“The Rose Song” by Olivia Rodrigo
Even though, as of the writing of this post, Olivia Rodrigo is one of the hottest new pop singers in the game as a standalone artist, she is still obligated to her Disney contract. Or put more plainly, while topping the Billboard 200 for instance she concurrently stars, primarily as an actress, on a Disney+ television program entitled High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
So this particular song (“The Rose Song”) is derived from said project and as such premiered on an episode of the series with Rodrigo in character as Nini Salazar-Roberts.
But still, just as with a bulk of her hit album Sour, Olivia contributed to this song’s composition. In fact she is its sole writer. Moreover, the lyrics do not utilize proper nouns or anything like that. In other words, it has a general applicability outside of High School Musical itself.
Indeed even its music video, if you will, as derived from the show only features the songstress at a piano. So it is also from such a perspective that we will proceed with analyzing “The Rose Song”, i.e. outside of the context of High School Musical, even though it does, obviously, serve a role in the series’ narrative.
“The Rose Song”
And from the onset, what it appears we are dealing with here is the case of a vocalist who is the victim of an unreciprocated love. Or put differently, she is involved with someone whom she doesn’t feel truly appreciates her. Yes, he may love her alright. But he does so “for all the wrong reasons”.
Or put even more specifically, it would appear that he is primarily smitten by her beauty. But simultaneously he doesn’t really know who she is on the inside. And most simply put, he is so caught up in her looks, or superficial matters we should say, that he doesn’t even really care to know who she is on the inside. Or phrased differently yet again, he considers her to be “perfect” even though she knows that she isn’t. And part of Olivia’s beef is that she’s sick and tired of being compelled to live up to this unrealistic standard being placed upon her.
Indeed the vocalist is not only troubled by the way her sweetheart behaves but also the fact that she has also grown to perceive herself through his eyes. So now it’s like she’s also developed associated self-esteem issues. And it doesn’t read so much as if her partner is abusive as it is him possessing a tendency to stifle her development/freedom – a reality which, up until this point, she has enabled.
So now she is dealing with personal underdevelopment as a result. And even though she’s not threatening to terminate this relationship, that seems to be the direction she’s leaning in. She’s either going to end the relationshio or her partner has to learn to respect her freedom and inner qualities as well.
All in all
So this is one of those songs which, wording wise, is pretty-terse, yet it has a deep meaning. And from Olivia’s perspective, what she set out to do was “write a song with a message that (girls) are so much more than what boys think of (them)”. Yes, it fits into the storyline of the Nini character, but it is also an idea that Rodrigo wanted to bring to the world at large.
And we have noted before how, on occasion, she can be a very conscious artist. So this is one of such songs in her early catalog.
Yes, the vocalist may be a rose with beautiful “petals” and all. But like the titular flower, she also possesses “thorns” which must be dealt with. And such a realization is manifest in her not appreciating the fact that her partner only focuses on the petals. For she feels that him doing so indicates that he is not truly interested in getting to know her. Rather he just wants to enjoy her looks and have her conform to his own standards, like a trophy, so to speak.
Release of “The Rose Song”
Walt Disney Records dropped this track on 18 June 2021. That was the same day it appeared on the 16th episode overall of the aforementioned High School Musical, with that particular outing being entitled Yes, And…
Just two weeks prior to the release of this song Olivia’s debut studio album, Sour, topped the Billboard 200. It also topped the UK Albums Chart and a whole bunch of other listings around the world. As a matter of fact as far as the first half of the year goes, Rodrigo has been the biggest out-of-nowhere success story of the entire music industry.
That is to say that previously she was one Disney actress out of countless others. But then her first true single, “Drivers License” (2021), took the world by storm. For instance, as of the creation of this post, it has been certified triple-platinum in the United States, within the time span of just six months.
And also keep in mind that said song was dropped in January, when the songstress was still a tender 17 years of age. So if her current trajectory continues, Olivia may well be on the way to becoming the next Taylor Swift, as many fans are anticipating.
Writing and Production Credits
As noted earlier, Olivia Rodrigo wrote this song on her own, without Dan Nigro, who worked with her throughout Sour. And the producer of the track is a Canadian musician by the name of Matthew Tishler, someone you probably never heard before, but dude is all over the industry, even being heavily involved in K-pop. And to note he also produced a prior Olivia Rodrigo High School Musical track entitled “All I Want” (2019).