The End of the Sour Era

A look inside the making of the grammy-nominated album “SOUR”

Disney+ released “Driving Home 2 U,” a documentary depicting the making of Olivia Rodrigo’s hit-debut album, “SOUR,” on March 25, 2022. Two years after the album’s composition and one year after its original release, “Driving Home 2 U” shows a more mature Rodrigo reflecting on her previous relationship and subsequent heartbreak, as well as how much her life has changed since the release of hit single “Driver’s License” in January of last year. 

“I think I just wanted to tell people what was going on in the back of my head, and in a way that was proud and not ashamed,” Rodrigo said in the documentary’s trailer about writing “SOUR.” 

The film shows Rodrigo going on a road trip from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City — where the album was written — one last time. It also features reimagined versions of some of her songs, such as an orchestra version of “good 4 u” and a punk rock version of “jealousy, jealousy.” 

Much like the rest of her content, the documentary is a coming-of-age story in which Rodrigo romanticizes her heartbreak and tries to learn from it, while also admitting that she is still inexperienced, somewhat overly emotional and caring. At the same time, the road trip aesthetic is similar to that of Jack Kerouack’s book “On the Road” or John Green’s novel “Paper Towns.” In other words, these stories center young people on a journey to find themselves through the midst of the chaos that comes with youth and love. 

Though the documentary features good music, the true star of this film is Rodrigo’s self-awareness. In one of the scenes, the singer reads a diary entry she wrote in 2020, right after getting her driver’s license, and what that meant for her relationship and her eventual heartbreak. She says that at the time, she could not fathom loving someone else as she did with that person. But two years later, she laughs it off while also not diminishing her experience. Rodrigo recognizes that while it may sound dramatic, at the time she felt like every day her world was on the verge of collapsing. 


Furthermore, each song gets a moment in the spotlight. From giving context to her lyrics to making sure each track gets a specific aesthetic and different scenarios, the artist makes sure that each song gets representation. And while her performances are worthy of standing up in your room and screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs, two standouts to me were the performances of “brutal” and “hope ur ok.” 

For “brutal,” Rodrigo and her all-women band go to what looks like an abandoned airplane to perform the song. This performance truly captures the emotional distress and the angst of this record. The long guitar solo as well as Rodrigo throwing herself on the floor to sing will make you truly relate to the lyric “God, it’s brutal out here.” 

On the other hand, the “hope ur ok” performance gives viewers a peaceful and hopeful end to the tumultuous experience of “SOUR” and heartbreak. The artistic shots of the singer running to the beach shows viewers that pain is temporary and it inspires the audience to romanticize their lives and hardships and turn it into a “royal flush.” 

“Driving Home 2 U” depicts Rodrigo in a more personal light. And in some way, it feels like a closing of the “SOUR” chapter. While the grammy-nominated singer is only 19 years old, her music is nothing but a celebration of youth, heartbreak and teenage angst.