Olivia Rodrigo Songs: The Definitive Ranking of Pop’s Sullen Sour Princess

by Alex Harris

5th July, 2024

Olivia Rodrigo Songs: The Definitive Ranking of Pop's Sullen Sour Princess

Over the past couple of years, Olivia Rodrigo has swiftly cemented her status as Gen Z’s reigning pop princess, captivating teens and twenty-somethings alike with her raw, relatable songwriting and a voice that seamlessly oscillates between sugary and acidic.

Her meteoric rise might’ve seemed sudden, but for those who grew up watching the former Disney star on shows like Bizaardvark and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Rodrigo’s mainstream breakthrough simply felt like an inevitability.

Her 2021 debut, Sour, was a tour de force of adolescent angst and heartbreak, channelling the spirit of pop-punk luminaries like Paramore while still carving out a distinct sonic identity.

Olivia Rodrigo SOUR album cover
Olivia Rodrigo SOUR album cover

And with the release of her sophomore album, Guts, the 20-year-old singer-songwriter has solidified her place as one of the most compelling voices in contemporary pop.

But which of Olivia Rodrigo’s searing, confessional tracks reign supreme?

From viral TikTok hits to deep-cut gems, we’ve painstakingly ranked her discography (so far) to separate the showstoppers from the skips.

Prepare to feel all the feelings as we dive into the definitive ranking of Olivia Rodrigo’s songs.

A Brutal Awakening: Rodrigo’s Sour Standouts

Before we delve into the individual track rankings, it’s worth revisiting the album that kickstarted Olivia Rodrigo’s ascent to pop domination.

Released in May 2021, Sour was an instant cultural phenomenon, resonating with disaffected youths worldwide with its candid exploration of heartbreak, jealousy, and the general turmoil of late adolescence.

The Viral Spark of “Drivers License”

No discussion of Sour would be complete without addressing the stratospheric success of its lead single, Drivers License.

Inspired by a real-life romantic entanglement, the piano-driven ballad perfectly captured the all-consuming anguish of a messy breakup, with Olivia Rodrigo’s emotive vocals conveying a depth of pain that belied her teenage years.

Upon its release, “Drivers License” swiftly went viral on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, with users worldwide relating to the song’s visceral lyrics and cinematic music video.

The track’s ubiquity was undeniable, soundtracking everything from heartfelt lip-syncs to comedic skits across social media.

Commercially, “Drivers License” was an unqualified smash, debuting at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and breaking numerous streaming records, including the most daily Spotify streams for a non-holiday song.

Its success was a clear indication that Rodrigo had tapped into something profoundly resonant with her target audience.

The Punk-Pop Punch of “Good 4 u”

While “Drivers License” showcased Rodrigo’s aptitude for heart-rending balladry, the Sour standout Good 4 U highlighted her knack for crafting infectious, genre-blending pop-punk anthems.

Driven by chugging power chords and a propulsive beat, the track saw Rodrigo embrace a more aggressive, confrontational persona as she defiantly declared her well-being in the aftermath of a failed relationship.

Lyrically, “Good 4 U” is a masterclass in passive-aggressive pettiness, with Rodrigo hurling cutting insults like “You’re a damn sociopath” and “I’m just better, I’m just better” over the song’s irresistibly anthemic chorus.

The track’s undeniable earworm quality and Paramore-esque sensibilities quickly made it a fan favourite, dominating alternative radio and racking up over 1 billion streams on Spotify alone.

Guts and Glory: Olivia Rodrigo’s Hotly Anticipated Sophomore Effort

Olivia Rodrigo GUTS album cover
Olivia Rodrigo GUTS album cover

With Sour’s colossal success, all eyes are now on Rodrigo’s forthcoming second album, Guts.

Lead single Vampire offered an early taste of the record’s sonic direction, doubling down on the confessional songwriting and emotive balladry that made her debut so compelling.

Driven by a haunting piano line and Rodrigo’s captivating vocals, “Vampire” finds the singer grappling with feelings of self-doubt and insecurity in the wake of a failed romance.

Lines like “I put my heartstrings to use / Just for you to walk all over the fucking truth” cut remarkably deep, showcasing Olivia Rodrigo’s penchant for turning personal turmoil into universally resonant lyricism.

Thematically, “Vampire” hints at a more introspective, self-reflective approach on Guts, with Rodrigo exploring the complex emotional fallout of heartbreak rather than merely lashing out at her former lover.

On Guts, Olivia Rodrigo offered a more nuanced, multifaceted exploration of romantic strife.

Like on “Bad Idea Right?” an infectious pop-punk ripper that finds Rodrigo grappling with the temptation of rekindling an old flame.

