Music Diaries

Sour by Olivia Rodrigo

todayNovember 20, 2021 33 1

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Sour by Olivia Rodrigo

According to Rolling Stone, with a whopping 283.7 million streams from the week of May 21st alone, Olivia Rodrigo has skyrocketed to fame in a few short months after releasing her debut album “SOUR.” With the help of TikTok during quarantine, Rodrigo soared to being a household name by playing her soulful and meaningful lyrics for her “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” hit TV show fans from Disney.

Rodrigo’s vision has been to convey heartbreak, anger, sadness and a slew of other emotions that her teen fans can relate to. With the album “SOUR”, at just 18 years old, Rodrigo has been able to delve into the teenage mind and heart and dissect the varying feelings that occur in that coming-of- age era.

With the initial release of her debut single “driver’s license”, Rodrigo was able to create a moment in time encapsulated in the pandemic woes that depicts teenage heartbreak while navigating other teen issues, touching a wide audience.

As for my thoughts on “SOUR,” it takes you on a journey from top to bottom. Starting with “brutal”, it immediately grabs your attention, and it really expresses a lot of those angsty teenage moments. For example, the lyrics “And I’m so caught up in the news/of who likes me and who hates you” kind of plays on social media in my mind. It’s evident that a big inspiration from this album is social media.

After listening to Rodrigo talk in various interviews, , I can see how this theme ties in. 

Olivia Rodrigo

That comparison factor is so prevalent in this album which is something I haven’t necessarily felt connected to in other artists’ work.

Rodrigo dives into those difficult emotions and topics and doesn’t shy away from vulnerability.

“brutal” also parallels well with “jealousy, jealousy”, “happier” and “déjà vu”, really hitting on that comparison theme. In society today, comparison can be a huge battle for people and it’s perpetuated through social media so heavily nowadays. Looking at what others are doing constantly and comparing your life to theirs can create such an unhealthy bond, which Rodrigo addresses throughout the album.

Since I am under the umbrella of Gen Z being a 21-year-old currently, it’s nice to have artists talk about things I can relate to and hit on those topics of not feeling enough. Often, it can be hard to avoid putting your worth into the hands of other people and Rodrigo expresses this through these three songs exceptionally well.


“They say these are the golden years, but I wish I could disappear” was a lyric that really resonated from ‘brutal’ because it relayed the message from older generations that Gen Z is dramatizing things and that they should be appreciative of the golden years.

Something I’ve learned is that just because you are younger, doesn’t mean your feelings are not valid as a teenager.

Olivia Radrigo

Yes, they may be the golden times in some respects; however, in others they may not. Many times, our teenage feelings are much more intense than later in life because we are experiencing them for the first time ever. I love that Rodrigo emphasizes this in her songs and represents a voice for Gen Z.

As for my favorite song on the album, it’s really a tossup because I love all the songs for different reasons. I think “drivers license” is one that I felt an initial connection to when she first released it as a single. The music video was such a nice addition to the song that I can picture every time I listen to it. The song really conveys that intense heartbreak feeling and the lyrics back the message so powerfully.


The lines in the bridge will always be my favorite, both musically and lyrically: “Red lights, stop signs I still see your face in the white cars, front yards can’t drive past the places we used to go to *cause you know I still love you babe” then onto “Sidewalks we crossed I still hear your voice in the traffic we’re laughing over all the noise God, I’m so blue know we’re through but you know I still love you babe.”

To me, this paints such a strong image of that nostalgic feeling where you are reminiscing after heartbreak and picturing all the places you used to go with them. You see them in every car, hear them in traffic, etc., which Rodrigo conveys in such a clear, concise way. It’s almost a haunting feeling and in the music video, the use of the purple neon lighting at night, the cold winter air outside, and the lone car driving down the road reinforces that haunting dimension that heartbreak can follow you around like a ghost. 

When you can’t see or talk to someone you used to be so close with it’s a form of grieving, and it can feel like aching in your heart, which Rodrigo weaves in so accurately in my opinion. It’s a type of frustration that is so hard to comprehend, especially when you’re young and experiencing it for the first time. There are so many broken promises involved with heartbreak and the lyrics “You said forever now I drive alone past your street” bring home that idea of emptiness when you lose someone you care about, a theme that interlaces itself throughout the whole album.

Car on highway

Overall, ‘SOUR’ has topped the charts but also touched my heart and many others’ hearts as it is an artistic masterpiece. It evokes emotions from its listeners and makes people feel like they are less alone in what they are feeling—a success of an album in my book.


Olivia Rodrigo – drivers license (official video) – youtube. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2021, from

Olivia Rodrigo’s (@oliviarodrigo) instagram profile • 117 … (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2021, from (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2021, from

Experience Olivia Rodrigo like never before … – (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2021, from

YouTube. (2021, February 4). Olivia Rodrigo – drivers license (live from the tonight show with Jimmy Fallon/2021). YouTube. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from

Eggertsen, C. (2021, January 21). The players behind Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’: See the full credits. Billboard. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from rodrigo-drivers-license-recording-credits/.

NBCUniversal News Group. (2021, January 19). Olivia Rodrigo Song ‘driver’s license,’ Tiktok heartbreak anthem, debuts at no. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from culture/pop-culture-news/olivia-rodrigo-song-driver-s-license-tiktok-heartbreak-anthem-debuts-n1254750.

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, October 28). Drivers License (song). Wikipedia. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from

Collaborate & Create Amazing Graphic Design for free – CANVA. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2021, from

Blake, E. (2021, June 2). Olivia Rodrigo completes charts sweep atop artists 500. Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from 1176962/.

Written by: Haley Hamel

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About Me

About me Hi, I am Colette Danielski! I am currently a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln pursuing a bachelor's degree in Advertising and Public Relations with minors in English, communications and educational psychology. One thing I am extremely passionate about is music and the arts. I currently serve as president of my a cappella group on campus, The Red Keys music. I additionally manage and create all of our social media posts/advertising works, and I conduct all our photoshoots […]

todayNovember 20, 2021 5 1

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Sour by Olivia Rodrigo

Sour by Olivia Rodrigo According to Rolling Stone, with a whopping 283.7 million streams from the week of May 21st alone, Olivia Rodrigo has skyrocketed to fame in a few short months after releasing her debut album “SOUR.” With the help of TikTok during quarantine, Rodrigo soared to being a […]

todayNovember 20, 2021 33 1

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