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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Olivia Rodrigo: Sour

Streaming on Spotify / Music

You couldn’t pay me to be a teenager again—the tears, the text messages, the terror of teetering on the edge of adulthood. That said, it’s nice to remember, from a safe distance, the ferocity of my emotions back then. And to mentally transport you back to that time, there is no better driver than Olivia Rodrigo. In fact, getting her license inspired the then 17-year-old singer (she’s now 18) to write her first single, “Driver’s License,” a fiery torch song for an ex, set along suburban streets. When it debuted in January, the song smashed multiple pop records and many hearts and poised Rodrigo for stardom. She was formerly semi-unknown, an actress on Disney Channel’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, where she met the boy who inspired many of the songs on her just-released album, Sour, and who apparently left her for another co-star on the show (drama!). Rodrigo recounts her many feelings about that love triangle in 11 tracks—in crushing detail and across many sound styles. There are grunge-y guitar hooks to amp up her angriest outbursts, synthy bridges to breakdown her longing, and pared-down finger picking to back lyrics describing tender insecurities—“I wore makeup when we dated / ’Cause I thought you’d like me more.” Electrifyingly relatable, the album will make you want to dig up your old journals and cry your heart out over a boy who you haven’t thought about in years. It rocks. —C.J.F.

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