Olivia Rodrigo has the No. 1 album, Sour, on the Billboard 200 charts, and talked about several stories behind the songs on it. She says she’s a very present songwriter, adding “I write songs when I’m in the depths of my emotions.”
‘Brutal’ is a “pity party” song and was written last minute. “I actually wrote ‘Brutal’ like two weeks before we had to turn the record in, which is very late in the game,” admitted Rodrigo. “It’s one of my favorite songs on the record. I think it sounds really unique, and I love the songwriting of it — I think it really represents my teenage years very well. I really wanted to put it as the opening track. Everyone was like, ‘Olivia, are you sure you want to that? It’s kind of weird,’ and I was like, ‘Love it. I wanna do it.'”
What does she mean by “ego crush”? “An ego crush is just like feeling like you’re so inadequate and inferior and getting angry about it … feeling like your entire is just like, gone, which I think is something that I definitely felt and something that teenagers feel, I suppose, as they’re growing up.”
If you’ve heard “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back,” you’ll hear chirping birds and recognize piano chords from Taylor Swift’s “New Year’s Day”. The birds were an idea her producer, Daniel Nigro, came up with — and she loved it. “My producer Dan, he actually just like stuck a microphone out of his window of his house and recorded the birds in the morning and put them in the song, which I think is great and it sort of adds a cool ambiance.” It was inspired by a text message. “I really sort of loved that concept of ‘1 step forward, 3 steps back.’ Somebody texted it to me once, and I was like, ‘Ooo, that’s really interesting. I’ve never heard somebody say something like that.’ I thought it would be a cool way to describe this toxic, sort of manipulative, relationship.”
She got permission to use Taylor’s chords on the track too.
‘Enough for You’ is one of her faves on the album. “I wrote that entirely by myself which I’m really proud of. It’s super, obviously, very insecure and vulnerable, but I also love how it’s really hopeful,” she said, referencing the turnaround point of the song, when she comes to the realization that “someday I’ll be everything to somebody else.”
“I don’t think it neccessarily has to relate to a romantic relationship. I think I feel inadequate in many sort of relationships, whether that be a work relationship or a friendship relationship,” said Rodrigo.
Another fave is the perfect closer song: “‘Hope Ur OK’ makes me really sad, in a great way — it just makes me really emotional. It’s a super personal song about people that I really love. That one gets me.”