A Sweet Win for Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour”

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Rodrigo won a total of three Grammys at the 2022 award ceremony. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Laura Larsen, Contributing Writer

“It’s brutal out here,” but not at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards where Olivia Rodrigo took home three trophies. The 19-year-old singer-songwriter has captivated billions with her debut album “Sour,” which dropped in May 2021. Rodrigo was nominated for seven awards and won Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance for “driver’s license.” Since the single’s release in January 2021, Rodrigo has been shattering records.

According to Billboard, Rodrigo smashed Taylor Swift’s record for most tracks in the Top 10 at a time by a woman, as Rodrigo held eight. She also passed Ariana Grande for the number one spot in most streams in a week. “good 4 u” played 84 million times in just seven days compared to Grande’s “7 Rings,” which garnered 70 million listens in a single week in 2019. Not only has this sensational breakout artist beat records held by music legends, but Rodrigo claimed the spot for biggest opening week by a female artist on Spotify as “Sour” gained 385 million streams.

This artist’s talent is remarkable, and her lyrics are incredibly captivating. Rodrigo is young, yet she is reaching milestones at an unprecedented rate. Some might question how a teenager from Temecula, California, can be such a dominant force in the music industry so early in her career, but it’s because her audience resonates with her so much. Rodrigo’s music, both the upbeat jams and somber melodies, expose the listener to who she is and her experiences. Her lyrics make fans feel like they are in on her secrets, which connects Rodrigo’s audience to her.

In Sour’s opening track, “brutal,” Rodrigo sings, “And I don’t stick up for myself / I’m anxious and nothing can help / And I wish I’d done this before / And I wish people liked me more.” These punchy lyrics evidence her utmost openness; in doing so, they create a space for her fans to ponder on such feelings, relating to her anxieties and wishes. Rodrigo’s music not only initiates public conversation about her, but also the content of her work — heartbreak. People appreciate how her music has this unique ability.

In the album’s 10th track, “favorite crime,” she expresses: “It’s bittersweet to think about the damage that we do / ‘Cause I was going down, but I was doing it with you.” Rodrigo’s vulnerability about past pain shines through in her lyrics, and she continues to be honest with her listeners. This artist remains raw and authentic, even when this means she must paint herself in a negative way. For example, in “happier,” she writes, “So find someone great, but don’t find no one better / I hope you’re happy, but don’t be happier.”

Some might believe that Rodrigo did not deserve to take home three Grammys over fellow-nominees like Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Grande, Finneas, Glass Animals, The Kid LAROI, Saweetie and more. However, I fully believe that she earned those Grammys. Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid fan of Grande, Eilish, Doja — you name it. But even so, Rodrigo deserves those Grammys not just for her exceptional work, but for what those wins symbolize and commemorate.

It is not very often that the public witnesses the breakout success that is “Sour.” Just days after being released, Rodrigo’s songs were blasted from shopping malls to teenager’s cars to restaurants around the globe. Veteran singer-songwriters who have been in the limelight for years stopped to listen to what she had to say. Beyond that, Rodrigo’s lyrics united millions when the COVID-19 pandemic was forcing people to remain apart.

You can have a sour taste in your mouth about “Sour,” but there is no denying the impact of her debut album. Rodrigo may have written “1 step forward, 3 steps back,” but I believe she has rightfully taken three steps forward with her three well-deserved Grammy wins.