Saturday, June 5, 2021

Olivia Rodrigo Sour hit #1


Olivia Rodrigo

Released: May 21, 2021

Peak: 15 US, 15 UK, 110 CN, 18 AU

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.6 UK, 4.58 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. Brutal (6/5/21, 12 US, 29 AR, 13 CN, 12 AU)
  2. Traitor (6/5/21, 9 US, 23 AC, 15 A40, 5 UK, 9 CN, 5 AU)
  3. Drivers License (1/8/21, 18 US, 16 RR, 9 AC, 14 A40, 19 UK, 17 CN, 16 AU, 7 DF)
  4. 1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back (6/5/21, 19 US, 17 US, 18 AU)
  5. Déjà Vu (4/1/21, 3 US, 19 AC)
  6. Good 4 U (5/14/21, 11 US, 16 RR, 12 AC, 11 A40, 15 UK, 16 CN, 14 AU, 12 DF)
  7. Enough for You (6/5/21, 14 US, 14 CN, 14 AU)
  8. Happer (6/5/21, 15 US, 15 CN, 15 AU)
  9. Jealousy, Jealousy (6/5/21, 24 US, 36 UK, 21 CN, 22 AU)
  10. Favorite Crime (6/5/21, 16 US, 17 UK, 14 CN, 13 AU)
  11. Hope Ur Ok (6/5/21, 29 US, 23 CN, 23 AU)

Total Running Time: 34:41


4.077 out of 5.00 (average of 33 ratings)


“A collection of polished, precociously accomplished pop that doubles as one of the most gratifyingly undignified breakup albums ever made.” – Rachel Aroesti, The Guardian


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

At the beginning of January 2021, Olivia Rodrigo “was playing in the celebrity minor leagues, the not-quite-18-year-old star of the Disney+ show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” PF By month’s end, she “had smashed streaming records and blanketed TikTok with her debut single, Drivers License, a piano-driven power ballad steeped in suburban malaise and teen anguish,” PF “written among the ruins of first love.” GN

It had the biggest first week for any song ever on Spotify and went on to reach 100 million streams faster than any song in history. GN It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent eight weeks at the pinnacle. The magazine called it “one of the most dominant number-one songs of the last 30 years” WK and, at year’s end, named it the song of the year.

The song also landed Grammy nominations for Song and Record of the Year and won for Best Pop Solo Performance. Rodrigo also proved to be a commercial and critical juggernaut beyond “Drivers License.” The follow-up singles, Déjà Vu and Good 4 U, debuted at #8 and #1 respectively, making Rodrigo the first artist in history to have her first three chart entries debut in the top ten. WK

Those three singles preceded the release of Sour, setting it up for the biggest opening week on Spotify for a female artist. WK It topped the album chart and was named album of the year by Billboard and Rolling Stone. It also won the Juno International Album of the Year award and got Grammy attention, securing a nod for Best Album and a win for Best Pop Vocal Album. She also took home the coveted Best New Artist prize.

Rodrigo said the album title referred to the “emotions young people experience but are often criticized for, such as anger, jealousy, and unhappiness.” WK “Writing a whole album about how furious and devastated you are that your ex has forgotten you seems like the sort of thing any good friend would strongly advise against,” GN but Sour is “a nimble and lightly chaotic grab bag of breakup tunes, filled with both melancholy and mischief.” PF She does it all without resorting to “the meaningless word salad that popstars often hide behind.” GN

She uses the “angsty and uptempo” WK Brutal “to rattle off her grievances: self-doubt, impossible expectations, her inability to parallel park.” PF The “sweet-and-sour ballad HappierPF features “lyrics admitting selfishness and exuding self-criticism” WK as “she grapples with the faulty narrative of female rivalry.” PF

Traitor is “an indie pop ballad with a folk instrumental” WK and lyrics about “post-grief anger and bargaining.” WK Enough for You is “a minimal bedroom pop song” WK about being “very insecure and vulnerable.” WK Favorite Crime is an indie pop song with a “thinly veiled Bonnie and Clyde-type metaphor.” WK

“Like any teenager, Rodrigo is trying on identities.” PF She said, “My dream is to have it be an intersection between mainstream pop, folk music, and alternative pop.” WK “Brutal” is “anthemic 90s alt-rock…in the vein of the Breeders ‘Cannonball.’” GN On “Good 4 U” one “might hear pop punk fireworks à la Paramore” PF while 1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back offers “dewy-eyed soft balladry à la Ingrid Michaelson” PF and Jealousy, Jealousy serves up “alt-rock squall à la the Kills.” PF

Rodrigo has cited Alanis Morissette, Kacey Musgraves, No Doubt, and the White Stripes as influences WK but has “most obviously styled herself after Taylor Swift.” PF She “treats emotional turmoil like jet fuel, and laces her lyrics with specifics – a Billy Joel song she and her ex listened to together, the self-help books she read to impress him.” PF “1 Step Forward” interpolates Swift’s “New Year’s Day” PF and “Déjà Vu” was inspired by Swifty’s “Cruel Summer.”

On Hope Ur Ok, Rodrigo “steps away from…self-referential narratives to secondhand stories from her friends.” WK “Over a twinkly instrumental, Rodrigo sings directly to a victim of child abuse, a queer girl rejected by her family, and to outcasts more broadly.” PF “It reads as a last-minute effort to demonstrate perspective and maturity.” PF “It’s as close to a palate cleanser as a song with such a cloying sentiment can get, but thankfully doesn’t overshadow the glorious myopia of Sour.” GN

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First posted 2/17/2023.

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