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  • Cy White

Olivia Rodrigo: Sour

Olivia Rordrigo as a new-to-me artist. I've heard her name around. Even heard her name as it went viral across several platforms. But I never took the time to find out what all the fuss is about. Having heard her voice, I can kind of understand. She has a powerful instrument, a la Hayley Williams. She's certainly made in impression on young girl punks all over the world. It's commendable.

That being said, it really doesn't do much for me. Yes, I appreciate nods to '90s punk and have respect for pop-rock when executed earnestly. But there are too many shades of artists I enjoy who do it better and with far more maturity than what Sour offers.

The album is like a slower, less aggressive version of Jagged Little Pill. Post-breakup anthems that err more on the side of begging for the person back (or for their happiness, but not too happy). In fact, before even realizing what album it came from, I recognized track "deja vu" as a softer, more forgiving rendition of "You Oughta Know." Sour rides the coattails of Morrissette's visceral and biting anthem for a few songs in varying levels of energy before drifting back to self-pity and insecurity. It's teenage angst that's relatable to those more immediately in her age group. Less mature than Morrissette (of course). Less innovative and introspective than Willow.

Rodrigo has a lovely voice. Some of the composition is quite beautiful. To be fair, it's been a while since I've listened to an album that's full-on high school drama. But Sour definitely wears the trope thickly. No character development. No resolution. It's all self-deprecation, wailing over who you perceive as the love of your life. All the stages of teenage infatuation after the bubble bursts: confusion, bitter anger, self-loathing, what-ifs, misguided hatred masquerading as snark, resignation, acceptance. (Until the cycle starts all over when she has to go back to school and see him again.) It's post-high school. Don't expect anything more than that. A young girl in the throes of her angst.

Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with that. And Rodrigo's album diary is certainly earnest. Some of the songs are even good to bop along to every once in a while ("brutal," "good 4 u"). But overall Sour doesn't resonate with me. No more than someone who's been there, done that and moved on.


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