Driving home 2 u: a look into Rodrigo’s mind and hit album

Annabelle Gentling, Howler Staff Writer

Olivia Rodrigo has made her mark on this world with her breakthrough hit album “Sour,” an angsty teen album about heartbreak and loss. There is no better way to commemorate the chart-topping and seven Grammy nominee album by creating a documentary, a look into her thought process, and reflection on what the album means to her.  

The album is set in a road trip style, beginning in Salt Lake City, Utah where Rodrigo started writing the album Sour and ending in Los Angeles, California, where she finished the album. Giving a detailed look into what each song meant to her. She sang the songs in rock, pop, and indie styles; each a little different than the original versions. This detailed memoir is a breath of fresh air of youthful innocence and navigating things like the first breakup; something many high school students find relatable.

My Review of Sour

I loved the Y2K aesthetic of the album and the songs in it. It felt in a way reminiscent of other heartbreak albums of the early 2000s. The documentary has a very beautiful youthful glow to the entire thing making you feel as if you are going through a heartbreak even though some of us (I’m looking right at me) never have. 

I love how she re-sang her songs but in different locations that meant a lot to her. Such as Hope ur ok, the last song on the album, which was sung in Malibu on the beach. It gave you a dreamy indie ballad fully completed by the waves. 

Another Re-sung masterpiece was “Drivers License” which was not sung in a whole performance atmosphere but rather parts of performances she has done throughout the years. From SNL, iHeartRadio concert, Austin City Limits, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon; and more. Set up in a continued ballad showed the effect “Driver’s License” has, not just on the world but her life. It was masterfully done and was an incredible thing to watch her rise and the way it took the world by storm. 

One of my favorites has to be when she sang “good 4 u” in Red Rock Canyon State Park, California with an orchestra around her. Most would consider that song a more rock-pop anthem, but she made it seem both soft and forceful and it was incredible to hear. 

The second favorite has to be when she sang “favorite crime,” which she said is one of her favorites on the album. She sang it in Arcosanti, Arizona, in what appeared to be a pottery shop. It started in acappella and grew into an amazing guitar-centered song paired with the outside pottery to the stunning vocals. It was simple, and that’s what makes it so special. 

My Critique of Sour 

I would have liked for her to go more in-depth about her creative writing process during the album, how she came up with the album’s theme, and how she decided to include songs and/or cut songs. I felt that the documentary was really short. It almost felt that it was rushing through it. As if they wanted to get it out as soon as possible, instead of really taking the time to deep dive into the songs. 

The only reason I can justify my opinion that they should have gone deeper is because it wasn’t a documentary about her life, but about her album. There is so much more to explore. But, other than that, I really enjoyed Sour and how the road trip theme was like a coming of age story and paired with stunning themes and beautiful visuals. I hope that she releases a new album with how the songs were redone in the documentary; they were so different from her usual sounds and it was an amazing experience.