There’s nothing like an “unskippable album.” One where every track is so good that you can listen to the entire thing from front to back with zero issue. With how subjective music can be, and how hard it is to produce consistent, high-quality work, these projects are few and far between. However, singer Olivia Rodrigo has given me an unskippable album in SOUR. What’s even crazier, it’s just her debut.
I did not buy into the hype surrounding Olivia Rodrigo when she released her first single “Driver’s License” earlier this year. In fact, I hadn’t heard the song in its entirety until a few days ago. I was looking for some new tunes to bump while working, and had heard a decent amount of buzz around the newly-released album, so I figured I’d give SOUR a spin. 35 minutes later, I was obsessed.
Every song is so beautifully written, as I later learned Rodrigo penned most of the songs while at home during the pandemic, and with her producer Dan Nigro. What really struck me about SOUR was how versatile it was. Songs like “good 4 u” and “brutal” remind me of Paramore, and I would’ve believed you if you said that it was Hayley Williams on the microphone. But then there’s songs like “traitor” and “happier” that are just so raw, just as gorgeously written as they are sung by Rodrigo.
The way that Olivia Rodrigo seamlessly weaves together pop anthems with heartbreak ballads is really impressive. I think my favorite track on the record is “deja vu,” a song about what it’s like to see an old flame doing all of the things you used to do together, but with somebody else. There’s something about how specific and honest the song is that makes it feel so personal.
I am far from a music aficionado, and have a very baseline understanding of the medium and its history. What I do know, however, is that I haven’t had a debut album from an artist stick with me like this since Logic’s “Under Pressure” in 2014, or Ariana Grande’s “Yours Truly” back in 2013. SOUR is an instant classic, and it's one that I’ll keep revisiting for years to come.