Pop

Olivia Rodrigo Responds to 'Sour' Songwriting Criticism: 'Nothing in Music Is Ever New'

In a new interview, Olivia Rodrigo addresses criticism about the originality of her Billboard 200-topping debut album Sour after she retroactively added songwriting credits to a handful of her hit songs.

“I think it’s disappointing to see people take things out of context and discredit any young woman’s work,” the 18-year-old told Teen Vogue. “But at the end of the day I’m just really proud and happy to say that my job is being a songwriter. … All music is inspired by each other. Obviously, I write all of my lyrics from my heart and my life first. I came up with the lyrics and the melody for ‘good 4 u’ one morning in the shower.”

In August, months after Sour's release, Rodrigo added Paramore's Hayley Williams and Joshua Farro to the songwriting credits for the Billboard Hot 100-topping "good 4 u" because of its similarities to the band's 2008 top 40 hit "Misery Business." The singer also credited her idol Taylor Swift, as well as Jack Antonoff and Annie Clark (St. Vincent), on her second single "deja vu" for its resemblance to "Cruel Summer," a track from Swift's 2019 album Lover. Ahead of Sour's release, Rodrigo also credited Swift and Antonoff on "1 step forward, 3 steps back" due to an interpolation of Swift’s 2017 Reputation track "New Year's Day."

Still, Rodrigo chalks up the songs' similarities to simply being inspired by her favorite musicians.

“What’s so beautiful about music is that it can be so inspired by music that’s come out in the past,” she continued to Teen Vogue. “Every single artist is inspired by artists who have come before them. It’s sort of a fun, beautiful sharing process. Nothing in music is ever new. There’s four chords in every song. That’s the fun part -- trying to make that your own.”

Sour has been a massive success for the young star, opening at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in May and landing all 11 tracks from the album -- including the No. 1 hits "drivers license" and "good 4 u" -- on the Hot 100.