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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

‘drivers license’: Put this on your list of top 10 songs not worth the hype


“I know we weren’t perfect but I’ve never felt this way for no one.” How original. Last time I checked, there are hundreds of songs about unrequited love, so why did Olivia Rodrigo make it to the top of Billboard's Global 200 three weeks in a row and counting? I had to find out.

This year has already given us some promising new music from artists like Taylor Swift, Cardi B and The Weeknd. Olivia Rodrigo seemed to come out of nowhere. If you’re anything like me, you had no idea who Olivia Rodrigo was before January; moreover, you may have been confused as to why her song, “drivers license,” became a groundbreaking song, especially since it's so unoriginal.

I took it upon myself to deep dive into the drama behind the song and sift through the private lives of three Disney stars so you didn't have to. Here's a brief history on Olivia Rodrigo: She plays Nina Salazar-Roberts in Disney’s “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” acting alongside co-star Joshua Basset. So what does this have to do with “drivers license?”

Well, general consensus has it that this song is about Joshua Basset, who has reportedly written multiple songs about Rodrigo including “Common Sense” and most recently, “Lie Lie Lie.” Now let’s throw Sabrina Carpenter, co-star of Disney’s “Girl Meets World,” into the mix and the lyrics behind “drivers license” really come to life. All three of the Disney stars in question have written songs about each other; it appears that Basset and Carpenter are romantically together, while Rodrigo is on the sidelines with only her driver’s license to show for it.

After my deep dive I listened to the song again, trying to find the magic key that caused the world to turn upside. I found none. To my ears, it’s completely unoriginal. I suppose you could say it's a good song in terms of music quality and its relevance to the current music industry, but nothing in it seems worthy enough to me to make it stand out among the rest of pop music. Let's hop in the DeLorean for a second and go back to 2009, when Taylor Swift dropped “You Belong With Me.” It’s about a girl who loves this guy but there’s an older, cuter girl who has his heart. Sound familiar? What about 2016 when Shawn Mendes dropped “Treat You Better” and became a heartthrob? Same story. Flash forward to now, a seemingly common love triangle that just so happens to be super special because Rodrigo talks about her driver's license. Where's the originality, Rodrigo? I got my driver's license when I was 16 and I didn't write a song about it.

My only guess as to why “drivers license” has seemingly turned the world upside down is because our standards have stooped so low that we grasped on to the first bit of drama we could find and clung to it with all our might. It might also have to do with the song's mix of pop and indie sounds, though we all know there aren't enough indie songs about love. But I digress; if “drivers license” helps you sleep through the night, listen to it. But I'm just as shocked as the next person that the song made its way to the top of the charts and will most likely stay there for another week or two... until Joshua Basset or Sabrina Carpenter write their own hit.