Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Drivers License’


Pamina Yung, Staff Writer

Olivia Rodrigo’s new song, “Drivers License,” became a big hit as soon as the music video premiered on YouTube on Jan. 7. The seventeen-year-old High School Musical: The Series actress and singer’s song reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 within a week and has managed to stay there for two ongoing weeks. 

“Drivers License,” a song about a girl reminiscing over a past relationship, has gained more than 100 million streams on Spotify. On Jan. 11, the song hit the record for the most Spotify streams in a single day, with a global total of 15.7 million streams. The next day, it surpassed that record, with 17 million streams, and has already gained over 2.8 million pageviews on Genius.

“I just wanted it to kind of capture the feeling of teenage heartbreak in the suburbs, which has kind of been my experience,” Rodrigo said in a behind-the-scenes clip of the video shoot.

The music video, directed by Matthew Dillon Cohen and filmed in a stranger’s mid-century modern house in the suburbs, is filled with nostalgia that adds to the heart-tugging ambiance of the song. The white vintage Mercedes, street lamps, and projected lights in the video evoke an incredibly soul-stirring emotion that naturally makes the listener place themselves in the singer’s shoes.

“I thought it would be cool to kind of use projections as a way to signify the memories that keep running through this girl’s head as she’s going through this heartbreak,” said Rodrigo. 

One unique aspect of the song is the fact that the title, “Drivers License,” does not appear in the chorus, the section in most lyrical songs where the title usually gets the spotlight. Rodrigo sings about how getting her license allows her to drive past her ex’s house, bringing back painful memories that echo as she continues down the street. The clever maneuver of excluding “Drivers License” in the chorus but, instead, making it the title emphasizes her driver’s license being the catalyst that causes her to remember all the things she misses about her heartbreaker and the way they make her feel.

Fans speculate that the song was inspired by the love triangle between Olivia Rodrigo, Joshua Bassett, and Sabrina Carpenter, all leads in High School Musical: The Series, with Carpenter being “that blonde girl” mentioned in Rodrigo’s lyrics. Earlier in their acting careers, it was rumored Rodrigo and Bassett were dating and then broke up, and recently, Bassett and Carpenter have reportedly gotten together. Furthermore, on Jan. 22, Carpenter released her own song that, based on the lyrics, seems to be a direct response to Rodrigo’s “Drivers License,” although Carpenter has denied this. Not only that but on Jan. 14, Bassett released his single, “Lie Lie Lie,” which is probably not a response to Rodrigo’s song due to it being written two years ago, but is suspected to be related to their alleged past relationship.

Regardless, “Drivers License” is a song that many have instantly fallen in love with and obsessed over. It is jokingly becoming the younger generation’s national anthem, and as the Gen-Z taste and trends in music continue to rise, there is no doubt that “Drivers License” will do the same. 


Photo courtesy of BILLBOARD.COM