Chances are, if you have TikTok or Twitter, you’ve heard “Drivers License.” Released on Jan. 8, the song broke streaming records and its accompanying music video has over 37 million views on YouTube.
Olivia Rodrigo is an actress on “High school Musical: the Musical: the Series.” At only 17, Rodrigo already had a taste of fame with “All I Want”, a song she wrote for the show. However, “Drivers License” was more personal.
It’s no surprise that the song became an instant hit. It’s catchy, the lyrics are intimate and the speculated context of the song is heart wrenching. Fans believe Rodrigo wrote the song about her co-star Joshua Bassett and the end of their relationship. Whether or not that’s true, it’s indisputable that the lyrics paint a vivid picture.
“Drivers License” is perhaps the most high school song I’ve heard in a long time, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Rodrigo created a solid song about teenage heartbreak. Hearing this while in college, I can’t imagine how 15-year-old me would’ve reacted to this track. I can perfectly envision myself as a teenager listening to this song on the ride home from school, thinking I knew what love was at such a young age.
One of my favorite things about this track is that I know it resonated with a lot of listeners, especially those on the younger side. I appreciate the fact that the song will help a lot of heartbroken youth feel heard and understood. I’d like to imagine that “Drivers License” will inspire listeners to be more in touch with their feelings and reflect on their experiences.
The beauty of this song is that Rodrigo was able to tie two milestones, your first love and getting your license, together to create an experience that nearly everyone can relate to. As a teenager, the thought of getting your driver’s license meant growing up, and the opportunity for countless adventures with your boyfriend or girlfriend. So, when Rodrigo relates this to heartbreak, you’re bound to feel something.
The song relies heavily on a piano, adding to the somberness of her vocals. The lyrics are simultaneously intimate, yet universal. Personally, some of the standout lines for me are, “all my friends are tired of hearing how much I miss you” and “I just can’t imagine how you could be so okay now that I’m gone.” While these aren’t necessarily the most complex lyrics, they are extremely relatable – and sometimes that’s all it takes to make a good song.
I can’t help but think that there is a certain something missing on this track. However, I admire and applaud Rodrigo for putting her thoughts and feelings out into the world at such a young age.
If she continues to express herself through her lyrics, she has the potential to make a name for herself in the music industry. Whether or not listeners like the song, one has to give respect where respect is due.
“Drivers License” doesn’t have incredible vocals or intricate lyrics, but it will make listeners feel and reflect. To me, that’s what separates a singer from an artist. Rodrigo’s vocals have room for improvement. However, I’m excited to see how she continues to grow, both as a person and as a musician. Truthfully, I’m rooting for her.