Olivia Rodrigo, Sour Review
Sour Then, Guts Now: Revisiting Olivia Rodrigo’s Debut Ahead of Her Sophomore Album
Rising pop star Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, released by Geffen Records on May 21, 2021, was a fierce debut, a sonic diary entry written in the key of adolescence, exploding onto the music scene. This ambitious studio album captured the hearts of listeners worldwide, transcending generational divides and reshaping pop music with its complex emotional tapestry and innovative genre fusion. Now, as we eagerly await the release of Rodrigo’s sophomore LP, GUTS, it’s the perfect moment to reflect on the sonic journey that Sour took us on and the stage it sets for Rodrigo’s next musical chapter.
Sour is a complex blend of pop, pop-punk, and bedroom-pop, punctuated with synth-pop, dream-pop, alternative rock, pop-rock, and folk-pop elements. It serves as Rodrigo’s emotional diary, chronicling her journey through heartbreak, angst, longing, and the bitter-sweetness of growing up.
From the electric charge of “brutal” to the melancholic serenade of “drivers license,” Rodrigo invites us into her world—a world that resonates with the universal experiences of heartache, anger, and self-discovery. This relatability, this stark honesty, allowed Sour to resonate with listeners of all ages and influence a plethora of emerging artists seeking fresh soundscapes.
Dan Nigro, the man behind the production curtain, deserves applause for harnessing the raw energy of Rodrigo’s narrative. Assisted by Alexander 23, Taylor Swift, and Jack Antonoff, Nigro crafts a soundscape that complements the narrative journey, providing a platform for Rodrigo’s versatile voice and emotive songwriting. It’s a perfect symbiosis of storytelling and music-making that makes Sour a delectable experience.
Sour shifts gears effortlessly, dancing between fiery anthems like “good 4 u,” ridden with teen vengeance, to introspective pieces like “enough for you,” revealing a vulnerable Rodrigo grappling with self-doubt. Here, she uses musical dynamics to great effect, underlining the emotional journey of her narrative with shifts in volume, something that reminds me of the changing tides of adolescence itself.
Rodrigo’s songwriting is a striking feature of this album, bearing an almost brutal honesty in its rawness. It’s a masterclass in weaving storytelling and music, creating a rich tapestry of emotion that invites the listener to connect, empathize, to remember. As a fellow musician, this is the album’s most compelling aspect.
While Sour solidified Rodrigo’s place in the music industry—debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, achieving triple platinum status, and sweeping the Grammys with three awards—it was merely the prelude to a narrative still unfolding.
Now, two years since Sour left its mark, Rodrigo is gearing up to grace us once more with her sophomore LP, GUTS, set for release on September 8. Said to be an exploration of Rodrigo’s growing pains and her evolving identity, GUTS promises to continue the raw, emotional narrative that Rodrigo has made her signature.
The anticipation for GUTS is palpable. The lead single, “Vampire,” offers a tantalizing taste of what’s to come, and if the positive reviews are anything to go by, we’re in for another deep dive into Rodrigo’s world.
Sour was an experience, a shared journey, a heart-to-heart conversation through melodies and lyrics. As we look forward to GUTS, we find ourselves on the precipice of another emotional exploration, another glimpse into the beautiful mess that is growing up. It’s a world we’re familiar with—a world we’ve either navigated or are currently traversing, making Rodrigo’s music a resonating echo of our own youth. As we eagerly await Rodrigo’s future musical exploits, one thing is clear: this singer-songwriter is just getting started. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Olivia Rodrigo: Website |
May 21, 2021