Driven by chugging power chords and Olivia Rodrigo’s characteristically acerbic lyricism, the track serves as an enticing bridge between the sonic territories of Sour and Guts, hinting at an even more eclectic stylistic palette on the latter.

The Definitive Ranking: Counting Down Olivia Rodrigo’s Best Songs

Now that we’ve set the stage, it’s time to dive into the definitive ranking of Olivia Rodrigo’s discography (so far).

From viral TikTok sensations to underrated album cuts, these are the tracks that best exemplify the young singer-songwriter’s remarkable talents.

10. “Traitor”

Kicking off our countdown is the Sour deep cut “Traitor,” a mournful indie-rock ballad that perfectly encapsulates the bitter sting of romantic betrayal.

Over a sparse backdrop of delicate guitar chords, Olivia Rodrigo laments a former lover’s infidelity, her voice dripping with palpable anguish as she sings, “You promised the world / But you lied, lied, lied, lied, lied.”

While not as immediately catchy as some of Sour’s bigger hits, “Traitor” is a masterclass in mood and atmosphere, evoking the desolate emotional landscape of heartbreak with remarkable poignancy.

It’s a powerful reminder that Rodrigo’s songwriting prowess extends far beyond mere pop confections.

9. “Granted”

On the flip side of the emotional spectrum, “Granted” finds Rodrigo embracing her inner emo kid, infusing the High School Musical franchise’s trademark theatricality with a healthy dose of angsty attitude.

Driven by pummeling trap beats and snarling electric guitars, the track sees Olivia Rodrigo lamenting the harsh realities of adolescent life over a backdrop of bombastic pop-punk instrumentation.

With lyrics touching on everything from academic pressures to romantic woes, “Granted” perfectly captures the overwhelming sense of ennui that often accompanies one’s teenage years.

And while the song’s melodramatic sensibilities might veer into eye-roll territory for some listeners, there’s an undeniable catharsis to hearing Rodrigo channel the full force of her youthful angst.

8. “Brutal”

The leadoff track from Sour, “Brutal,” is a blistering mission statement that immediately establishes Olivia Rodrigo as a force to be reckoned with in the pop-punk realm.

From its opening salvo of distorted power chords to Rodrigo’s sneering vocal delivery, the song crackles with a raw, uncompromising energy that feels like a much-needed rebuke to the often sanitised world of mainstream pop.

Lyrically, “Brutal” finds Rodrigo taking aim at the relentless pressures and unrealistic expectations foisted upon young women in the entertainment industry.

Lines like “And they haunt me like a nightmare” and “I’m so sick of seventeen”resonate with a palpable sense of weariness and disillusionment, perfectly capturing the album’s overarching themes of disaffection and disenchantment.

7. “Happier”

For all of Sour’s sonic aggression and lyrical vitriol, “Happier” stands out as a poignant moment of introspection and emotional maturity.

Over a sparse, lilting acoustic guitar line, Olivia Rodrigo wrestles with the bittersweet realisation that her former partner has found happiness with someone new, singing, “I hope you’re happy / But don’t be happier.”

It’s a remarkably nuanced and self-aware sentiment, eschewing the scorched-earth bitterness that often accompanies heartbreak in favour of a more measured, empathetic perspective.

And while the song’s mellow vibe might not pack the same visceral punch as some of Sour’s bigger hits, there’s a quiet beauty to Rodrigo’s understated vocal performance and the track’s stripped-back intimacy.

6. “All I Want”

While Olivia Rodrigo’s mainstream breakthrough might’ve come with the release of Sour, her musical origins can be traced back to her stint on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. And “All I Want,” a soaring power ballad featured on the show’s soundtrack, serves as a potent reminder of Rodrigo’s precocious talents.

From its sweeping orchestral flourishes to Rodrigo’s impassioned vocal performance, “All I Want” is a masterclass in pure, unabashed melodrama.

And yet, for all its over-the-top theatricality, there’s an undeniable emotional resonance to the track, with Olivia Rodrigo’s lyrics tapping into the universal yearning for love and acceptance that lies at the heart of the High School Musical franchise.

5. “Deja Vu”

Few songs in Rodrigo’s discography better encapsulate the searing sting of romantic jealousy quite like the Sour standout Deja Vu.

From its opening lines, “When she was with you / Do you get deja vu?” the track immediately establishes a deliciously petty, passive-aggressive tone that only intensifies as it progresses.

What really elevates “Deja Vu,” however, is Olivia Rodrigo’s remarkable attention to detail in her lyricism.

Lines like “I’ll watch your wildest dreams come true—not one of them involving you” cut remarkably deep, painting a vivid picture of the emotional turmoil and resentment that often accompany heartbreak.

It’s a masterclass in turning personal pain into universally resonant art.

4. “Bad Idea Right?”

