“Drivers License” Makes a Mark

(Camille Shimshak / The Tufts Daily)

Alexandra Accardo ’22

On January 8th, 2021, the release of the song “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo made a huge impact on the entertainment industry and became popular everywhere. All of a sudden, Rodrigo’s single was being played nonstop and, within a couple of days, broke records on Spotify and reached millions of views on her music video on Youtube. “Drivers License” has stayed number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for three weeks straight and has remained on the Hot 100 to this date (Billboard) while surpassing 100 million Spotify streams after 9 days of release (Spotify), making it “the fastest song in the platform’s history” (Teen Vogue). The single has reached over 388 million streams on Spotify (Spotify) and her music video has reached over 124 million views on Youtube (Youtube). But how and why did this one song, Rodrigo’s first single, become so popular in such a short time and stay popular?

Prior to her single, Olivia Rodrigo, 17, was best known for her role as Nini on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. She starred alongside her co-star Joshua Bassett, who is also a songwriter. The series became very popular and grabbed a lot of attention, as it’s a reboot of the cult classic “High School Musical”. The show is well-liked and both Rodrigo and Bassett received praise for their remarkable acting and singing. Playing love interests on the show, rumors began circulating on a possible real-life romance between the costars. Following the release of “Drivers License”, many people assumed the lyrics reflected Rodrigo’s past relationship with Bassett, which brought even more attention to the song. The release of the song on TikTok brought massive amounts of attention to the song itself when people would make conclusions about the meaning behind it. Lyrics like “I got my drivers license last week, just like we always talked about” tipped fans off that this song was about Bassett because he taught Rodrigo how to drive. Another lyric, “And you’re probably with that blond girl”, gained huge amounts of attention as Bassett is now rumored to be in a relationship with actress and singer Sabrina Carpenter, who has blonde hair. With this amount of mystery about the romance between the two co-stars and the possible connection to the song, it was bound to get attention. 

While the background story to the single brought it attention, the song itself was loved immediately all over the world. Rodrigo’s lyrics became relatable to many people, especially those who have experienced heartbreak and nostalgia in a relationship. The vulnerability that Rodrigo showed with this song and its release has been noticed and appreciated by many. She dove into a specific memory that she associates with heartbreak and shared that with the entire world. Her sadness is heard through not only her lyrics, but her voice in the song and facial expressions in the music video. Speaking of her voice, Rodrigo’s vocals and talent shined tremendously throughout the song, as well. In addition to this, the song itself was well produced and would have been popular even if the romantic drama didn’t surround it. It is clear that she is a talented young musician with a bright future ahead of her.  

1 Comment

Comments are closed.