Olivia Rodrigo’s “SOUR” is the breakup album for this generation


Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo released “SOUR” on May 21, featuring a colorful album cover. This cover can be seen on merchandise from Olivia’s website and even on the face of a box of limited edition Sour Patch Kids.

From Disney Channel star to chart-topping musician, Olivia Rodrigo has taken the world by storm with her debut album, “SOUR.” Millions of listeners have found solace in the bittersweet sound and relatable lyrics found in the pop album.

“The first song that I heard by her was actually on TikTok,” Izzy Williams (9) said. “I thought she had a really good voice so I started watching ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,’ and I’ve been trying to keep up with all of her music.”

Many people recognize Olivia from her lead role on Disney+’s “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” where fans were first introduced to her vocal talent. At 17, Olivia began work on her debut album, releasing her first single “drivers license” on January 8 of this year.

“I think that is what took her career to where it is today,” Sydney Thornton (11) said. “I don’t think she would be as successful if it had not been for ‘driver’s license’ taking off on TikTok. It spoke to a lot of this generation.”

The prominence of her songs on TikTok has grown her fan base immensely. Olivia released three singles before “SOUR”:  “drivers license” and “deja vu” with almost 2 million TikTok videos each and “good 4 u”  with half a million. 

“Even though a majority of the songs are focused on her breakup, it’s different stages of the grieving process of a breakup,” Thornton said. “There’s the initial shock, then the self consciousness that comes from that, and when he starts moving on and how you feel about that.”

“SOUR” proves to be an emotional breakup album, with songs illustrating the painful experience and its effect on one’s mental well being. Olivia takes us through this personal process, showing all sides of herself, even the selfish ones. The openness expressed in this album allows so many young listeners to relate to it.

“I like how she has multiple genres in it,” Makaylia Walton (11) said. “One of her songs is more on the pop-rock side and a lot of them are slower and some of them are pop. I feel like she is very versatile and is able to reach many different audiences.”

Some songs may hold a sense of familiarity for listeners as one of Olivia’s biggest inspirations is Taylor Swift, sampled in “1 step forward, 3 steps back.’’ What sets “SOUR” apart from other pop albums is Olivia’s ability to sing a range of genres. While the slower paced, somber songs like “traitor” and “happier” are prominent in the album, “good 4 u” and “brutal” offer a punk-pop style of sound. 

“As of now, she’s already reaching record numbers that Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande hit,” Walton said. “I feel like she has the potential to become bigger and better as she progresses and makes more music. Especially since her debut album is successful, I feel like the more she grows as a person and an artist, the more people she’ll reach and the more successful she’ll become as a musician.”

With all 11 songs on “SOUR” remaining high on Spotify’s Top 50 – USA Chart and “driver’s license” and “good 4 u” both having hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, Olivia is well on her way to becoming a pop sensation. Listeners are hoping to hear more from the young musician soon, some even wishing for the pop-punk inspired vocal style to feature in upcoming music. 

“I feel like Olivia definitely has the advantage of starting at an early age and gaining her popularity quicker, ” Williams said. “In the next ten to twenty years, she will definitely be very well known and be a very popular artist.”