Song of the Day #4,593: ‘drivers license’ – Olivia Rodrigo

I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled Random Weekend in order to feature a pair of songs blowing up in the cultural conversation, at least among the TikTok generation.

First up is the song that really matters, Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license.’ Written by the 17-year-old star of a Disney+ show with the incredible title High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, this heartbreak ballad has exploded over the past few weeks, debuting at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and becoming the top-selling single in the entire world.

Rodrigo’s song is shattering streaming records and became one of the few debut singles in history to enter the charts at #1. Even more impressive is that the others to achieve that feat were by artists who’d had mega-success already (Lauryn Hill with The Fugees, Zayn Malik with One Direction, a trio of American Idol contestants).

Rodrigo just sat down at a piano, tapped into her broken teenage heart, and took over the musical world.

The song is pretty great: moody and mournful, and as achingly specific as a Taylor Swift track. Swift herself aided in the crazy trajectory of ‘drivers license,’ posting her admiration for the song on Instagram.

‘Drivers license’ is thought to be about a romance between Rodrigo and her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star, 20-year-old Joshua Bassett, which ended when he picked up with singer/actress Sabrina Carpenter.

Carpenter released her own song, ‘Skin,’ last week, and fans of both artists interpret it as a response to this one. I’ll feature ‘Skin’ tomorrow.

[Verse 1]
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
But today I drove through the suburbs
Crying ’cause you weren’t around

[Verse 2]
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
Yeah, today I drove through the suburbs
‘Cause how could I ever love someone else?

[Chorus]
And I know we weren’t perfect
But I’ve never felt this way for no one
And I just can’t imagine
How you could be so okay now that I’m gone
Guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me
‘Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street

[Verse 3]
And all my friends are tired
Of hearing how much I miss you, but
I kinda feel sorry for them
‘Cause they’ll never know you the way that I do, yeah
Today I drove through the suburbs
And pictured I was driving home to you

[Chorus]
And I know we weren’t perfect
But I’ve never felt this way for no one, oh
And I just can’t imagine
How you could be so okay now that I’m gone
I guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me
‘Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street

[Bridge]
Red lights, stop signs
I still see your face in the white cars, front yards
Can’t drive past the places we used to go to
‘Cause I still fuckin’ love you, babe (Ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh)
Sidewalks we crossed
I still hear your voice in the traffic, we’re laughing
Over all the noise
God, I’m so blue, know we’re through
But I still fuckin’ love you, babe (Ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh)

[Chorus]
I know we weren’t perfect
But I’ve never felt this way for no one
And I just can’t imagine
How you could be so okay now that I’m gone
Guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me
‘Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street

[Outro]
Yeah, you said forever, now I drive alone past your street

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,593: ‘drivers license’ – Olivia Rodrigo

  1. Maddie says:

    Love this song and HSM the Series is wonderful. Happy to see her writing such amazing songs out the gate, even if this may be a PR stunt and even if I’m glad Joshua didn’t date her officially because of their age gap. A bop’s a bop 🙂

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    The song is good, but it’s hard to explain the meteoric success except to say that it’s attributable to the increasingly viral and fluid social media platforms that now exist and are so popular. I suspect she will be far from the last artist in the current multi and social media age to achieve this type of success.

  3. Amy says:

    Glad that Maddie was still home to show me this video and give me the whole back story when the song was skyrocketing a couple of weeks ago. Since she’s now gone, I missed the “Skin” response, so I’ll be curious to hear it tomorrow.

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