Olivia Rodrigo has received widespread acclaim for her new album ‘SOUR’. Her tale of heartbreak and jealousy is such a relatable concept that anyone who has ever suffered the pain of a break-up can resonate with it.
As a teenage woman trying to break into the music industry, Rodrigo is being compared to artists such as Taylor Swift – her musical inspiration – and Avril Lavigne, who made their debuts whilst they were in their teens.
When it comes to Taylor Swift, it is not hard to draw comparisons between the two artists as there are many parallels between their works.
The first comparison comes in the form of Rodrigo’s second released single ‘Déjà Vu’. The song’s bridge was inspired by ‘Cruel Summer’ – from Swift’s 2019 album ‘Lover’ – which Rodrigo mentioned in an interview with Rolling Stone prior to SOUR’s release.
Rodrigo took this one step further, pun fully intended, with her song ‘1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back.’
On the track, her team gave writing credits to Swift and the star’s long-term collaborator Jack Antonoff, despite the duo having no role in the composition.
Interpolation was used, however, on sections of Swift’s ‘New Year’s Day’, while Rodrigo has been clear in her admiration for Swift in the past.
In the process of these credits, there has been something of a success at the top of the charts.
Since SOUR’s release on 21 May, Rodrigo has leapfrogged Swift to become the top-selling artist on all digital platforms, part of a stellar year so far for the Californian.
Avril Lavigne is a completely different story, as her music today includes themes of self-belief and empowerment from the perspective of a woman – not that of a teenage girl, as on her debut in 2002.
Despite the maturity of Rodrigo’s lyrics by comparison and the way in which she is dealing with her heartbreak, at the end of the day, the ‘High School Musical’ alumnus is still an 18-year-old girl.
Artists produce the best content, it is said, when they take inspiration from what they know. Rodrigo is doing just that, using the emotions that she is feeling in that moment in time, and using that to produce inspiration for her songs.
It is no secret that Rodrigo’s album is a break-up album, with each song signalling a stage of the emotions involved, such as anger and betrayal. However, if you look closely at the songs, a lot of them focus on her insecurities as a person and how life is not turning out the way she wanted.
This may be due to various extenuating circumstances and could have nothing to do with her ‘alleged’ relationship with Joshua Bassett. Instead, it may concentrate on her relationships with other former co-stars, friends or family.
In her song, ‘Hope Ur OK’, it is believed that Rodrigo is talking about many people from her life, mainly the past, and how she has lost contact with them but hopes they are doing well.
True heartbreak is a theme that is frequently used by artists to bring passion to their songs and make their listeners feel the pain they do; fully immersing them in the experience.
When I think of heartbreak in the music industry, my mind tends to wander towards country music. However, others may instantly think of another genre.
Personally, I think that it has been easier for young female artists to be open about their relationships since the creation of social media.
I think that Rodrigo has changed the face of music, not because it is easier today for young women to speak about their relationships. Instead, I think that she has changed the face of music through her album SOUR including various genres throughout.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Feature Image Credit: The Walt Disney Company