SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo: Album Review

Olivia Rodrigo burst onto the music scene with her debut album Sour. Fresh off the most recent season of High School Musical: The Series, Olivia caught everyone’s attention with the lead single, “Driver’s License”. The song became a hit on Tik Tok and that blasted Olivia to superstardom.

When I first sat down to listen to the album, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m certainly not the target demographic for Olivia’s album, but I found myself really getting into the songs. Olivia had also recently followed up the success of “Driver’s License” with the Paramore inspired pop/rock smash “Good 4 U”. That song is phenomenal.

Olivia credited Taylor Swift as one of her inspirations when making this album, and I definitely see it. The pop/rock feel of “Good 4 U” is followed by a soft ballad “enough for you”, which is another one of my favorites from the album.

Overall, I give this album, 5 stars. It is good from start to finish. My favorite tracks are: “Good 4 U”, “1 step forward, 3 steps back”, “deja vu”, “happier”, “enough for you”, and “jealousy, jealousy”.

Olivia had a great debut, and I look forward to what else she has to offer. She is definitely a star on the rise.

Watch Olivia’s MTV Video Music Awards performance of “Good 4 U” below

Odds and Ends: An Update

I finished a book I was reading today. it was Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. I’m not sure if I will start my next book later this week or on the 1st of October.

I’ve been very anxious lately, questioning my life and trying to figure out what I want. I thought I was content, dare I say, complacent, with where I am at, but lately, I’ve been feeling restless. I don’t know what is up. I’ve discussed some things with close family members, but I know, whatever I decide is completely up to me.

On the hobbies front, I’m still coding in Python. I even set up a Github page.

books I Read in August

This month I finally got back into the swing of reading! I completed three books this month.

Where the Line Bleeds by Jesymn Ward

This is the third book I’ve read by Jesymn Ward. It follows Joshua and Christophe as they navigate life after high school. Set in a fictional Mississippi town in 2003. I enjoyed following Joshua and Christophe as they did all they could to keep out of trouble and help out their family.

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano was an amazing book. I first discovered this book when Jenna Bush Hager featured it on her Read with Jenna segment on the TODAY Show. This book follows Edward as he is the lone survivor of a plane crash.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson was a good book. This is the second book I have read from Jacqueline Woodson. We travel between two timelines, Aubrey and Idris, and then their daughter Melody. Aubrey and Idris were two teens who caught each other’s eye during school and on one fateful night, created Melody. Idris was 16 at the time. Fast forward to Melody’s 16th birthday and we see her relationship with her parents and grandparents as she prepares for her cotilion, an event that her mother Idris didn’t get to have because of her pregnancy. The time frame of this book is from around 1984 to 2003. I enjoyed this book and it was nice and short.

Can Art and artist be separated?

Bill Cosby. Robert Kelly. Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Louis C. K.

Those names are very familiar now for all the WRONG reasons. Their actions brought in the new era of accountability known as the #METOO movement. 2017 was a wild time for accountability. It seemed like every time you turned around, someone would be getting called to the carpet for being a sexual predator. Weinstein ended up in prison. Cosby ended up in prison. Kelly ended up in prison. Louis still has a career as does Spacey, if you can call it a “career”.

Last month, Bill Cosby was released from prison due to a legal technicality. It had something to do with a plea deal Cosby made in an earlier trial from like 2004. Anyway, his show, The Cosby Show was a prominent show in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a little bit before my time(i was born in 1992). The show aired on NBC and was one of the highest rated shows of its time during its entire run.

I’ve watched the show often over the years. When all the stuff about Cosby’s sexual misconduct came out, people began calling for The Cosby Show reruns to be taken off the air. Their stance was that by airing re-runs of the show, the networks would be implicitly endorsing Bill Cosby himself and therefore agreeing with his misconduct. The networks complied, and re-runs were subsequently taken off the air. I remember feeling miffed about this because I felt that people were punishing the cast for the actions of one man. Cosby did what he did, but taking the show off of syndication would only hurt the remaining actors of the series in my opinion. When shows are in syndication, everyone working on the show gets paid royalties. Many of the actors from the show did go on to have good acting careers and were successful in other ventures, but they still should have been able to receive the royalties they earned from the show.

All of this brings me to my main question, can the art be separated from the artist? I personally believe it can, but I understand why some people may feel differently. It is a personal choice for you to stop engaging with an artist’s content because of their off-screen misconduct. That is your prerogative. YOU cannot tell ME that I cannot engage with the artist’s content just because you don’t.

The Cosby Show currently is available on Amazon Prime. It may still come on TV, on channels like TVLand, but I don’t have cable so I am not sure. I just watched a really good YouTube video about this particular subject. The video is by a YouTuber named Jose. I’ve linked it below. it is about an hour and a half long.

Bottom line for me is that separating the art from the artist is ultimately a personal choice and one that you cannot force onto someone else. The shows, films, tv specials, music, et cetera that these men have worked on are still apart of the overall media culture. Their wrongdoings have tarnished their own representations as well as the representations of their art, however, engaging with their content doesn’t mean that you implicitly or explicitly endorse these men’s wrongdoings. Accusing someone of endorsing sexual misconduct just because they watch re-runs of The Cosby Show or watch old Kevin Spacey films, or listen to Robert Kelly’s music(and music he has produced or been a songwriter on), is a slippery slope that I don’t think you all are prepared enough or cognizant enough to try and go down.

Sharing My View of the World