With its inclusion in our ranking, “Bad Idea Right?” becomes the first Guts track to make an appearance, and it’s a tantalising preview of what’s to come on Rodrigo’s highly anticipated sophomore effort.

Driven by a propulsive punk-pop groove and Rodrigo’s characteristically acerbic lyricism, the track finds the singer grappling with the temptation of rekindling an old flame, singing, “Is it a bad idea right now? / To tell you I still think about you sometimes?”

What really makes “Bad Idea Right?” stand out, however, is its infectious sense of reckless abandon.

From the song’s raucous gang vocals to its delightfully unhinged music video (which sees Rodrigo wreaking havoc on a suburban neighbourhood), there’s a palpable sense of cathartic release that feels utterly irresistible.

3. “Vampire”

As the lead single from Guts, “Vampire” carries the weighty responsibility of setting the tone for Rodrigo’s highly anticipated sophomore effort.

And based on the track’s haunting atmosphere and remarkably candid lyricism, it’s safe to say that Guts promises to be a more introspective, emotionally nuanced affair than its predecessor.

Driven by a sparse piano line and Rodrigo’s captivating vocals, “Vampire” finds the singer grappling with the lingering emotional fallout of a failed romance, singing, “I put my heartstrings to use / Just for you to walk all over the fucking truth.”

It’s a remarkably raw and vulnerable sentiment, perfectly capturing the complex mix of resentment, self-doubt, and lingering affection that often accompanies the aftermath of heartbreak.

2. “Drivers License”

It’s impossible to overstate the cultural impact of “Drivers License,” the viral hit that first introduced Olivia Rodrigo to the world at large.

From its cinematic music video to its deeply relatable lyrics about the all-consuming anguish of heartbreak, the song struck an immediate chord with listeners worldwide, swiftly becoming a ubiquitous presence on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

At its core, “Drivers License” is a masterclass in emotional resonance, with Olivia Rodrigo’s understated yet powerful vocal performance perfectly capturing the raw vulnerability of romantic rejection.

Lines like “You’re probably with that blonde girl / Who always made me doubt” cut remarkably deep, tapping into the universal insecurities and anxieties that often accompany failed relationships.

Commercially, “Drivers License” was an unqualified smash, debuting at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and breaking numerous streaming records in the process.

But beyond its impressive chart performance, the song’s true legacy lies in its ability to forge an immediate, deeply personal connection with listeners worldwide—a testament to Rodrigo’s remarkable songwriting talents.

1. “Good 4 U”

While “Driver’s License” might’ve been Olivia Rodrigo’s breakthrough moment, it’s the Sour standout “Good 4 U” that truly solidified her status as a force to be reckoned with in the pop-punk realm.

From its propulsive, guitar-driven groove to Rodrigo’s sneering vocal delivery, the track crackles with a raw, defiant energy that feels like a much-needed rebuke to the often sanitised world of mainstream pop.

Lyrically, “Good 4 U” is a masterclass in passive-aggressive pettiness, with Rodrigo hurling cutting insults like “You’re a damn sociopath” and “I’m just better, I’m just better” over the song’s irresistibly anthemic chorus.

And yet, for all its deliciously petty vitriol, there’s a palpable sense of empowerment and self-affirmation that lies at the heart of the track, perfectly capturing the cathartic release of moving on from a toxic relationship.

Bolstering the song’s impact is its undeniable earworm quality, with its hook-laden melodies and Paramore-esque sensibilities ensuring that “Good 4 U” quickly became a ubiquitous presence on alternative radio and streaming platforms alike.

It’s a true pop-punk tour de force and a potent reminder of Rodrigo’s remarkable talents as both a songwriter and a performer.

The Future is Sour: What’s Next for Olivia Rodrigo?

It’s clear that Olivia Rodrigo’s meteoric rise is far from over. With her uncanny ability to tap into the raw emotions and lived experiences of her generation, she’s quickly established herself as one of the most vital and resonant voices in contemporary pop music.

And while her songwriting prowess and vocal talents are undeniable, it’s Rodrigo’s remarkable authenticity and emotional candour that truly set her apart from her peers.

In an age where so much of mainstream pop feels carefully curated and sanitised, there’s a refreshing honesty to Rodrigo’s confessional lyricism and unfiltered emotional expression.

As she continues to evolve and mature as an artist, it’s exciting to imagine the new sonic territories and thematic depths that Rodrigo might explore.

Will she delve further into the realms of pop-punk and emo, or will she branch out into more experimental, genre-blending territory?

Regardless of the direction she takes, one thing is certain: Olivia Rodrigo’s future is looking increasingly sour, and that’s exactly how her legions of fans like it.

You might also like:

Previous post

Be the first and never miss an update!

2024 © All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram