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by Olivia Rodrigo

Released May 21, 2021 via Geffen Records

Reviewed June 1, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
good 4 u (64%), brutal (47%), deja vu (38%)

If there is a word to describe Olivia Rodrigo’s Luka Doncic-esque rookie effort, SOUR, it’s emotional. From her powerful voice to the overly dramatic lyrics, the emotion gets turned up to 11 and fits the theme of teenage angst like a glove. It’s been a few months since she released “drivers license,” yet she’s been able to make it out of the shadow of the biggest song of 2021 and oodles of Taylor Swift/Lorde comparisons to form her own identity. The only complaint is that there are too many ballads, and since they’re about the same topic, it can get mundane. But Rodrigo’s strong songwriting and the relatively short length save it from falling off the deep end. SOUR shows potential, and it’ll be interesting to see how she moves forward with new themes and if she fully explores the pop-rock/punk sound that yielded her the best results. – Alan (8.3/10)

Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album, SOUR, has catapulted the singer-songwriter and actress into the spotlight, thanks in part to the TikTok virality of singles “drivers license,” “deja vu,” and “good 4 u.” Looking beyond these viral sensations and their associated TikTok trends, SOUR offers up a more complex narrative than one would be led to believe. 18-year-old Rodrigo brilliantly captures the volatile emotions that come alongside teenage heartbreak, highlighting her experiences with self-doubt, anxiety, anger, and more emotions that women are typically shamed for experiencing in an honest, genuine, and admirable manner. With a mixture of soft ballads, punchy pop-punk-esque cuts, and straight-up bops, SOUR’s production is varied enough to prevent Rodrigo from being boxed into anything other than one of pop’s biggest rising stars. – Dominick (8.3/10)

SOUR delivers an insatiable craving for more, which seems like a good thing, but subsequent listens don’t pack the same punch. Rather, the influences that Olivia Rodrigo wears on her sleeve were the only ones that could satisfy. Rodrigo mimics Lorde in the album’s most tentative moments, and when things get “brutal,” Paramore comes to mind, though the angst is less organic here. The lyrics are generally even more derivative, but at least they’re executed in interesting ways. Two examples are “deja vu,” which features a catchy, muffled G-funk-esque synth refrain while drawing parallels between an ex’s previous and current relationship, and the viral hit “driver’s license,” which is comparably sobered with a rewarding and impeccable structure. It’s impossible to describe SOUR as a safe move due to its split sonic palette, but because it tapers off forgettably at the end with over-prominent influences, the album will likely struggle to maintain longevity outside the Disney child-star stanbase. An intriguing, decent first effort, flexing production from Daniel Nigro (highlights include Sky Ferreira’s Night Time, My Time and Caroline Polachek’s Pang), SOUR probably would’ve been a solid EP introducing us to Rodrigo’s formal career. – Cam (6.8/10)

Alan: 8.3/10 | Dominick: 8.3/10 | Pax: 8/10 | Victoria: 8/10 | Daniel: 7.5/10

DeVán: 7/10 | Cam: 6.5/10 | Peter: 4/10 | Ben (Synth): 3/10


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