“Drivers License” Tops Charts Worldwide


Photo Courtesy of @oliviarodrigo on Instagram

The artistic cover of Olivia Rodrigo’s hit single, “Drivers License.”

Ellie Guerreiro

The success that Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” has achieved is unprecedented. Rodrigo’s debut single broke Spotify’s record for most streams in a week, as well as for most streams in a day for a non-holiday song. As if that wasn’t enough, it also ended up hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and according to Amazon Music, it broke the record for being Alexa’s top requested song globally in the span of a day. Music-lover and skeptic Salma Bouktam (‘24) remarked how she, “really wasn’t expecting that from Olivia Rodrigo, it ended up actually being a pretty catchy song.”

Yet its records are not the only compelling aspect surrounding the song. The song’s backstory, filled with love triangles, intense drama, Disney, and even multiple clapback songs, has captivated millions across the globe. It is rumored that the song is about Rodrigo coping with her heartbreak after her alleged relationship with co-star Joshua Bassett from the popular Disney+ show, “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.”

Nevertheless, the drama is not at all what made this song such a hit. The fact that Rodrigo was able to openly put out her raw feelings and emotions in this piece is what made so many people fall in love with it.  At first Sara Zebalos (‘24) didn’t get the hype over “Drivers License,” but after listening to the song for a second time that changed. She commented, “I listened to it again and I found that I could relate to it because I missed my best friend and the lyrics really affected my emotions on how I felt about the whole situation.” Zebalos’ experience just goes to show how this song appeals to a broad audience. Rodrigo made this song relatable. Even though everyone’s situation is different, she was able to encompass the fundamental feelings of heartbreak into just a four minute song.  

People have described “Drivers License” as having a mix of Taylor Swift’s lyricism, and Lorde’s producing, as the bridge is very similar to that of Lorde’s Album Melodrama, which came out in 2017. “It ain’t Lorde but it’s close to it,’’ says Dylan Guerreiro (‘21) , an avid Lorde listener. “I thought it was going to be another one of those beta pop songs,” he recalls, “but I stand corrected. Props to Olivia Rodrigo for actually making a good song.” 

It is safe to say that the bridge is the most powerful part of the song, where the pent-up emotions that the song had been holding back finally cascade into a waterfall of deep and powerful cries for lost love. The echo surrounding Rodrigo’s strong vocals commands the listener’s attention, and leaves them hanging onto every last word. The bridge is definitely the highpoint of the song. Both the feelings of Rodrigo and the listener are brought out during those captivating thirty-eight seconds. 

“‘Drivers License’ will definitely go down in history, not just because it’s her [Olivia Rodrigo] debut or that it reached ‘x’ amount of plays, but that a girl put her heart out there for the whole world to see, hear, and feel with her- not a lot of professional artists can do that,” said Juliet Zucker (‘22). She is not wrong. Rodrigo not only connected with her listeners on a musical level but on a personal one too, which is sadly rare to find in the music industry nowadays. She was vulnerable enough to share her struggles with the world, and that not only says a lot about who she is as an artist, but as a person as well. In a world where everyone seems to sugar coat their true feelings, Rodrigo was able to bring out her genuine feelings as well the feelings of her listeners through “Drivers License.” As the old saying goes, good music isn’t just supposed to make you listen, it’s supposed to make you feel, and that’s exactly what this song did.