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Olivia Rodrigo’s surprise music video made that Monday morning less “Brutal”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

Ah, yes, Olivia Rodrigo!

The 18-year-old singer-songwriter that everyone is talking about in 2021 since her debut song ‘Driver’s License’ made it number one in the world on Spotify and Apple Music Charts. Many months later, she continues to release incredibly addictive, tear-jerking, and heartwarming songs with themes of breakups, feelings of inadequacy, and hope for better times—things many of us have been through. One of these is her song ‘Brutal,’ which was also made into a music video. In my view, Brutally Brilliant are the perfect words to describe Olivia’s new “Brutal” music video released on August 23rd, 2021.

Throughout the video, she is a beautiful ‘nervous wreck’ dressed up in a ballerina suit in the beginning to then shifting her outward appearance numerous times with her blue wig, orange wig, silver two-piece outfit, and skirts and pig-tails.

For us hardcore fans, this release came as a delightful and exciting surprise when Olivia shared an Instagram post with the caption: “brutal music video out in 10 minutes”. For myself, the aesthetics and energy in the video sure made my Monday morning a lot less ‘brutal.

To give a brief overview of what the ‘brutal’ song is about, this song is about Olivia’s experiences with teenage angst in high school, as these lyrics were written when she was seventeen years old. Lines like “I’m so sick of seventeen,” “I’m not cool, I’m not smart, and I can’t even parallel park,” and “god, it’s brutal out here” all work to express the feelings of anxiety and self-doubt that encompasses growing up.

Let’s start with the fact that this music video uses the digital augmented reality Apple face masks feature that Olivia Rodrigo and Petra Collins, the film director, designed themselves on iPad in collaboration with Apple Music, which was brilliant and unique. This feature dramatically enhances the teenage angst that this ‘brutal’ song is about and visually captivating. Some moments show tears of fire coming from her eyebrows; others show tears spilling from her eyes.

Next, let’s talk about the video game concept used right at the start of the video, where a screen containing the different various faces and outfits of Olivia Rodrigo pops up, with the words “Choose Your Player.” The visuals drew the audience into this virtual simulation of Rodrigo’s angsty mind like a video game.

From then on, we are taken into Rodrigo’s high school classroom, in the middle of traffic (a painfully accurate depiction of L.A life), her teen attic bedroom, and finally back to traffic with her standing onto her car with ballerinas surrounding her.

All this variety of teenage angst scenes in different backdrops successfully amplifies the epitome of what it means to grow up as a teenager in this whacky world, but how ultimately, none of us are alone in this.

Thank you, Olivia, for making so many of us feel understood and taking us back to when we have been in her shoes, reminding us how much we have grown up since those teenage years.

HC Queen's U contributor