Drivers License

Album: yet to be titled (2021)
Charted: 1 1

Songfacts®:

  • Olivia Rodrigo is an American actress and singer who made her name in a couple of Disney series. Her breakthrough role was Paige Olvera on Bizaardvark, and she then played Nini Salazar-Roberts on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (the Gabriella of the original show). Rodrigo recorded several songs for HSM: The Musical: The Series, including the hit single "All I Want," which she also wrote.

    Rodrigo signed with Geffen Records in 2020 and released her debut single as an independent artist, "Drivers License," on January 8, 2021.
  • Rodrigo wrote the raw lyrics after breaking up with her boyfriend. The two used to talk about how excited they'd be when she passed her driving test and could drive to his home. Now she is aimlessly riding through the LA suburbs with her newly christened "driver's license," longing for her ex.

    "When I came up with 'drivers license,' I was going through a heartbreak that was so confusing to me, so multifaceted," Rodrigo explained. "Putting all those feelings into a song made everything seem so much simpler and clearer - and at the end of the day, I think that's really the whole purpose of songwriting. There's nothing like sitting at the piano in my bedroom and writing a really sad song. It's truly my favorite thing in the world."
  • Olivia's fans believe the subject of this lovelorn ballad is her HSM co-star Joshua Bassett, who she dated during the filming of the show in 2019 before splitting in early 2020.

    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


    Olivia first posted a snippet of the song on her Instagram July 23, 2020, a fortnight after rumors started that Bassett was dating Sabrina Carpenter. The Girl Meets World actress has blonde hair and is four years older than Olivia.
  • Did you spot the incorrect grammar in the title - the song name should read "Driver's License." We don't know if it's a typo or Rodrigo intended to miss off the apostrophe.
  • Rodrigo wrote the song with the track's producer Dan Nigro. His other credits include Sky Ferreria's "I Blame Myself," Freya Ridings' "Castles" and Conan Gray's "Heather."
  • Matthew Dillon Cohen directed the accompanying music video, which sees Rodrigo behind the wheel after receiving her driver's license. The singer reminisces over her memories of the song's subject as she drives around a suburban neighborhood.
  • During the clip, Cohen projects old photos and videos on the singer's neck. The director explained to Billboard that Rodrigo wanted to do something that incorporated nostalgia through projections. "I think we really landed on a nice way of telling this little story within the story," he said. "that you see through these projections that are this first-person account of a relationship.

    Cohen added that Rodrigo shot the little mini-films we see on her iPhone, "so those are all real things that we were able to incorporate for the video."
  • Olivia Rodrigo told Apple Music she wrote much of the song "literally crying in my living room." She explained she was driving in her car around her neighborhood, tearfully listening to sad songs. When Rodridgo got home, she thought to herself, "Maybe I'll write a song about this, crying in the car."

    Rodrigo sat down at her piano, played some chords and wrote the song from there. "But it was really, really natural and organic," she said. "Very much me writing in the depth of my emotion. I think that's really cool."
  • "Drivers License" broke the Spotify record for most streams of a song in a single week with over 65 million streams in the week ending January 14, 2021. The record had been held by Bad Bunny's "Dakati" with 44 million streams in the week ending November 12, 2020. It also set Global Amazon Music records for the most streams in a week for a song debut.
  • The car engine we hear revving up in the beginning is Olivia's mom's car.
  • Joshua Bassett released a single a week later titled "Lie Lie Lie," which many fans assumed to be a response track. However, he first penned the tune back in 2019, well before all the alleged romantic drama took place.

    On January 22, 2021, Sabrina Carpenter dropped "Skin," a thinly veiled answer track. She mocks Rodrigo with such lyrics as, "don't drive yourself insane" and "maybe 'blonde' was the only rhyme."

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