, here’s the review!
Right off the bat, you know it’s a unique sound. It has a very alternate-rock vibe, and we see Olivia Rodrigo in a new form. The lyrics have so much depth and sound like every Gen Z’s anthem! I love how she channelled what every teenager of this time and age feels and experiences. It’s bold, unique, and different, but I’m not sure I like it here. This song is out of my comfort zone, but it truly is a banging way to start off an album. The lyrics are fantastic, but I’m sure I would have loved it even more if it was in another genre or style.
Mood: When you feel angry or misunderstood because Olivia’s got your back.
This had to be one of my favourites. You just know when a song starts off with the most mesmerising harmonies as this one did, it has to be amazing. This song felt like a page out of Olivia’s personal diary, where she lets out everything she’s been feeling about an inevitable break-up. It sort of reminds me of Taylor Swift, but it’s not surprising because Taylor has been her generation’s icon. The instrumentals beautifully complemented the emotions of heartbreak and hurt, oozing out her vocals and lyrics. But this is one of the songs I couldn’t help but wonder if it was about her ex, Joshua Bassett. It threw me off from the main course, and I didn’t like that. Nonetheless, this song is a treat to listen to any day.
Mood: When you’re simply feeling down or sad, you need a song to somehow feed that sadness. This song definitely puts you in your feels.
Does this song even need an introduction? It is GenZs’ heartbreak anthem of 2021. The expression of heartbreak in these lyrics is so uniquely beautiful.
Mood: Anytime at all! It serves as a good jam and the perfect song for karaoke with your friends (whenever that’s possible again!).
1 step forward, 3 steps back
This song is all about the lyrics. I truly enjoyed living the persona’s perspective of love, not even realising she was in a toxic relationship. The gentle piano accompanied the lyrics, providing so much depth to the story that Olivia was sharing – the piano’s intonation throughout the song kind of represented the ups and downs of this toxic relationship. It wasn’t one of the best songs, in my opinion, but it does have a story worth listening to.
Mood: You have to listen to this on a rainy day! I can just imagine it – you’re looking out the window, staring into the night rain, as this song plays in the background.
This is also one of the most unique songs on the album. It also happens to be one of my favourites. Once again, could this be another jab at her ex? Well. One thing I absolutely adore about Olivia Rodrigo and this song specifically, is how she really invests her emotions into the song. She almost yells at the most infuriating parts of the story she’s singing.
Mood: Honestly, when you’re in the mood for some straight-up sass! You can’t help but feel proud of the persona, and you just keep saying, “You tell ‘em!”. It’s also perfect when you’re feeling the effects of a recent heartbreak because these lyrics are so empowering and strengthening.
good 4 u
Is it bad that this song makes me smile? I mean, Olivia is so savage in this song; I love it! It’s like I can imagine her rolling her eyes at the way she vocalises specific lyrics. When she goes off in the chorus, make sure your volume is up to the max to truly enjoy this song to its fullest potential!
Mood: This is probably the only song from this album that I think genuinely made me smile. Her savagery is just brilliant. It’s also a great song to dance out your emotions, too, if you ever need to dance it out like Meredith and Cristina in Grey’s Anatomy!
enough for you
I won’t lie; this was one of my least favourite songs on the album. It didn’t stand out to me in any way. In terms of lyrics and style, it simply sounded like a combination of the previous six songs.
Mood: This is one of the songs I would like to have played in the background as I do some work or simply vibe to.
I simply adore this one. Olivia’s melodic voice takes the spotlight in this song. She seems to be sharing her vulnerability, and I’m all for it. I can already imagine this in a massive concert venue – Olivia is singing her heart out, and everyone in the crowd is singing along with her as tears stream down their faces, as suppressed memories of a painful break-up reach for the surface. This feeling after breaking up with someone – hoping they won’t find someone better, hoping they won’t be happier – it always feels so selfish. But putting it in a song like this sort of validates that feeling and brings across a sense of contentment and satisfaction about not being the only one to feel this way.
Mood: This one’s for all the shower concerts.
This was such a refreshing song lyric-wise. This is one of the very few songs in this album that doesn’t focus on heartbreak, and I appreciate the diversion. I love how she took the opportunity to dedicate a song to the teenage insecurities that stem from unrealistic beauty standards of society and the too-good-to-be-true Instagram feeds we often see. However, the song itself wasn’t awe-inspiring. I was also kind of disappointed to see how this song, one with such an important message for our generation, was ranked second lowest among all 11 songs. I wish something could have been done to make the song more memorable and impactful because it’s such a shame for the value the lyrics hold.
Mood: This one is a good pick-me-up for the days you feel less than amazing. Otherwise, I actually think this song should be one you hear anytime, anywhere, because the message is so important.
This one didn’t take my breath away or anything, but I still appreciate a song with well-written lyrics and lovely vocals. I liked how the crime motif was held throughout the song. It made the storyline fascinating. I enjoyed the change of tempo, which makes the song more captivating. That’s about it, though.
Mood: This one is for those late nights, after midnight hours, when you just want to listen to some slow, sad music.
hope ur ok
This song, wow. It had such a riveting story! Make sure to keep your ears peeled for this one because this has got to be the most important track, with the most crucial reminder every human needs. The lyrics are so empowering, and I developed a greater respect for Olivia Rodrigo because of this song.
Well, I hope you know how proud I am that you were created.
With the courage to unlearn all of their hatred.
But, God, I hope that you’re happier today,
‘Cause I love you,
And I hope that you’re okay.
Mood: I think that it’s so sad we need to be reminded of these things. To me, that is true heartbreak. But if you’re ever looking for the right words to hear on any given day to cheer you up, or to make you feel better, this is it.
There it is, folks! 11 songs, 11 brief reviews! Before writing this, I did some research and found that fans discovered something that blew my mind, to say the least.
They believe that the 11 songs take the shape of the seven stages of grief. According to Healthline, the seven stages are:
- Shock and denial
- Pain and guilt
- Anger and bargaining
- The upward turn
- Reconstruction and working through
- Acceptance and hope
When you relook at the songs and their stories, they really do match! I love the attention to detail.
My biggest complaint about Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album would have to be the awkward number of break-up songs. I couldn’t see the variety in the album, and it started to feel repetitive. They were all expressing the same things in different ways. Olivia herself mentioned in an interview once that she did not want to be dubbed the ‘Heartbreak Girl’, but how could she not, with more than half her songs talking about heartbreak?
Individually, the songs are great, and some were out of this world. But when they came together in an album, I was a little disappointed. Olivia’s raw talent in singing and songwriting is undeniable, but they eventually sounded the same in this album. She didn’t explore much.
But then again, this is merely the beginning of a long career ahead. She’s just 18, and she has spun works of this calibre already? I can’t even begin to imagine what she will create in the future. I just hope to see her delving into more styles and genres and exploring her sound.
Well Olivia, we see you, and we’re ready for more! What more do you have in store for us? Till next time, till your next story.
Visuals courtesy of Universal Music Singapore and Olivia Rodrigo.