If you’ve been on Tik Tok, YouTube, or anywhere on the internet – there is a huge chance you’ve heard of Olivia Rodrigo. Her debut single, drivers license broke countless records, debuting at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This heart-wrenching song has since resonated with people all over the world.
It’s so refreshing to see a young girl from Disney, be met with critical acclaim and praise so early on in her solo career. Yet, at the same time, a lot of focus has seemed to analyze every move from Rodrigo to see how it connects to her co-stars and other Disney colleagues. It is almost like having Mickey ears attached to your past means you will always be compared to that time.
Traditionally, Disney darlings who act on Disney’s Shows also sign with their record label, Hollywood Records. The label’s roster back in the day managed Hilary Duff, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Bridgit Mendler, and Selena Gomez. In the present day, Sofia Carson and Olivia Holt are the only Disney royalty under the Hollywood umbrella. Sabrina Carpenter having been recently signed to Island Records after being with HR since 2014. Rodrigo slipped through HR’s fingers and signed with Geffen Records, owned by Interscope.
Rodrigo currently stars as Nini Salazar-Roberts on Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Olivia’s first gig with Disney was on Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark. I have never seen the show. I only think of Jake Paul flexing about being on the show in 2017…and then now that Olivia has made it big in 2021.
From here on out: I am going to go track by track on Olivia’s new record, “SOUR” and give my first impressions.
The perfect track to start any record. Setting a theme of a body of work is one of the hardest things any artist can do. It can make or break if someone decides to keep listening or not. The song starts with “I want it to be like, messy”. This reminded me of Billie Eilish’s opener to “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO”. “My Invisalign is out and this is the album” followed by laughter from Billie and her brother, Finneas. Being judged on a global scale must be difficult for anyone. I cannot even imagine what it must be like as young as they both are. I cringe even thinking about the judgments I got online back in middle and high school– and Tik Tok wasn’t even a thing then.
It’s no secret that Hollywood is exploitative of children in the industry. Child stars leaving the Disney bubble has become a sick joke. Almost as if media outlets like TMZ and gossip columns waiting for a “breaking point”. Miley caught smoking, Vanessa’s private photos being leaked, and Demi going to rehab. This is just a small insight into the gross obsession of wanting these kids to fail. What do these three incidents have in common? They all were all 18 years old. Olivia calling out the people waiting for her “Disney Girl Gone Wild!” moment is gross and unfair.
A lot of us can relate to someone moving on quickly and feeling like you can’t let go. It doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship, this can also apply to losing a good friend, co-worker, anyone. Even though Olivia is talking about an ex-boyfriend, the pain is a universal feeling.
3: drivers license
This song has already been analyzed to death…but there is a reason why. The bridge is so reminiscent of Lorde’s “Green Light”. Driving is such a routine task that finding something beautiful in the most mundane of things is admirable. I don’t even know what else to say, it’s fantastic. If you haven’t seen the original version of it that fans first got a glimpse of on Instagram, I recommend it.
4: 1 step forward, 3 steps back
Songs like this one are not usually my style. After a few listens, the song has since grown on me. A beautiful sentiment to wanting to move on but feeling as though it is impossible.
5: deja vu
This track is so dreamy, playing on imagining your ex and their new partner, wishing what could have been. I can see myself blasting this song while driving down the highway. The fact that “Glee” and Billy Joel were mentioned in the same song… fantastic.
6: good 4 u
My favorite from the three singles! I wasn’t able to stop hitting the replay button when it came out. It is so easy for this song to get stuck in your head. The music video is everything. I hope one day we get an Olivia/Paramore collaboration or a pop-rock-centered Olivia album.
7: enough for you
That hit like a gut punch. I found someone comparing this line to Phoebe Bridgers’ “Moon Song” and I can’t unsee it. “You couldn’t have / stuck your tongue down the throat of somebody / who loves you more”.
Again, songs like these are not usually my style. If I had to pick a least favorite song, it would be this track. I still like it though!
9: jealousy, jealousy
What a perfect song to add to your self-love/hot girl summer playlist. The title leads you in, thinking it is about jealousy between women over a man. It is actually centered around society’s unrealistic expectations. Scrolling through our Instagram feeds, a lot of celebrities are starting to look less and less like themselves. It was only a few months ago that Khloé Kardashian got upset over an unedited photo of her posted online. We are wired to occasionally feel jealous or envious of other people. Something that you feel insecure about can also be something that your peers are jealous of.
10: favorite crime
Upon reading this song title, I was instantly excited. I wish the song was more upbeat and mischievous feeling – as if she was actually thinking about committing a crime. On Taylor’s “evermore”, I felt let down with no “body, no crime”, and I feel that this song is better, vocally and lyrically.
11: hope ur ok
A possible LGBTQIA+ classic in the making. Ended “You Need To Calm Down”.
The album leaves a great first impression. I have since listened to the album straight through four times since beginning to write this. The whole project can be listened to in 35 minutes, making it digestible and it is a great album to put in the background while you are working or want to be in your feelings. I think it is a fantastic debut and I cannot wait to see what Olivia does next!