Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” Launches into Popularity

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Melodramatic pop song tops charts, breaks records.

  Breakout music artist Olivia Rodrigo’s newest release “drivers license” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached over 32 million views on YouTube within a week of its release. With a wildfire-like spread across social media platforms, “drivers license” doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon.

  The melodramatic pop song is about 17-year-old Rodrigo reaching a milestone that she intended to commemorate with a past lover. An intimate, reflective song preys on our own experiences and feelings, allowing us to escape into the cliché world of teenage drama and heartbreak despite the current disarray in our world.

  The song’s raging popularity is accredited to the perfect conditions it was born into. With a proper dose of celebrity drama, trendy stylistic additions, and the use of social media platforms such as TikTok to advertise the track, it’s no surprise “drivers license” skyrocketed. “It got super popular on TikTok too,” Sanderson sophomore Sarah Jaber reflects, “everyone is using the song for their videos.”

  The singer-songwriter’s method of promotion may be another reason the song took off so fast. Rodrigo generated excitement about the song by documenting the intimate writing process on TikTok for as long as six months prior to the release of the song, hyping her 3.5 million followers for the January 8 release date. An abundance of covers can already be found on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, with names like Claire Cosby and James Charles already covering the number.

  Gossip and rumors have circulated across the internet after the release of the song, promoting it further. The song is rumored to be written about Joshua Bassett, Rodrigo’s alleged ex-lover and co-star from Disney Channel’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. 

  “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,” Rodrigo sings. Just who is this older, blonde girl? Fans speculate that this mystery girl may be Sabrina Carpenter, who released her own song in response to “drivers license”. “You’ve been telling your side / so I’ll be telling mine,” writes Carpenter in her response song, “Skin”. 

  Joshua Bassett also published a song since the release of “drivers license” titled “Lie, Lie, Lie”, spawning even more talk, and therefore publicizing “drivers license” even more.

  “Drivers license” also seems to transcend traditional genres of music, falling into a category of trendy “bedroom pop”, which was popularized in the past few years by artists like Rex Orange County, Clairo, and Tate McRae. Bedroom pop is described as music that can be written, recorded, and produced in the comfort of one’s own bedroom, and is typically released on streaming platforms such as YouTube or SoundCloud. 

  “I think bedroom pop started with Tate McRae recording songs in her room,” muses Nancy Garcia-Guzman, “I think it really took off since then.” Bedroom pop is usually low-fidelity and simplistic, reaching into the vulnerability it takes to write an honest, heartfelt song. 

  Still at No. 1 three weeks after it debuted, “drivers license” doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.