By now you’ve probably heard of former High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star and teen wonder Olivia Rodrigo. Her buzzy debut album SOUR is eliciting strong emotional reactions across multiple generations, but whether you’re a senior in college or a senior citizen (according to that TikTok your niece made about you), it can be hard to know how you fit into the cultural phenomenon that is Rodrigo. Here’s how to relate to this emo teen’s oeuvre even though you didn’t date in high school.
Allow for a human connection.
In her breakthrough single “drivers license” Olivia sings passionately about heartbreak and the inability to imagine ever getting over a first love. This is a very human feeling that you can relate to even though you didn’t date until college, and even then you weren’t super infatuated, and while you did say “I love you” the breakup was so drawn out and not that upsetting, and then when you did really fall in love with another person after that you were like hm, I don’t think I actually was in love with that first person I dated; I think we were just both ready to lose our 19-year-old virginities. If this is where you can meet her, that’s fine!
Dig through your memories.
18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo suffered a teenage heartbreak and spun it into pure gold. So maybe you never dated in high school, but surely you experienced something angsty. What about when you went to prom with your gay guy friend? Well, that was actually really fun. Okay, what about your inappropriate crush on your English teacher? Yes! Remember that. Remember the longing (unreciprocated, thank God).
Remember your pop-punk phase.
Critics are pointing out that some tracks on SOUR veer more pop-punk than singer-songwriter ballad. Olivia is exploring this terrain to express her heartbreak and expand her sound, whereas your Paramore phase was highly chaste and consisted mostly of peering into Hot Topic with an even mix of fear and desire as you walked through the mall with your mom. Still, perhaps you’re not so different after all (you are).
Just listen to “good 4 u”
We can all relate to being mad at someone else’s happiness!
So go ahead and drive through the suburbs (or walk around your block if suburbs are not an option for you) blasting this album and feeling all of Olivia Rodrigo’s feelings. In fairness to you, none of your high school dating prospects were actors who played your love interest on a Disney original series. Almost too easy.