MADSON: ‘Drivers License’ breaks records, sparks drama

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Photo by Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

The song was released Jan. 8 and hit No. 1 globally by Jan. 19.

Olivia Rodrigo’s song “drivers license” has taken the United States by storm. It was released Jan. 8, and by Jan. 19 it was No. 1 on both the US Billboard 100 and Billboard Global 200. The song is about a girl who just got her license and remembers how she and the one she loves talked about her driving with it for the first time.

Rodrigo’s debut single set the record on Spotify for most streams of a non-holiday song in a single day with 15.17 million plays only to beat that record the following day with 17.01 million streams within 24 hours. The song tells a tale of heartbreak, sadness and lost love. The relationship mentioned in the song ended but she still loves them and is reminded of her pain, especially after receiving her license.

The opening of the song starts with the sound of a car starting, with a beep that transitions into the beat of the song. The opening lines are with “I got my driver’s license last week / Just like we always talked about / ‘Cause you were so excited for me / To finally drive up to your house.” It sets the scene, and later in the chorus, Rodrigo sings How you could be so okay now that I’m gone … ‘Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street.” These lyrics emphasize the heartbreak Rodrigo is experiencing and remembering as she begins her new driving adventures.

Rodrigo’s voice is silky, smooth and emphasizes the passion put into the lyrics. As the chorus builds, so does her emotion. Her voice gains a sort of power as it builds. It makes the listener feel as Rodrigo does. It is the perfect song to blast and sing along while driving around the suburbs or down a small street.

Not only has the song received praise from acclaimed artists like Taylor Swift, but it has also received attention for the conspiracy surrounding the love triangle presented in the lyrics. Many speculators believe the song is about Joshua Bassett, Rodrigo’s colleague on the Disney show “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” The two were rumored to be an item, but judging by the song, it seems Bassett moved on. Based on the lyrics “And you’re probably with that blonde girl / Who always made me doubt / She’s so much older than me / She’s everything I’m insecure about,” it is rumored that Sabrina Carpenter, a 21-year-old previous Disney star, is the blonde girl mentioned.

Both Bassett and Carpenter released their own songs, with Carpenter’s “Skin” rumored to be a clapback at Rodrigo. Her lyrics “There’s no gravity in the words we write / Maybe you didn’t mean it / Maybe blonde was the only rhyme” gave many invested in the drama more reason to speculate. However, Carpenter just responded when to the rumors about her song saying on instagram “I wasn’t bothered by a few lines in a (magnificent) song and wrote a diss track about it.” Bassett’s song “Lie, Lie, Lie” contains lyrics like “And you’re acting, oh, so innocent / Like I’m the only one to blame” which have added fuel to the conspiracy. Bassett originally shared a clip of this song in 2019 with the original title being “I Know.” He explained that the song was written about a friend who had been lying to him for a while.

Not only has the song taken off in the music world but it also brought about a new Tik Tok trend in which people sing “driver’s license” but from a different perspective. A few include the perspective of the other girl or the literal driver’s license. Another point of view is from the perspective of the ex-lover. Tik Tok users have the track playing in the background and create their own lyrics to the song from that specific point of view. Another Tik Tok done was one where the user posted the reaction to the song after becoming invested in the rumored drama. Some of the memes included photos of people or cartoons representing reactions to the song. One of the memes includes someone laying in the rain in a flooded street with the caption “I can’t talk right now, I’m listening to drivers license.”

This story was written by Ariana Madson. She can be reached at ariana.madson@marquette.edu.