In a surprise drop on her Instagram this morning, Olivia Rodrigo unveiled the cover art and track list for her much anticipated album coming out at the end of May. The all lavender place-holder has been replaced with a new album cover that stays totally in keeping with the vibes already set for the album. On the cover, Olivia stands in front of that lavender background with stickers all over her face, even on her tongue. This mimics an earlier photoshoot Olivia released back in January with "drivers license" which also featured her thoroughly stickered face. This new look seems to be a developing trend as it was also featured in Conan Gray's new music video for "Overdrive". I think it's super cute, and it fits perfectly as an album cover that's both playful and serious.
Along with the cover and the new name to replace OR, Olivia unveiled the track list for the album, which will feature 11 songs. Since she's hinted at possible collaborations in the past, I have to wonder if all of these are solo songs or if she's simply holding onto a couple guest artists as surprises as we creep closer to May 21st.
So far, streaming services have not received the update, so her Instagram is the only place to find the new news. Having read these song titles, I'm super intrigued by where the album is headed. Written over a balloon that Olivia is poised to pop with a safety pin (seems to be another motif of the album as one of her merch bundles includes safety pin earrings), the track list is stylized in all lowercase which definitely fits with the tone Olivia has set so far.
The titles are simple but intriguing, and generally brief, and my mind is already racing with what they could possibly sound life. Olivia has talked about the album covering a diverse range of sounds from alt pop to alt rock to radio friendly hits and ballads that also cross through many different subjects. The titles definitely seem to lend themselves to that description.
3. drivers license
4. 1 step forward, 3 steps back
5. deja vu
6. good 4 u
7. enough for you
9. jealousy, jealousy
10. favorite crime
11. hope ur okay
Olivia uses an interesting mix of proper spellings and abbreviations sometimes using ur and u and sometimes going for you.
It seems like the album will definitely carry on the narrative of heartbreak broached in the two singles. "brutal" and "traitor" absolutely sound like songs about getting betrayed and probably set the scene of the break-up leading into "drivers license". It seems like track 4, "1 step forward, 3 steps back", is a turning point where she starts attempting to heal but fails. We already know that "deja vu" is a more upbeat, ironic take on the break-up. Tracks 6 and 7 seem connected in a sense and are either about going back to someone or trying to start over. "good 4 u" and "enough for you" seem to have similar meanings just as titles so it's interesting that they both made the album back to back. Finally tacks 8 and 9 seem to go together about navigating the jealousy of seeing someone move on. It'll be interesting to see if "happier" is about Olivia being happier, or if it follows the trend of "Happiers" past (looking at you Ed Sheeran) and is about another person moving on and being happier without you. I believe "happier" is the only surviving song originally posted to her Instagram, besides "drivers license", so I could theoretically find out now if I wanted to. "favorite crime" has a multitude of intriguing prospects, and "hope ur okay" sounds like the perfect final track. Like a full circle moment. I also love how she used "ur" because it makes it sound like a text you would send to someone. I think it'll make the perfect album closer.
To round out the announcement, Olivia listed new merch on the website. In addition to adding more signed CDs (in case you missed it last time), she brought out three different CD bundles for fans to collect. These bundle boxes seem to be a huge merch trend at the moment. I have to wonder how the CD sales will count from these boxes under the new rules from Billboard, but I'm guessing that because it's an itemized part of the sale (vs being tucked in the back of another item like the Lover journals or Rep magazines) and it's a physical copy it will likely count towards charting. The bundles start with, similar to the magazines and the journals, a $25.95 option that includes a journal you can write in and bonus content along with a CD. The mid-range box is a still pricy $49 that includes a CD, collectable box, and exclusive T-shirt with the album art in black and white. The grand prize box is called the Super Sour box and features a different collectable package, a hoodie, a pair of safety pin earrings, and an exclusive note from Olivia for $89.
Following the sustainable merch trend mainly spearheaded by Billie Eilish's most recent, extremely expensive merch drop with her documentary, Olivia's new merch is made with ethics and the environment in mind. In the description she mentions that the shirt is 100% organic cotton (which is part of a larger push in the fashion industry towards more eco-friendly fabrics), produced in an "eco-friendly facility" that uses "ethical practices". While these are all just statements that are hard to follow up on, I think it says a lot that it was an important enough factor to be listed in the item description and is a new addition for this merch drop. She's honestly made more of an effort than most fast fashion brands.
It's really encouraging to see musicians take on a more ethical stance in the clothes they choose to sell and to promote the importance of fashion that considers the environment to their followers. I also love that these seemed to have been made well and consciously without as steep of a price hike as I've seen from artists like Billie.
I'm so excited to see what Olivia has up her sleeve for her last in a long line of hyper-successful debuts. It's amazing to see a roll out happen so quickly for someone so new to the music scene, but I think it's a genius way to capitalize on her momentum and how many eyes are on her right now.
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