Olivia Rodrigo surprise-dropped a new music video on Monday (August 23) showing how “Brutal” it is to be a teenager and wondering where her fucking teenage dream is, after all.
Accompanied by an angsty grunge instrumental, the video introduces a choose-your-player selection channeling Adobe Flash web games from the dawn of the millennium. The cursor clicks on Rodrigo dressed in a pastel blue ballet outfit and matching wig. As she tries to perform en pointe, she falls over, horrified, as the other dancers dance perfectly around her.
The video then shows a montage of Rodrigo singing about how “so sick of 17” she is and playing different roles: a gossipy reporter, a stressed out commercial star, a bitter high schooler, and a celebrity crying on Instagram Live. Rodrigo and her “two real friends” can also be seen wearing several different colorful social media filters to portray her emotions and some common social media behaviors of Gen Z.
“All I did was try my best / This the kinda thanks I get? / Unrelentlessly upset,” she sings. “They say these are the golden years / But I wish I could disappear / Ego crush is so severe / God, it’s brutal out here.”
As she complains about not knowing how to parallel park (or really just not fitting in with the high school hierarchy), we see Rodrigo in the backseat of a retro Cadillac with her friends. She climbs and walks on top of several different cars in a crowded parking lot, ending the song with the confused lyric: “And God, I don’t even know where to start.” The video concludes with her standing on top of a rear end and the ballet dancers performing en pointe behind her as cars loudly beep. Several drivers can be seen getting out of their cars.
“Brutal” is the first track of Rodrigo’s debut album Sour, which was released on May 21. The album was critically acclaimed, debuting No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and had the biggest opening week for any album in 2021. All 11 of Sour‘s tracks appeared inside the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 by June 5, thus making Rodrigo the first female to simultaneously chart 11 or more songs in the chart’s top 30.
Rodrigo also is nominated for five VMAs in the Artist of the Year, Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Push Performance of the Year, and Best Pop categories. She will perform her No. 1 smash hit “Good 4 U” during the show from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on September 12.