“Brutal,” the opening track of Olivia Rodrigo‘s debut album “Sour,” is getting a lot of attention for its guitar riff—which people accuse of being copied from the 1978 song “Pump It Up.”
One Twitter user said, “First song on the album [Sour] is a pretty much direct lift from Elvis Costello.”
The Grammy Award-winning English singer-songwriter mentioned in the Tweet came to Olivia’s rescue by replying: “This is fine by me. It’s how rock and roll works.”
Elvis also referenced Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry‘s songs with the hashtags #subterreaneanhomesickblues and #toomuchmonkeybusiness to say how even his own song “Pump It Up” was influenced by other artists’ music.
“You take the broken pieces of another thrill and make a brand new toy. That’s what I did,” he said.
In a May 2021 episode of YouTube RELEASED, Olivia said that her producer Dan Nigro came up with the riff after listening to a lot of 90s music.
“I wrote [‘Brutal’] and most of my songs with my producer, Dan Nigro. He’s awesome. We were in the car listening to a bunch of old 90s songs and really liked that energy. Then he came up with this awesome riff.”
She also said that “Brutal” is one of her favorite songs from “Sour.”
“It’s a really angsty song I suppose, and I sort of just talk about everything that I’m upset about in the song, to put it very plainly and broadly,” she said. “I think it’s funny that we wrote the first track on the record kind of last minute, but it’s one of my favorites.”