Her paramours are taking part in these types of video games, too. “Which lover will I get today?/Will you walk me to the door or send me home crying?” she sighs over the dampened piano of “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back.” And it’s on “Drivers License” the place that realization absolutely crystallizes: “Guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me,” she gasps. There are few colder jolts than studying somebody you liked was merely taking part in a task.
Rodrigo’s juggle can be embedded in her musical decisions on “Sour,” which is written nearly wholly by Rodrigo and produced nearly wholly by Dan Nigro, previously of the band As Tall as Lions (who additionally contributed songwriting). She vegetation a flag for the divided self proper on the prime of the album, on the spectacular “Brutal,” which begins with a number of seconds of sober strings earlier than she declares, “I want it to be, like, messy,” which it then turns into. That tug of battle persists all through the album: extra polished songs just like the singles and the rousing, Paramore-esque “Good 4 U” jostling with rawer ones like “Enough for You” and “Jealousy, Jealousy.”
“Traitor,” one of many album’s highlights, is a stark music masquerading as a bombastic one. “I kept quiet so I could keep you,” Rodrigo confesses, earlier than arriving at a chic approach of understanding, if not fairly accepting, how somebody who cherished you has moved on: “Guess you didn’t cheat/but you’re still a traitor.”
That songwriting flourish is emblematic of what Rodrigo has discovered from Taylor Swift on this album (which, in shorthand, is Swift’s debut refracted via “Red”): nailing the exact language for an imprecise, complicated emotional scenario; and dealing via non-public tales in public style. There is residue of Swift all through “Sour” — whether or not the best way that “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back” interpolates “New Year’s Day,” or the “Cruel Summer”-esque chants on “Deja Vu.”
But actually, Swift persists within the lens, which is relentlessly inside — Rodrigo solely breaks out of it in a few locations on the album, like on “Jealousy, Jealousy,” the place she pulls again to evaluate the self-image harm that social media inflicts (“I wanna be you so bad, and I don’t even know you/All I see is what I should be”) and on the ultimate monitor, “Hope Ur OK,” a melancholy flip that’s thoughtfully compassionate, however thematically out of step with the remainder of the album.