Olivia Rodrigo dropped a surprise music video for her song “brutal” yesterday: 



Despite Olivia hinting that it may be around the corner, we didn’t know the corner was a random Monday. But stunts like this keep things fresh, especially since her album has been out for a few months now. Social media obviously blew up when she posted that the video would be premiering in ten minutes, and Twitter did what it does. 


When I first heard this song, I thought it was chaos, but in a good way. I was happy to see the music video kept the same energy. I like seeing this dynamic Olivia, and the actress Olivia, through her various characters. And of course perhaps a nod to one of her biggest idols, Taylor Swift, because the music video for “Shake It Off” comes to mind as Olivia plays a ballerina and switches into different wigs. 

The theme here is not subtle: teen angst, with stomping, dramatic facial expressions, and 90s fashion looks I’m sure Gen Z is gonna be obsessed with (this kind of inspo has been all over TikTok). Olivia already has had some excellent fashion moments, and is leaning into the Y2K style takeover. Olivia embraces that in this music video with low rise pants, plaid, big belts, and lots of hair accessories (can we please bring back the hair clips???). Although I’ve seen a lot of people talk about Olivia’s last outfit in the music video, my favourite is her red beret look in the classroom scene (maybe that’s just because I had almost the exact same one): 


The four-year-old in me is happy watching this, and it goes beyond the 90s and early 2000s clothes. She’s got these anime-inspired filters that put cartoon tears on her face, and very obvious green-screen backgrounds that remind me of the MTV days when CGI wasn’t an option. Avril Lavigne comes to mind while watching this, because she was my queen of teen angst and plaid skirts. It does make sense, because this specific style goes hand in hand with the aesthetic of the video. I just wonder if she’ll keep going with this style, or change it up for her future projects. Her first few music videos have also had inspirations from the (not so) old days, but they were sad and heart-breaky. It’s nice to have those kinds of songs to listen to, but sometimes the music videos for them can be repetitive and, since they’re sad, not so fun to watch. Since the rest of her album is filled with sad-girl hour anthems, it’s going to be interesting to see how she navigates doing something different.