By: Jordan Sarver-Bontrager
Olivia Rodrigo has been one of my favorite pop artists since her 2021 debut album, SOUR, a record that has a diverse sound palette and catchy melodies. It was a very strong debut from Rodrigo, with songs like lead single drivers license, a gut wrenching breakup piano ballad; the fierce and angry good 4 u; and traitor, one of the signature emotional ballads on the album.
There were other standouts, like brutal, deja vu, jealousy, jealousy and favorite crime. Really, the whole album is full of standout tracks. I was worried that Rodrigo’s 2023 release would be an example of artists having a sophomore slump. My hopes for Olivia Rodrigo were high after how great SOUR was, but this album met my expectations and then some.
We open with the headbanging all-american bitch, and the energy keeps up on bad idea right? Then there’s the album’s lead single vampire, which was the only single from this album I listened to, and it might actually be one of the weaker tracks on the album, which says a lot – because it’s a good song. There’s lacy, which reminds me a lot of Heather by Conan Gray. lacy is my favorite type of song: a heartthrob track about unrequited love.
My favorite track on the album is really a tossup between the sad piano ballad logical and the energetic get him back! Both tracks are really good listens and convey a lot of emotion. ballad of a homeschooled girl might be my least favorite, only because it’s the one track on the album that I just don’t remember all that much; it just came and went for me.
making the bed and love is embarrassing are also very solid tracks, with Olivia Rodrigo’s signature pop balladry lining the songs. The album’s final three tracks, the grudge, pretty isn’t pretty and teenage dream, are emotionally resonant and provide the album with a strong ending. the grudge reminds me of drivers license in its sound and lyrics, almost like a sequel.
One thing I’ve always liked about Olivia Rodrigo’s songwriting is her lyricism. She’s honest, and we need more honesty in songwriting. However, I think this album does suffer from lack of originality. I’m thrilled that someone is bringing back the 2000s pop-punk sound and putting their own spin on it, but it’s been done, and it’s nothing groundbreaking. Still, that didn’t keep me from enjoying this album. I’m really pleased by Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore effort. Overall, this album is an 8/10 for me.
Favorite tracks: all american bitch, lacy, logical, get him back! the grudge
Least favorite track: ballad of a homeschooled girl