26 Olivia Rodrigo: SOUR

I’m so insecure, I think

That I’ll die before I drink


Ha! Trust me, Ms Rodrigo, if I died before I first drank, it would have made a lot of people’s lives easier! Your not missing anything, I promise. Have you ever tried Methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine though? That’s some good stuff, get it down you.

Christ, it’s a minefield trying to search for Olivia Rogrido photos. Like, is she twelve years old in that one?? I’m I accidentally turning this whole post into paedofodder? There’s also a lot of gifs of her doing something like sticking her tongue out but looped, which I’m pretty sure are just weird masturbation fodder for 40 year old men. OK, not many years until I’ll greatly appreciate all that pandering, but right now it’s still officially gross, OK? Jesus, this woman turned eighteen in February of this year, and this is her life now. Listen, maybe just read my Jordana piece and, like, amplify it.

So, yeah, I’m not one of those people desperate to prove their own coolness by somehow finding reasons to argue that Rogrigo’s galaxy dominating debut album isn’t a minor masterpiece of pop punk and perfectly astute, peerlessly elucidated teenage concerns. No, I admit how much I really, really like it. And that’s what makes me cool, yeah? Olivia Rodrigo’s debut single Drivers License basically broke all records that have ever been conceived. It’s a long and confusing story, but Olivia Rodrigo’s Driver’ License is now officially the all time top league goal scorer for Tranmere Rovers. To call her the biggest teen pop sensation since Britney Spears ignited the repressed paedophilic desires of the Western World back in 1999 would be an entirely valid viewpoint. Also, pop music makes no fucking sense, does it? Hit Me Baby One More Time, OK, we can all kind of see why that took over the world, right? It makes sense in so many theories and from so many sociological angles, but fucking Drivers License?? That’s the biggest song ever?? If it makes sense to you, congratulations, you’re not old. If it doesn’t…? Pfff, dunno, guess us geriatrics could just call her an industry plant?

Can we talk for a minute about ‘industry plants’ though? And also a bit of Marxism again? A teeny weeny bit, I promise. The idea of ‘industry plants’ gained massive attention in 2021, when the literal whole internet decided to pile on the otherwise inoffensive and perfectly ignorable pop punk band Tramp Stamps. The Tramp Stamps’ crime was that they were industry plants!! Three artists who had previously already done stuff in the music industry lovebombed onto TikTok and other cool teenage social media apps with names like Glump and Titchy Winders and Litrickle, and were deceitfully presented as authentic in order to sell music! OK. Cool. But what is an ‘industry plant’, exactly? Medium states that the common definition is “an artist who has a Major/Indie Label backing their movement but presents themselves as a ‘home grown start up’ label to create a pseudo organic following”. Cool. You guys realise that’s almost every artist you fucking listen to? Like, on this list so far I guess you could say that artists like Lava La Rue, Lonelady and Jordana don’t fit this description, because they haven’t sold any fucking records. But Arlo Parks, Billie Eilish, Tyler the Creator, even the bloody Manics? The ones that have sold more than eleven records? That’s just how they’ve been marketed in order to achieve maximum sales! That’s the only reason you’ve heard of them! The accusations of being an ‘industry plant’ or even inauthentic (and this is always the biggest crime. Hitler would have got along fine on social media until someone uncovered pictures of him giving out food to Jewish ghettos at Christmas and it turned out the whole ‘antisemitic’ flex was just pathetic attempt at clout), are actually just accusations of “I don’t like how this particular brand of marketing is being constructed”.

Perhaps your definition of being an ‘industry plant’ is, as the previously linked to Vox article suggests “a well-connected artist whose persona and/or content is more business decision than artistic expression“. In which case, fuck, again, that’s pretty much every single musical artist who has ever been pushed or even signed by a major label. Every musical artist, every film star, every fucking YouTuber, TikTokker and Litrickler, every celebrity that you’ve ever heard of overseen by the two or fucking three studios that own everything these days, are only presented to you because it’s believed there is some profit to be made out of it, and presented to you in the way that it’s believed the most profit will be made. In most cases, because you/we idiots seem to value authenticity above all else, artists will often be presented to you as home grown and organic products, and you/we all lap it up because you/we are all idiots. This includes even Britney Spears and it absolutely includes Olivia Rodrigo. Dudes, she’s been on the Disney Channel since she was about six months old, she’s as authentic and organic a pop star as the Olsen Twins. It doesn’t matter, because she’s awesome and her songs are brilliant. That’s why we love her, not because she’s some sort of authentic musical prodigy discovered busking outside a bar in Terre Haute, Indiana. And that’s fine.

I’ve read, heard and seen (and tasted. And felt) people praise Rodrigo as some sort of feminist icon, as an example of what young women can achieve if allowed the freedom to truly express themselves. Which is… fine. And true! All women (all people) should have the freedom allowed to Ms Rodrigo to express themselves artistically to their core ability! But Rodrigo wasn’t given this opportunity simply based on her talent. She was already a well established member of the Disney elite by the time she was seventeen and recoding this album. The success of ‘SOUR’ isn’t a victory for women everywhere, it was a success for people already with strong inherent privileges. It was rich people getting richer, from top to bottom. I referred to Bertrand Cooper’s amazing essay in my Lava La Rue post and, fuck you, I’ll do it again here, and widen it out to all culture. It’s still being controlled by people in the 1%, presenting us art made by people in maybe the 5%. The real issue isn’t lack of representation from people who aren’t white cishets (though that’s obviously still an issue: intersect that shit, dude!), but the lack of art truly being presented to us from people who aren’t already the most fortunate in terms of socioeconomic standing.

Ah, but sod it all, this album’s great fun, isn’t it? Yeah, it’s hardly the most unique and musically expansive thing you’re ever likely to hear, but great artist steal, then make it even more banging, as W. H. Davenport Adams said (verbatim). And, yes, all of the lyric are about an ex boyfriend getting a new boyfriend, and yes all the songs pretty much have the exact same structure, starting off all slow and pliny-plinky before building up to the ‘But I still fucking love you‘ part. But it’s hard to recall a more affective collection of commercial pop, and Rodrigo deserves all the extra money to put on top of the millions of dollars she already has. Anyway, Urban Dictionary has another definition of ‘industry plant’:

So that’s us all pwned.

3 thoughts on “26 Olivia Rodrigo: SOUR

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