REVIEW: Heartbreak has left Olivia Rodrigo “SOUR”

Olivia Rodrigo’s “SOUR” album makes her the first artist in Billboard Hot 100 history to earn two #1 debuting singles from a debut album.


Photo courtesty of Geffen Records on Spotify.

Kizzy Azcarate, Contributing Writer

Fueled by teen angst, introspection, first heartbreak, and societal pressures, Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album “SOUR” has cemented itself at the top of the Billboard charts.

Rodrigo, an 18-year-old half Filipina actress and singer/songwriter, adds more speculation about her possible relationship with her “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” costar, Joshua Bassett, who seemingly rushed into a relationship with another actress and singer, Sabrina Carpenter.

The alleged relationship first garnered attention when Rodrigo released her first single, “driver’s license.” Currently with over 700 million plays, “driver’s license,” as well as the rest of the album, alludes to the relationship between Bassett and Rodrigo was nothing short of tumultuous and unnerving.  

In her first track, “brutal,” she points out all the flaws and issues she sees happening in her life. 

From loving people she doesn’t like being exploited by those around her, Rodrigo unleashes all the anxieties she has been dealing with since the ending of her first relationship. She explains the inner workings of overnight fame as a result of the narrative that surrounds her previous relationship and Bassett’s alleged current one with Carpenter.

“brutal” is a scream-at-the-top-of-your-lung kind of anthem that allows me to feel a sense of release before I get a first listen to Rodrigo’s wounded heart for the remainder of the album. 

Six out of 11 songs from the album possibly reference the relationship she had with Bassett and allows us an inside look into the intricacies of their relationship.

The most candid songs on the album were “traitor” and “enough for you.” What makes these two songs so candid is how Rodrigo writes that because she loved Bassett, she willingly tried to change to be someone he would like more and, in the process, lost her identity.

In “traitor,” Rodrigo sings about how Bassett may not have cheated but is still guilty for finding a new girlfriend only two weeks after breaking up.

Rodrigo continues with how she was suspicious of the friendship between her former boyfriend and Carpenter, but when she would confront Bassett, he would evade her questions and call her “paranoid.”

In “enough for you” Rodrigo goes more in-depth about how insecure she was in the relationship.

She only scratches the surface here, but she sings about how she isn’t beautiful in the traditional sense and how she tried to make up for it in other ways. 

In the first verse of “enough for you,” she sang:

I wore makeup when we dated

‘Cause I thought you’d like me more

If I looked like the other prom queens

I know that you loved before

Tried so hard to be everything that you liked.

Rodrigo is half Filipina and was left for a white woman, which reinforced the fears that many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) feel when getting into an interracial relationship.

“enough for you” unveils the realization that no matter how much makeup she wore, books she read, and details she remembered, her ex-boyfriend would never think she was enough.

Throughout the album, Rodrigo reminds you of the first stitched-up wound that was left on one’s heart from a first love.

Her songwriting is so vulnerable and direct that it brought up past insecurities in my own life. I remember thinking that if only I weighed this much or if I were only that much funnier then he’d love me.

This is an incredible album that encompasses the self-deprecation, angst, and reconciliation that comes with young adolescents.

This album also demonstrates how naive and inexperienced Rodrigo is when it comes to love. She sings about wanting herself back after the breakup because she has idealized her partner and perceives that she is losing herself in order to maintain the relationship. 

The older you get, the more secure you feel. Losing yourself is the worst sacrifice one can make when it comes to love, so many people adapt to being alone rather than compromising themselves.

However, Rodrigo shows an insurmountable well of knowledge on track eight, “happier.” 

Possibly due to being brought up in a new wave of feminism, Rodrigo decides not to slander or belittle Carpenter in any of the breakup songs on “SOUR.”.

Instead, in the last lines of the first verse of  “happier,” Rodrigo acknowledges that Carpenter is “so sweet” and “so pretty,” but still hopes those traits don’t eclipse her and their previous relationship in Bassett’s memory.

Rodrigo refraining from tearing down another woman takes immense self-control and humility that not many people are willing to extend when they’ve been left for someone else.

While this relationship may have left her “SOUR,” Rodrigo has already received high praise from her idols and contemporaries like Taylor Swift, Nick Jonas, and Cardi B.

I predict that we’ll be hearing “Olivia Rodrigo” being announced at the 64th Grammy Awards next January.

Kizzy Azcarate is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, tweet her @Kizzy_kinz or [email protected]