Ranking Every Song on Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour Album


Kate Stuzin, Managing Editor

This past Friday, Olivia Rodrigo released her highly anticipated album “Sour.” She came into the spotlight through her first big role on Disney+’s “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and gained a larger following when her debut single, “drivers license,” smashed streaming records. 

Below is my ranking of the 11-song album:

1. traitor

The layered harmonies combined with Rodrigo’s heart-wrenching lyrics puts this song at the top. “It took you two weeks to go off and date her/ Guess you didn’t cheat, but you’re still a traitor” embodies this complex pain that she felt throughout and after her failed relationship. The relationship had gone sour (pun intended) well before it ended. Her partner’s “little white lies” serve as false reassurance and confirm Rodrigo’s seemingly irrational paranoia once he quickly got into a relationship with his so-called friend after ending it with Rodrigo. The raw emotion surrounding this ultimate betrayal is just all too relatable. This is the perfect song for heartbroken teens across the nation to sing-scream at the top of their lungs after experiencing a tormenting breakup similar to Rodrigo’s. 

2. favorite crime

One of the less literal songs in the album, the extended Bonnie and Clyde-esque metaphor aids in describing the red flags in Rodrigo’s past relationship. The song begins with lyrics like “cause I was going down, but I was doing it with you,” leaving Rodrigo entangled in the mess her partner left behind. The harmonies in the final chorus build and build, delivering one of the best vocal performances on the album. In the last lines of the song, “I hope I was your favorite crime, cause baby you were mine,” symbolizes how she has finally stepped out of the wreckage and does not regret the relationship as much as she previously thought. 

This story is sponsored by Enhanced Prep.

3. good 4 u

This punk pop-rock song acts as a revival of the early 2000s music that I adore. It seems to draw inspiration from Paramore’s “Misery Business” and the soundtrack from the movie “Jennifer’s Body,” which allows Rodrigo to pull together her teen angst and call out whoever treated her so badly. I see the song as a response to how society expects people to feel after a breakup: to feel happy for your ex or that you will get over it. Rodrigo tries to find comfort in these words yet she cannot pretend any longer…“maybe [she’s] too emotional,” or maybe there is nothing wrong with having trouble moving on.  It is human to feel resentment and grief after a relationship, and Rodrigo allows herself to express that through her lyrics “well screw that, and screw you!” 

4. hope ur ok

This song takes an entirely different approach than the rest on her album. The narrative reads like the letter and tells the stories of her two childhood friends: one struggling with abuse and the other with their family’s rejection of their sexuality. The memories fade into each other, represented by the lack of a chorus to separate them. She sends off her friends by saying “God, I hope that you’re happier today/ ‘Cause I love you, and I hope that you’re okay,” with many fans planning on repeating “I love you” back to Rodrigo once she goes on tour as a token of appreciation. Her album personifies a sour patch and, in the same way, this song allows the album to end off on a sweet note. 

5. 1 step forward, 3 steps back

As a major Swiftie, I felt a bit confused when I first heard this song as the piano intro made me expect to hear Taylor Swift singing “There’s glitter on the floor after the party.” Once I looked at the song credits and realized Rodrigo decided to interpolate Swift’s Reputation closer to “New Year’s Day,” I felt so excited and proud that Rodrigo had the opportunity to feature her idol in her debut album.  Like mother, like daughter, Rodrigo even decided to include an Easter egg with the “1” and “3”  in the song title with them serving as a nod to Swift’s lucky number 13. I love that this song allows us a look into Rodrigo’s emotions during her relationship, which contrasts how Rodrigo focuses on the aftermath of her past relationships for the majority of the album. 

6. deja vu

This song is beyond addictive. Once again Swift has influenced one of Rodrigo’s songs, as Rodrigo takes direct inspiration from the bridge in “Cruel Summer” for the controlled screams for the bridge in this song. She sings roasts to her former partner in such a soft and witty way. She also tucks in whispers of “I love you” after the lines “Now I bet you even tell her how you love her / In between the chorus and the verse.” Her second single, came back punchier than the first and allows her to show off her range as an artist. She has progressed so much from only having gotten her driver’s license last week, to now driving all the way to Malibu.

7. happier

This song is essentially the nicer big sister to “good 4 u.” Rodrigo has now moved onto the stage of acceptance after her tumultuous, yet a bit unadulterated anger persists in lines like “I hope you’re happy / But not like how you were with me / I’m selfish, I know / I can’t let you go / So find someone great but don’t find no one better.” After having some time to think, she wishes him the best for the future, but still wants him to think of the memories that they have together. This sweet and sour farewell serves as another reference to sour patch kids in the album. 

8. jealousy, jealousy

The brutal honesty in her writing allows her to call out almost everyone who has felt insecure at one time or another. She compares herself to those around her, which although unhealthy, allows her to connect to the societal plagues that her audience experiences on a daily basis. The “cuz all I see are girls too good to be true/ with paper-white teeth and perfect bodies” she sees on Instagram affects her own perception of herself; even the biggest Hollywood stars cannot reach that gold standard of beauty and perfection. The topic seems a bit cliche, yet that should not take away from the fact that social media truly does loop teens into a toxic cycle of unachievable perfection.

9. driver’s license

This song put Rodrigo on the map and broke the Spotify record for most streams of a song in a single week. It’s nuanced lyrics created a slew of theories surrounding who the song was about, bringing Rodrigo a huge fan base of supporters. The context of the song allowed it to hit so close to home for many fans as quarantine gave us time to think through our past relationships and look back on happier times. There was not much else to do besides drive aimlessly through the suburbs. The song set the tone for Rodrigo’s album, yet with it playing on the radio nonstop it feels a tad overplayed.

10. brutal

Starting the album off with the lyric “I want it to be, like, messy,” allows Rodrigo to warn her audience that this album will not be some sort of polished pop album, but rather a personification of her messy, post-break up emotions. She is brutally honest in this song, with lyrics specifically geared towards Gen Z, but to be brutally honest this song was just not for me. She whines about how pop culture romanticizes the teen experience and attempts to rebel against this falsehood. She encompasses her teen angst in a way that is supposed to feel relatable, however the lyrics just sound basic and cringey. I really do appreciate her intention to set the tone for the rest of the album with this song, but the execution fell short. 

11. enough for you

The lyrics in this song are just not as catchy or heartbreaking as the other songs in her album. The fingerpicked guitar melody does not display Rodrigo’s true musical talent. “I’d say you broke my heart but you broke so much more,” serves as the most gut-wrenching and stand out lyric of the song. Rodrigo’s ex unappreciated her and left her broken. She feels used and wishes she could have done enough to keep her boyfriend happy. Even still, the song has no real hook and just feels underproduced. Not to say the song is bad, but it is just not comparable to the lyrical genius in songs featured higher on this list.