Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album entitled “Sour” has been making headlines for the past week—and for good reason. The 11-song release features several pop-punk sounding tracks and plenty of emotional ballads. It’s no wonder why Ms. Rodrigo has been receiving so much praise for her music, but how does “Sour” have an even deeper impact on teenage girls and young women?
From a young age, many girls are taught to keep their composure and to not be overly emotional. This is a tough task for those who are forced to navigate the heartbreak, jealousy, and frustration that comes with adolescence. While many teenage girls are made to think it is ideal to denounce vulnerability and adopt a façade of maturity, Olivia Rodrigo does the exact opposite in her music.
In “jealousy, jealousy”, for example, she sings about the envy she feels for others on social media and how she tries to cope with her own issues that stem from constantly comparing herself to them. In tracks like “happier” and “good 4 u” she writes about the struggles of watching the person you love move on to someone new. Finally, in perhaps the most teenage-angst filled song on the album, “brutal” laments the rage and frustration that come along with being a teenager in general.
By listening to these songs, many teenage girls and young women feel understood by having their emotions validated. Our society often makes women feel guilty for having or showing strong emotions, which can lead to the suppression of these feelings. This tendency has been clear in the media portrayal of Taylor Swift throughout her career as a female artist. Even as a teenager, she was criticized for writing too much about love and heartbreak—things that every teenager experiences and can relate to on some level. Due to pushback like this, many girls are afraid that expressing how they feel will make others perceive them as “boy-crazy” or “immature”. This is a layered issue that must continue to be addressed, but albums like “Sour” are already making it easier for teenage girls to express themselves and gain a higher level of self-awareness.
Being sad, mad, in love, and jealous are all normal teenage things to do, and Olivia Rodrigo is doing her part to let people know that.