Best of Sac State 2022: ‘Sour’ wins best album

Ranking the songs from Olivia Rodrigo’s debut studio album


Cover art for Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour.” “Sour” was Rodrigo’s first studio album, which dropped in May 2021. (Photo by Brett Jordan / CC BY 2.0 )

Andrea Molinar, staff writer

The votes for Best of Sac State are in, and for best album, the majority chose “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo. She used to be known mostly for her role on the Disney+ show “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” but has since made a name for herself in the music world. 

In honor of Rodrigo’s Best of Sac State win, I’ve decided to go one step further and rank all eleven songs off of her debut studio album “Sour.”

11. “hope ur ok”

The album’s closing song—and my most skipped song on “Sour,” not because I’m sad the album is ending (although I am), but because it’s just so simple sounding. It doesn’t showcase Rodrigo’s beautiful vocals at all, and she almost seems to just be speaking throughout it in a soprano tone. 

“Hope ur ok” is a sweet dedication to her LGBTQ+ fans, but unfortunately is just packaged in a very boring box. Plus, it’s much shorter than her other songs and doesn’t even give enough time to start liking it while listening.

10. “happier”

The sweetest sounding song off of the album, which is definitely a problem when it has a name like  “Sour.” In “happier,” Rodrigo sings about an ex that she is happy in his new relationship, which is quite a change compared to all of her other songs that seem to wish him anything but. 

On one hand, the song almost feels like a breath of fresh air because Rodrigo has finally reached the stage of acceptance when grieving her relationship. On the other hand, I’m petty and don’t think Rodrigo’s “traitor” should have her permission to be happy with his “blonde girl,” so that’s ultimately why this is ranked so low.

9. “favorite crime”

In “favorite crime,” Rodrigo describes her ex’s treatment of her as a crime and states that he treated her terribly. Interestingly enough, she never refers to herself as a victim, but instead  as an accomplice. 

She puts blame on herself for allowing his maltreatment of her and for defending him. She refers to the entire relationship as bittersweet which is the perfect way to describe this song, even if that sentiment won’t allow me to rank it any higher.

8. “traitor

Rodrigo’s fourth single off of “Sour,” the song is slow and sounds almost haunting, which fits perfectly with Rodrigo singing about an ex who shouldn’t forget that he betrayed  her to be with a girl that he always told her not to worry about. 

“Traitor” makes me want to dance, although it definitely isn’t something I’d  jump along to at a party. It’s a song that I wouldn’t be surprised to see used as an instrumental for the characters on “Bridgerton” to waltz to.

7. “1 step forward, 3 steps back”

Another one of Rodrigo’s more vulnerable songs, this one depicts a tumultuous and rather toxic relationship. She describes how easily her partner gets angry with her and how she wonders, “which lover will I get today?” because of how hot and cold her partner’s personality is. 

Despite the sadness clearly laced throughout the song and in Rodrigo’s voice, the chorus is incredibly catchy. I find it difficult not to want to sing along about the back-and-forth feeling  of the unhealthy relationship she knows she has but doesn’t want to leave.

6. “drivers license”

“Drivers license” is Rodrigo’s first single off of “Sour” that ultimately launched her into stardom. When it dropped back in January 2021, I did my absolute best to avoid listening to it, not because I didn’t like the sound or the lyrics, but because I couldn’t listen to it without wanting to cry, which is genuinely a compliment to Rodrigo’s songwriting skills. 

The emotion she evokes throughout the song is hard-hitting so it makes sense that she gained so much attention from “drivers license” (but it allegedly being about her Disney co-star, Joshua Bassett, probably added a lot to it too). I can now proudly listen to the song without bawling my eyes out, but seeing as how it takes the middle spot of my ranking, it still isn’t an absolute favorite.

Video by Erick Amaya and Andrea Molinar

5. brutal”

The opening track and fifth single off of “Sour,” “brutal” is a perfect start to the album, allowing me to get a perfect idea of how the album is going to go. Rodrigo expresses her frustrations with the world and her life in a very melodramatic way. 

However, it’s anything but annoying with the pop-punk sound making it fun and angsty. Rodrigo makes it difficult not to want to scream along as she sings about wanting to disappear and being unable to parallel park.

4. “enough for you”

While “Sour” is fairly vulnerable as a whole, this is arguably the album’s most vulnerable track ” It conveys beautifully the relatively familiar feeling of being lost that anyone can  experience after ending a relationship. Rodrigo sings about completely changing herself to try to be more appealing to a partner that clearly never cared very much for her. She expresses her heartbreak over losing not only him, but herself as well. 

When she sings “I just want myself back,” I can feel her pain in its entirety. This song makes it clear to me just how negatively Rodrigo’s past relationship has affected her and why she sees romance through such a “sour” lens.

3. deja vu”

Rodrigo’s second single off of “Sour,” “deja vu” is ultimately the song that made me a fan of hers. The melodic chime at the beginning is difficult to ignore and her lyrics are somewhat of an analysis on how repetitive relationships can be. 

Rodrigo uses the universal offense that a person feels when they see an ex doing the exact same thing that they used to do with you and turns it into a smugness of sorts. She sings about how her ex’s new girlfriend should know that every special thing he does for her, he did for Rodrigo first. 

The music video for it is also fantastic and the green dresses that Rodrigo (and her ex’s new girlfriend) wear is absolutely iconic.

2. jealousy, jealousy”

I went back and forth endlessly between whether or not to rank “jealousy, jealousy” above “deja vu,” but this ultimately won because of its realness. Rodrigo showcases the very real and frustrating feeling of jealousy that many people face from time to time. 

She uses social media as the catalyst for her own jealousy, singing about how the perfectness of the people she sees there makes her doubt herself. Rodrigo battles wanting to be happy about who she is with wanting to be someone else and it’s almost healing to see a person that many may see as their perfect person on social media so perfectly convey the same lack of self esteem that many people suffer from.

1. good 4 u”

Rodrigo’s third single off of “Sour” and my favorite song of hers since I first heard it back in May 2021. The angry pop-punk sound immediately makes you want to scream and dance along whether you’re in your bedroom or at the grocery store. 

In “good 4 u,” Rodrigo sings to an ex about how she can’t believe he’s doing so well after their breakup,  expressing  how not okay she is and issuing  blame both on herself and on him—her for helping him get a better life, and him for ruining hers. The emotion is so clear throughout “good 4 u” that it’s enough to infuriate anyone—even people who have no ex to sing about!