Opinion: Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’ is just what everyone needed


Disney Channel

Photo Cred: Walt Disney Television. 149725_VD1_8838″. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Jerrica Zuhlke, Copy Editor

On Jan. 7, 2021, Olivia Rodrigo released her debut single “drivers license”, which quickly amassed praise on streaming platforms and social media. As of Jan. 12, 2021, the music video has reached 16.7 million views on YouTube alone, with millions of streams on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services. 

Famous for her role as Nini Salazar-Roberts in Disney’s “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”, the young actress, it appears, is familiar with relationship drama, both on and off screen. Rodrigo’s on-screen romantic interest Richard “Ricky” Bowen (Joshua Bassett) is the subject of “All I Want”, an original song released on the show which also quickly amassed a following, and his real life counterpart is speculated to be the subject of “drivers license.”

The rumors gained popularity on TikTok, where individuals note the similarities between the song and Rodrigo’s life. While it was never confirmed that Rodrigo and Bassett were together in real life, their relationship has been highly speculated since the release of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” However, rumors claim that Bassett (20) broke up with Rodrigo (17) because of their age difference, and is currently dating Sabrina Carpenter, a Disney Channel alum. Kindling to this rumor lies in “drivers license” itself, where Rodrigo sings “And you’re probably with that blonde girl…she’s so much older than me.” Carpenter is blonde and is also 4 years Rodrigo’s senior. 

Further sparking these rumors is the line “Guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me”, which fans believe is referring to Bassett’s singles “Common Sense” and “Anyone Else”, which are presumably about Rodrigo. There are also nods to the show, where Rodrigo plays a tiny piano that resembles one that Rodrigo played during the scene featuring “All I Want.” Rodrigo also sports a jean jacket in the music video for “drivers license” which is extremely similar to one that Bassett routinely wore on the show. 

Despite all of these rumors, which have neither been confirmed nor denied by Rodrigo or anyone else, “drivers license” is a masterful melody, which will take anybody back to their own heartbreaks. Featuring mostly background piano, the composition itself allows for the lyrics to truly be the star. Which, thank goodness for that, because they are pure poetry. 

Featuring Rodrigo’s large vocal range, lyrics such as “She’s everything I’m insecure about” and “Cause you said forever now I drive alone past your street” truly tug at your heartstrings, feeling sympathy for yourself, and empathy for Rodrigo, who clearly must have gone through an extremely tough heartbreak in order to come up with this at only 17 years old. The song also features a storyline, with lyrics such as “And all my friends are tired of hearing how much I miss you” that allow for listeners to become entrapped within the plotline. 

Whether or not the rumors surrounding the identity of the heartbreaker featured in “drivers license” are true, there is no doubt that this song deserves the hype and praise from fans and celebrities such as Taylor Swift alike. If you haven’t listened to this song yet, I highly recommend that you do so right now, and keep some tissues nearby. Just in case.