She’s the name of a generation; Olivia Rodrigo is the newest artist specifically within Generation Z and her music has taken to becoming some of the most popular on all charts. Rodrigo began her career on the Disney Channel starring in shows like “Bizaardvark” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.”
Rodrigo’s first song to become a household name was “Drivers License” which took off on TikTok and became a sound that many would use in their videos, particularly depicting scenarios of breakups or relationship issues. After “Drivers License” rose to the status that it did, Rodrigo decided to release a full studio album instead of just an EP which was her original plan.
When announcing her first full length album “Sour” the expectations that many had were low. Many thought the album would be similar to many other ex-Disney stars' debut albums that tended to be somewhat decent to mediocre. However, the album's release shattered expectations and had critics receiving the songs with critical acclaim.
While Rodrigo’s popularity may seem out of the blue, for many individuals her songs touch aspects of their lives that not only can they relate to but that not many other artists cover in the way that she does.
“Personally I enjoy her music because I think it’s really relatable and you can feel her emotion through her songs,” said Kally Dreelan, a sophomore in linguistics. “People can picture themselves in her songs and it’s also super catchy.”
Rodrigo’s album “Sour” mainly centers around her experiences as a seventeen- year-old with one of the largest events being a very public breakup. Within her music, Rodrigo speaks about her feelings surrounding her ex and their relationship very candidly, and said that one of her main goals with the album was to be honest about the feelings such as anger, jealousy and unhappiness that younger individuals often get criticized for expressing.
“To me she is different from most mainstream artists because she allows herself to be completely open to her fans.” said Katelyn Wolters, a sophomore in aerospace engineering. “She doesn’t put on a facade and I think it’s especially important for people our age to have people who are their real selves in the music industry.”
Many of Rodrigo’s songs have become popular on social media, which has been seen as one of the reasons why she has become such a strong artist for those in the younger generations. TikTok specifically has become a platform where songs such as “traitor,” “good 4 u” and “happier” have become known because of their relatable feeling.
It’s common for younger individuals to go through their first heartbreak and not have anyone to turn to or to feel jealous of a friend or acquaintance and feel that they are bad for feeling those emotions. Instead of seeming like a far away pop-star or an untouchable person, Rodrigo presents herself as somebody just like the individuals she is singing too.
“My all time favorite song is "Jealousy", because in the song she shows you that she is just another teenage girl who has problems with comparing herself to other girls just like we do,” said Jamie Romano, a sophomore in liberal arts. “I think she says the things that most of us are too scared to say and it makes you feel okay to have those thoughts as well.”
In today’s society it can be harder than ever for young people to know how to handle growing up and their lives changing. Rodrigo gives these individuals art that allows them to feel more connected and less alone in the ride of getting older.
“It’s cool to see somebody extremely young because we get to be excited about her music and her progress as an artist,” said Romano. “We all get to watch her grow up as we do and that’s a really fun thing to be a part of.”