When the 17-year-old Olivia Rodrigo released her first single “drivers license” on Jan. 8, the world stopped at its heels. Within three days of its release, it quickly broke Spotify’s record for the most streams of a non-holiday song in a day.
When talking to fans, I being one myself, the question comes up, “Why Olivia Rodrigo?”
She’s towering over artists with twice her experience on the charts, she became the youngest solo female musical guest on the critically acclaimed show Saturday Night Live and she seems to have all of Gen Z hanging onto her every words or lyrics. Perhaps it’s her flawless voice, her Taylor Swift level ingenuity, but the thing that really hits home for me is simple: she’s relatable.
On May 21, Rodrigo released her debut studio album “Sour” featuring her three previous singles along with eight new releases. This album paints a picture of first love, teenage heartbreak and insecurity. While those may not be groundbreaking sources of inspiration, how she chooses to use them to form her masterpiece is.
Heartbreak is not a cut and dry “I’ll just cry it out” type of situation. “Sour” represents this evolution of emotions with so much detail and relatability; it’s sure to have listeners everywhere screaming at the top of their lungs, “You took the words right out of my mouth!”
“traitor” and “drivers license” both show Rodrigo in pure anguish — the “I’m going to eat a gallon of ice cream and become one with my couch” stage, as I like to call it. In these two beautifully written and performed ballads, the shock and pain of a failed relationship, or any type of loss, is front and center.
In “brutal” and “good 4 u,” Rodrigo kicked aside her harrowingly soft and tragic persona, and transformed into an epic, early 2000s inspired pop rock star, perfectly complimenting the bitterness and anger of the two songs.
The final song of the album “hope ur ok” reimagines the stage of grief, acceptance, a construct that many fans believe Rodrigo to have been loosely following with “Sour.” She uses the narrative of her own long-lost friends to convey her understanding and love to the “holes in my butterfly wings,” lyrics from “hope ur ok” by Rodrigo.
This epic, “no skip” album uncovers the raw truths and emotions of heartbreak and loss. Her combination of incredible versatility and immaculate storytelling leaves no doubt in my mind that she will be the artist of the generation.