permission to print image: Gale
Olivia Rodrigo released her highly anticipated debut album, “SOUR”, on Friday, May 21. Since then, the album has been rising on music charts and trending on multiple social media platforms. Not only that, but its three singles saw massive success, all charting on the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, with two of them, “drivers license” and “good 4 u”, reaching the No. 1 spot.
The 11-song album consists mainly of slow tempo ballads, as well as a few upbeat pop-rock inspired songs, including the first one, titled “brutal”. While the song does not set the overall tone of the album, it is a great lead as it allows Rodrigo to showcase her vocals and draw the audience in from the start.
The emotional ballad “traitor”, arguably the best song in the entire album, follows. Not only are the lyrics extremely well written, but they also allow the listener to feel as though they are experiencing Rodrigo’s heartbreak with her. Furthermore, the instruments and vocals get more intense as the song progresses, creating a sense of emotion for the audience.
Rodrigo’s three successful singles continue the album, with the ballad “1 step forward, 3 steps back” placed in between “drivers license” and “deja vu”. While the ballad is yet another powerful and emotional song from Rodrigo, its placement unfortunately results in it being overshadowed by the three hit singles surrounding it, hindering its ability to be fully appreciated by the audience. It may have been better to spread out the singles throughout the album, in a way that is still cohesive, so that the audience can not only appreciate the other songs more, but so they also don’t feel bored with songs that they have likely already heard in the past.
The second half of the album consists of even more ballads, with the exception of “jealousy, jealousy”, another pop-rock inspired song. While the song provides an upbeat break from the emotionally drowning songs, it fails to meet the standards that were set by “brutal” and “good 4 u”. Both of these songs did a good job at captivating the audience with both the powerful vocals, instruments and overall structure of the songs. “jealousy, jealousy”, on the other hand, feels unnecessarily monotone, likely leaving the listener underwhelmed.
Amongst the rest of the ballads on the latter half of the album, only one particularly stands out: “happier”. The song pairs its powerful lyrics with soft vocals, creating yet another emotion-inducing song that is sure to leave the audience impressed with Rodrigo’s talent.
For the most part, “SOUR” was impressive, especially when considering the fact that it’s Rodrigo’s debut as an up-and-coming artist. The powerful lyrics and vocals were the most outstanding, as they did a good job of telling each song’s individual story and the emotions that accompanied it. There were, however, too many slow tempo ballads. While some of them were very impactful, towards the end of the album they seem a bit overdone. Despite this, “SOUR” is overall a very good album, perhaps the best one of 2021 so far.