Tunes Tuesday #16: Olivia Rodrigo

Alright everyone! It has been a while since I updated this series–May to be exact. Life caught up with me in a bad way, both personally and professionally, leaving me only with enough free time to work on my novel. But now that things have calmed down significantly, I can return to posting regularly on this blog, starting with this entry.

To be honest, one of the reasons this series went on hiatus was due to a lack of inspiration. I stopped listening to music for a period of time and couldn’t find a new artists to connection with. I mean, I could have done entries about every song on Taylor’s Swift’s masterpieces folklore and evermore, but that would get old. That’s when I discovered Swift’s heir apparent, eighteen year old singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo.

Rodrigo made a name for herself on the poorly titled Disney+ show, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, but hit the big time thanks to her smash hit debut single “Driver’s License.” If you have been listening to the radio for the past several months on streaming music on any platform, you probably have heard “Driver’s License.” Rodrigo released her debut album Sour May 21 of this year and released two other hit singles “Deja Vu,” and “Good 4 U,” both of which have reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

I am very weary when it comes to discovering new music. I am set in my ways, content with listening to classic rock, Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen for the rest of my life. But, as a writer, it is important for me to continue discovering and consuming new media in order to stay fresh creatively and while I have been diligent in seeking out new books and films, I have fallen short when it has come to music.

Though I was impressed with “Driver’s License,” it wasn’t until Rodrigo was compared to Taylor Swift that I decided to take a closer look at her work. While she has yet to reach the lyrical mastery of Swift–she is only eighteen after all–Rodrigo does have potential. Sour is filled with angsty and emotional breakup songs and while some of them blend in with one another and come off as raw and unpolished, there are true standouts.

As always, when I am listening to music, I try to make a connection to what I am writing. Fortunately, my discovery of Rodrigo’s music coincides perfectly with the chapters I am currently working on. My protagonist is in love with someone who she cannot hold onto. She knows that he will soon leave her for another woman and she is doing everything she can to hold onto him. Rodrigo’s Sour details this heartbreak perfectly. Songs like “Good Enough,” 1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back,” and “Happier,” reflect my protagonist’s inner conflict–her anger, her sadness, and her low self-esteem. Though many of Rodrigio’s lyrics come off as a bit juvenile, there is real emotion there. I am excited to see what she can do on her next album.

Check out “Driver’s License” below.