How Olivia Rodrigo’s new album represents the stages of grief

The pop star’s debut album radiates pain and loss through a variety of different vibes

Maggie Blackburn, Assistant Editor, Arts & Culture

Olivia Rodrigo’s album“Sour,” which has now accumulated over a billion streams, debuted on May 21. Three of the songs came out before as teasers to the album, and her first song to come out as a solo artist was “driver’s license,” which was released on January 8, and has hit over 830 million streams on its own. 

Rodrigo’s career started on “Bizaardvark,” in which she sang, but they were more funny songs, rather than full of emotion. Then, she appeared on “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” where she had a few solo songs, including “All I Want.” From this she started to grow a fanbase, although nothing compared to now. 

The three singles that were released before the entire album include “driver’s license,” “deja vu” and “good 4 u.” They all have many different sounds, and almost represent different stages of grief. 

Pain- In “driver’s license” Rodrigo’s relationship with a mystery boy had just ended. She is reminiscing about some memories of the relationship. She even goes on to say “cryin’ cause you weren’t around.” 

Jealousy- In “deja vu” she brings up parts of her relationship that are being carried over into her ex’s new relationship. She is jealous, and denies the fact that he moved on, and instead she says things like “that was our place, I found it first” and “she thinks it’s special, but it’s all reused.”

Anger- “good 4 u” definitely has a completely different feeling to the song. She seems angry towards whoever the song is about and says “but you’re so unaffected, I really don’t get it but I guess good for you.”

The entire album consists of 11 songs, starting with “brutal” and closing out with “hope ur ok”- two drastically different songs, as many songs on the album are. “brutal” portrays the harsh reality of adolescence, especially growing up in today’s day in age. On the other hand, “hope ur ok” is a song about LGBTQ+ acceptance, and how Rodrigo recalls growing up closely with two friends who were ridiculed for their sexuality. Fans that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community have claimed to have related to two particular lyrics. These include “His parents cared more about the Bible than being good to their own child” and “Her parents hated who she loved.” 

Theories have been circulating around all different aspects of the album. Are these about her co-star Joshua Bassett? What is next to come? I’m not sure about the first one, but I do have an idea for the second question. To start, Rodrigo has posted clips of love songs she had written on instagram, although they have now been deleted. And hence the name of the album, it only shows the “sour” parts of a relationship. Rodrigo also collaborated with the candy Sour Patch Kids, whose slogan is “Sour Then Sweet.” I believe that we may be able to expect an upcoming album portraying the happy parts of a relationship, the album being titled “Sweet.”