SOUR: A Foster Girlfriend's Guide to Olivia Rodrigo's New Album
Photo, Olivia Rodrigo (Facebook)
To celebrate our girl's 7 Grammy Nominations, we thought it was the perfect occasion to res-share our album review, written as a how-to guide for Foster Girlfriend's everywhere - we hope you enjoy (and go Olivia Rodrigo!!)
In May 2020, the concept of the all too relatable 'foster girlfriend went viral - circulating social media feeds from TikTok to Twitter. The crux of the ‘foster girlfriend’ is simple; after investing time (and feelings) in a relationship with a man and showing him the ways of being a good boyfriend he dumps you… only to find his new ‘forever home.’ I myself have successfully fostered two former boyfriends (who are now in loving long long-term relationships)... can I put this on my resume?
In a Cosmopolitan article published last year, relationship and self-esteem expert and host of the Baggage Reclaim Podcast Natalie Lue explained that when you are ‘used to being second best’ you may be more vulnerable to the ‘foster girlfriend’ situation. Avoiding these situations in the future, Lue suggests, requires us to no longer go after those who say they are not ready for anything serious, because if a person is not ready, it comes down to ‘their emotional unavailability’ - not your worthiness. I think we all know that this is much easier said than done so when we find ourselves “fostering” another unworthy fella it… sucks. And that’s we cue Olivia Rodrigo and “SOUR”.
17-year-old Rodrigo has had an exceptional rise to stardom. At the start of the year, Rodrigo was known for her role in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a mockumentary that follows a group of theatre kids staging their own production of High School Musical. By the end of January, after teasing its release on Tik Tok, Rodrigo’s Drivers Licence had 130 million streams in its first week and was No 1. of the Billboard’s global charts. A rising piano ballad, Rodrigo accounts the derailing experience of reminiscence, innocence and heartbreak. The song is rumoured to be about her fellow Disney castmate Joshua Bassett who has since been connected with Sabrina Carpenter. “SOUR,” released on 21 May, appears to build on this heartbreak, and challenges the age-old saying “be better, not bitter.” If anything, Rodrigo has shown you can still be bitter and turn it into something much better.
In short, Rodrigo gets it. And she takes the anguish of teenage heartbreak to create an album that is an angelic combination between tantalisingly sweet and catchy tunes like “déjà vu” and “1 step forward, 3 steps back” with angsty anthems like “brutal”, “jealousy, jealousy” and “good4U.” It’s a culmination of influences includingParamore and Taylor Swift, and an extension to the “revenge album” paved by artists like Lorde with Melodrama. And it’s exactly what you need when you are mending a broken heart (or ego). ‘SOUR’ captures the scope and stages of heartbreak in a way that you are sure to find a song which encapsulates how you are feeling.
To provide a little help, here is a handy guide to my favourite tunes from “SOUR” as a recovering Foster Girlfriend.
When He Doesn’t Re-Match You on Tinder in his Brief, Single Period and Your Ego Hurts More Than Your Heart… Listen to “Brutal”
The Vibe: A combination between the angst of Hailee Steinfield’s character in “Edge of Seventeen”, Saoirse Ronan’s character in “Ladybird”, Avril Lavinge’s SK8er Boi era and “Trouble” by Ruby Fields and “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheetus. By far the most lyrically brilliant songs in “SOUR,” “Brutal” recounts the insecurities of what it's like to be a teenager and how a blow to the ego can hurt just as much as a blow to the heart… because how could they not like me?
If you liked “brutal” …. then you’ll love “jealousy, jealousy.” Picking up on many of the same insecurities and expectations explored in “brutal,” “jealousy, jealousy” has the perfect chaotic energy to jam along to in the car when you find yourself at the “stalking absolutely everyone from highschool” stage wondering how they have been able to maintain long term, stable looking relationships while you’ve been collecting bad date stories and foster girlfriend credentials.
When You Find Out He’s Moved On with Someone Else… Listen to “Good4U”
The Vibe: The punk and pop-rock vibes of “Good4U” falls somewhere between Paramore’s “Misery Business” and “Ain’t it Fun” and is undeniably the breakup (foster girlfriend) anthem of 2021. The song reminds me of that episode of How I Met Your Mother when Ted was determined to “win” the (first(?)) break-up with Robin - there is nothing like (in the worst possible way) watching your ex succeed because of the things you put in place for them… ughhh. I think it's safe to say we all related a little too much when Rodirgo said ‘maybe I’m too emotional…’
If You Feel Like You Can’t Do/Watch Something Because You did/Watched It With Them…. Listen to “drivers licence”
The Vibe: Lorde’s “Liability” walked so “driver’s licence” could run. It is soft, and sweet and while simple in meaning it packs a relatable punch. If you feel like you couldn’t possibly order your favourite pizza or watch your favourite movie because you shared it with a puppy-eyed but emotionally unavailable guy, this song is for you. And so is that pizza/movie because life is too short to deny yourself your favourite things.
When You Know Deep-Down You Contributed to Your Own “Foster Girlfriend” Status by Letting Them Get Away with Murder… Listen to “favourite crime”
The Vibe: The influence of Taylor Swift is well-defined in the folksy instrumentals of “favourite crime” and the metaphor is just toogood. We have all been guilty of letting someone get away with murder in the way they treat us because we don’t want to risk losing them, making us an inherent accomplice to their crime. Worst of all, as Rodrigo muses, is often we would ‘do it all again.’
If you liked “favourite crime” ... you will adore “enough for you.” Written solely by Rodrigo on her bedroom floor, “enough for you” has the same acoustic vibes as “favourite crime” and covers that all too familiar feeling of wondering why you aren’t enough when you tried to be your best possible self for that person.
When You See He Has Taken His New Girlfriend To One Of Your Date Spots on Insta… Listen to “deja vu”....
The Vibe: A sugary mixture of Lorde and Taylor swift, “deja vu” has a deliciously sweet melody and undeniably catchy lyrics. Released as the second single of “SOUR”, “deja vu” serves as a strong sequel to “drivers licence.” Complemented by the hyper-realism in the music video, “deja vu” explores what it's like to realise that your ex (a) has a type (that you fall into) and (b) is recreating some of the best memories from your relationship with someone new.
When You Want Them to be Happy Without You (Just Not That Happy)... Listen to ‘happier’
The Vibe: The softness and underlying message of “happier” draws strong similarities to Billie Eilish’s “wish u were gay.” Is it selfish to want your ex-partner to be happy, just not that happy, with their new flame? Maybe. But is it a totally relatable feeling and stage of the healing process? Definitely.