Music to write to: ‘Sour’ by Olivia Rodrigo

Unless you’ve been living in under a rock, by now you probably have heard of Olivia Rodrigo. The Disney star from High School Musical The Musical Series has already shown off her talents with original tracks written for the series. She also took the internet by storm with her deeply confessional, epic single ‘Drivers License’.

The single took the internet and SNL by storm. Since then, she has released two other songs off her debut album ‘Deja Vu’ and ‘Good 4 u’.

The teen songstress has talked in depth about her love of Taylor Swift, confessional lyrics, and 2000s punk. But prior to the album being released, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Disney popstar.

‘Sour’ is an emotional powerhouse from start to finish, that even with its quieter moments, will leave you sobbing by the end of the record. Rodrigo opens with ‘brutal’ which sounds like the love child of Garbage and Courtney Love.

The dreamy girl from the two debut love songs we’ve heard sings, “I’m so sick of seventeen/where’s my fucking teenage dream”. At first, the anger seems out of place. Olivia Rodrigo’s known for her sweet, bubbly personality. But then I remember the world her generations been brought into.

Riots. A previous presidential administration that was intent on making anyone ‘other’ their enemy. The earth dying as we know it. Racism. Sexism. COVID. Yes, it is BRUTAL OUT THERE as Rodrigo says and its the perfect opening track for Pops new Princess, as it were.

Angry, and disenfranchised, as their generation as more than a right to be.

The album itself somehow manages to come together, despite the fact that Rodrigo plays with sounds and genres. No one track sounds the same and yet the common thread of good songwriting and storytelling links them all together.

A decade ago, an album from a Disney star would have been met with derision. We have come a long way from the likes of Hilary Duff and Selena Gomez sitting in a studio with someone writing songs for them.

These new artists are a generation raised listening to songwriters, and the importance of words, and craft. They’re not just making radio friendly singles to sell. They’re making art, and it shows.

Rodrigo might be sour, but her album is a sweet, pop songwriter delight. And I look forward to what else she has in store.

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