February 20 marks Olivia Rodrigo’s 20th birthday… We know, we can’t believe she’s only just turning 20 either!
The talented singer-songwriter made waves with her heartfelt and sincere lyrics when “drivers license” was released back in early 2021. This lyrical candor has become a staple of her music since then, permeating throughout her debut album SOUR. In it, she addressed past relationships, friendships, and the pressures of fame at a young age with impressive maturity. It’s understandable why she resonates with fans of all ages, and we include ourselves in that group!
So, what better way to celebrate Olivia’s birthday than by taking a deep dive into some of those incredible lyrics?
And you’re probably with that blonde girl who always made me doubt
She’s so much older than me, she’s everything I’m insecure about
This is the line that set the internet aflame. Many believe the song is about actress Sabrina Carpenter, who had been spotted with Olivia’s rumored ex. Carpenter seemed to confirm this when she later released a response track titled “Skin,” a song about relishing in the knowledge that your relationship makes your partner’s ex unhappy. The back and forth was exciting to watch, but the beauty of Olivia’s original lyrics is in their simplicity. It’s less a dig at the new girl, and more a reflection on how the breakup impacted Olivia’s self-esteem.
And I’m so tired that I might quit my job, start a new life, and they’d all be so disappointed
‘Cause who am I, if not exploited?
Olivia has been in the entertainment industry since her early teens, previously starring in Bizaardvark on Disney Channel. The pressure of fame is a lot for anyone to bear, but facing that level of scrutiny from a young age must be especially daunting. “brutal” explores this experience in Olivia’s typically honest style. Her lyrics contrast the pressures of stardom with the realities of youth. Luckily, she manages to balance these tricky topics with humor, joking that despite her success she still can’t parallel park.
“hope ur ok”
Does she know how proud I am she was created
With the courage to unlearn all of their hatred
The final song on SOUR sees Olivia reflecting on the people she’s known throughout her life who have faced hardships. Chiefly ones that she didn’t fully understand as a child. This line is aimed at one of the characters who comes from a homophobic household but hasn’t given to their family’s bigotry. This song highlights the singer’s maturity at such a young age, and the lyrics will surely resonate with young fans in similar situations.
Car rides to Malibu, strawberry ice cream, one spoon for two
Strawberry ice cream in Malibu, don’t act like we didn’t do that sh*t, too
This song is full of great lyrical stylings, the greatest of which comes in the final verse’s mirrored lyrics. As the song reaches its climax, Olivia returns to the memories she shared in the first verse. This time, however, the lines are fractured and restructured. They remind us of the start without being an exact recollection, giving the listener their own sense of déjà vu.
And now I’m pickin’ her apart, like cuttin’ her down will make you miss my wretched heart
Many of the songs on SOUR explore difficult emotions that are usually kept under wraps; this honesty is one of the album’s greatest strengths. “happier” focuses on the jealousy and bitterness that follows a failed relationship. Olivia promises she hopes her ex is happy but not happier than he was with her. This line dissects our tendency to compare ourselves to our ‘replacements,’ even though this will do nothing to make our ex want us again. It also hits on the theme of comparison that runs through the album, seen on other tracks such as “jealousy, jealousy” and “enough for you.”
“All I Want”
All I have is myself at the end of the day
And all I want is for that to be okay
Written for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, this song serves a narrative purpose and has a beautiful message outside of that too. Olivia’s character is torn between two love interests but wishes that she could be happy without needing external validation. It’s something a lot of people can surely relate to. These final lines reinforce this idea and leave the listener with hope that she will, in the end, choose herself.
Tune in to SiriusXM Hits 1 (Ch. 2) to hear more of Olivia Rodrigo’s stunning lyrics.
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