Olivia Rodrigo: teen angst for Gen Z storytellers

Olivia Rodrigo and her deeply personal music have become a talisman of authentic storytelling for Gen Zers. The ubiquity of her music on social platforms points to a digital-first, proudly vulnerable type of confessional teen angst, signaling how Gen Zers create cultural moments.

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“Guess you didn't mean what you wrote in that song about me / 'Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street.” With her heartbreak drenching the lyrics of her madly popular single ‘Driver’s Licence’, Olivia Rodrigo announced herself as something set apart from the other members of the Disney star-to-pop-star pipeline. [1] Her earnestly performed oeuvre has struck a chord with Gen Zers in an explosive way, and her very particular brand of vulnerability has snowballed into a cultural moment and her album, SOUR, is the best-selling female album of 2021, with all 11 album tracks charting on the Billboard Top 100, including two number-one singles. [2]