New Olivia Rodrigo documentary drives through the creation of ‘SOUR’


Olivia Rodrigo | Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

Angelica Tejada, Opinions Editor

“Olivia Rodrigo: Driving Home 2 U” on Disney+ perfectly captures the creation of Olivia Rodrigo’s record-breakingdebut album “Sour.” The documentary follows Rodrigo on a trip from Salt Lake City, Utah to Los Angeles, California — revisiting the nostalgic places Rodrigo wrote and produced the album.

“Driving Home 2 U” is a treat for Rodrigo’s fans, as it includes unique performances of each song from the album that gives them a new sound. In particular, “good 4 u” is backed by a full orchestra, “favorite crime” begins acapella while “jealousy, jealousy” is a full-on rock performance.

The 19-year-old actress and singer-songwriter brings viewers into the studio where Rodrigo,  alongside producer and songwriter Dan Nigro, created her iconic songs. She revealed that “happier” was the song that caught Nigro’s attention via social media and led to their collaboration.

“I remember posting the song ‘happier’ online, and looking back on it and being like, ‘Oh my God, this song is terrible. It got no likes. I sang it really badly. Why did I do that?’ But I had this gut feeling to keep it up,” Rodrigo said in the film. “The fact that I posted it was the reason that I met Dan, because he found it and was like, ‘Oh my God, I love this song. We should work together.’ That was the first song we produced together.”

The video clips from the studio sessions give snippets of unreleased songs that Rodrigo and Nigro worked on. The end credits roll out with a full version of an additional unreleased song.

Hopefully, one day, those songs will hit streaming platforms.

Rodrigo’s debut single, “drivers license,” which hit one billion streams, spurred online drama and hate as rumors circulated about it being about a love triangle between Rodrigo’s “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” co-star actor Joshua Bassett and singer and actress Sabrina Carpenter.

She revealed in the documentary how this made her hesitant of releasing the album’s second single “deja vu.”

“There was so much drama that was around ‘drivers license’ and so much hate. I, like, thought if I put this song out, then I was also, like playing into this, like, drama, love triangle, let’s hate on other girl’s thing,” Rodrigo said. “I never write any of my songs from that point of view ‘cause that’s not something I feel.”

Rodrigo opens on the process of writing the song “good for you” and shows how she went back and forth on whether it was emotional enough, which seems absurd since the song is truly heartbreaking.

Her reflection on growing up as a child star brought to light her struggle with being good enough for those around her, which is very much relatable. She started to question the praise she received as a child as she grew up and battled with trusting the adoration.

Rodrigo says that “traitor” is one of her favorite songs she has ever written and highlights the lyric, “Guess you didn’t cheat /But you’re still a traitor.”

This song captured the painful feeling of betrayal she felt when she saw someone she still loved after theirbreak up move on from their relationship very quickly.

The performance of the song reigns as a favorite in the film due to the rawness that it has sonically and the experimental side of live looping, which distinguishes it from other “traitor” performances.

On the note of experimenting, the documentary shows the creation of the perfectly and purposefully messy album-opener “brutal,” which is revealed to be written by Rodrigo five days before the album’s track list was released.

“Olivia wants to put one more upbeat song on the record,” Nigro said. The film captures the studio session with the first rounds of recording and the song had alternate lyrics.

“Driving Home 2 U”  ends with a performance of “hope ur ok,” the final song Rodrigo finished for the album, which she emphasized wanting to capture a specific story with a brighter ending.

“I really wanted a folksy, singer-songwritery, storytelling song that ended the album on a hopeful note,” Rodrigo said.

After the performance, Rodrigo and her band run into the beach, the moment captures the kind of emotional release that is felt when listening to “Sour.”

With the year of success that Rodrigo has had from seven Grammy nominations to being named Billboard’s Woman of the Year, “Driving Home 2 U” takes a step back to recognize and appreciate the true talent of the young star.