My New Favorite Song Sounds Like Olivia Rodrigo, But Political (and British)

I’m not sure if it's a good song, but that’s not really the point for me, a despairing millennial raised in a culture of high production values and no soul.

I think it’s fair to say that most of the population is not dying for music about the British government. However, my favorite song at the moment starts by declaring: We had the worst prime minister ever/ And then we had the worst prime minister ever/ And now we’ve got the worst prime minister ever…ever!

And look, while there’s a valid debate to be had about which British prime minister of the last five years was the worst (pick from Conservatives Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, or current PM Rishi Sunak), that’s not what I love about this song. What I love about “I Hate It Here,” by a barely known British singer called So Good, is the pure disgust behind her lyrics. The first verse wades into the U.K.’s severe cost of living crisis (something that residents of other countries are no doubt also familiar with): No one’s got no money and the winter is coming/ And the heating’s switched off and the baths ain’t running. Then right before the chorus, she also dips into American politics: I wanna hear a song about Roe v. Wade /Cause you ain’t stopped abortion, just abortion that’s safe.

This song has popped up on my TikTok feed a few times (the algorithm, unsurprisingly, knows what I want), but it didn’t really click for me until last week, when something about its nihilistic earworm of a chorus (I hate it here and I wanna go) meshed seamlessly with my mood.

So Good is hard to pin down genre-wise: Much of the verses are rapped, but the chorus of “I Hate It Here” is a distinctly pop, slightly auto-tuned earworm. However, her attitude—angry, and intentionally bratty—is reminiscent of punk in the best way.

This song is what I wish Olivia Rodrigo’s new album had been like. Rodrigo, of course, is not a stranger to political anger or punk influences: Days after Roe was overturned, during her set at Glastonbury, she brought Lily Allen onstage and the two sang Allen’s hit “Fuck You,” saying, “The song is for the justices: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh.” And her album GUTS, which came out in September, was clearly influenced by so much of what is wonderful about punk music (the anthemic choruses, the insolence); in a New York Times profile, she cited legendary punk rock band Bikini Kill as an inspiration. But this didn’t quite translate to substance (though in “All-American Bitch,” she does get close to making a punk-y sort of commentary, hinting at the list of things society wants young women—especially pop stars—to be: sexy, kind, pretty when they cry).

Sure, So Good’s lyrics are about as subtle as America Fererra’s monologue in Barbie, and her aesthetic is heavily DIY (intentionally, yes, but largely out of necessity, I suspect). And I’m actually not even sure if “I Hate It Here” is a good song! But that’s not really the point for me, a despairing millennial raised in a culture of high production values and no soul. If I can only hear this type of passion from a singer whose music video relies heavily on a basic greenscreen (and who could, let’s be honest, use a third verse), so be it.

The fact that So Good has paltry streaming and YouTube numbers (her channel has just 137 subscribers) is not a surprise; I don’t get the sense that she’s operating with any sort of promotional budget—plus, going by So Good with a song called “I Hate It Here” doesn’t exactly produce strong Google results. But I’ve been doing my part to boost its numbers, imagining myself scream-singing my rage out at a So Good show in a basement venue that reeks of beer.

Because as headlines announce yet more preventable deaths caused by weapons paid for by our tax dollars; rampant layoffs even as the economy continues to bounce back; and billionaires figuring out ways to leave their fortunes to their future, revived selves, the only balm for my despair is turning it into anger, listening to a Gen Z’er declare, I hate it here and I wanna go/If there’s water on Mars, if there’s water on Mars, let’s go. (Just please don’t let Elon come.)

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