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  • Kathleen Maurer

Album Review: "Sour" by Olivia Rodrigo

Updated: Jan 6

Since the release of “driver’s license” back in January, the entire world has been obsessed with Olivia Rodrigo. After “driver’s license”, Rodrigo released “dejá vú”. Finally she released “good 4 u” accompanied by the highly anticipated album, SOUR.

SOUR has 11 songs all about heartbreak. She begins with her song “brutal” discussing how brutal her ex was and then she continues that narrative with the next song, “traitor”. “traitor” was very reminiscent of Conan Gray’s “Heather” in the way that the song swells with soft vocals and gentle anger that leads to a quiet chorus ending in one word which in this case is “traitor”. After “traitor”, we get “driver’s license”, “1 step forward, 3 steps back”, “dejá vú”, “good 4 u”, “enough for you”, “happier”, “jealousy, jealousy”, “favorite crime”, and “hope ur ok”.

The album shows a lot of variation in instrumentation and sound however, there is a lot of anger in many of the songs and all involve angst. This was shown through her slow melody but sharp and often quick lyrics. There were a few slow songs like, “traitor”, “enough for you”, “happier”, “favorite crime” and “hope ur ok”. “Hope ur ok” was another Conan Gray sounding song. With both the placement in the album as the last long and the theme of the song being about challenging stories of others, “hope ur ok” is extremely similar to “The Story” by Conan Gray.

Rodrigo’s song “Happier” was one that stuck out to me because the entire song is about how she hopes that her ex is happy but not as happy as Rodrigo is or as her ex was when he was with her. All of these songs have a pretty simple piano and/or guitar based melody that accompanies her vocals.

Her song, “jealousy, jealousy”, was definitely my favorite from the album. It had an alternative sound with notes of a shredded guitar and a simple drum beat that lags and makes the song seem very lax and almost carelessly cool during verses and then the song builds a lot of edge for the chorus. There is also a jazzy piano that adds a really nice unique detail to the song during the bridge and final chorus. It’s definitely the most different from the sorrowful ballads that she gives throughout the album.

Overall, the entire album except for “dejá vú” and “jealousy, jealousy” seem like the same 2 songs played in different styles. “brutal” and “good 4 u” have that quiet, sad start that then breaks into a rage filled alt-pop song filled with electric guitar and noticeable drum patterns. All of the other songs in the album all have slow simple melodies with additions of gentle piano or strings. However, “driver’s license” is the most climactic one so if you’ve heard that, then you’ve heard the best of the slow songs. If you are a fan of Olivia Rodrigo, Conan Gray, or Taylor Swift (because a lot of her songs have a very similar style to folklore and evermore), you would like this album and I would highly recommend that you give it a listen. If you are a casual listener of Olivia Rodrigo, I would just stick with her singles because they pretty much summarize the album and show most of its variation.

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