Viral Alert: Music Review

Della Johnson | Staff Writer

Introductory shot of the lyric video for the viral song “drivers license” by Olivia Rodrigo

17-year-old Olivia Rodrigo has become an overnight sensation.

It’s not that she wasn’t already famous. From her starring role as Nini on Disney+ original High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and Paige on Bizaardvark, she has gained quite a following. Even still, no one could’ve predicted the sort of response that her newest song, “drivers license,” has received. 

The song’s demo, initially posted on Instagram, featured a soft, piano-led ballad rendition of the song — she sang of her recent obtaining of (surprise!) her driver’s permit. She compares the situation to her past desires to drive with a guy from one of her old relationships, how he broke her heart before she could take the test. This childhood milestone is effectively a way to present the pain of growing up, growing apart. She even compares herself to the new girl that he’s seeing, remarking “she’s everything I’m insecure about.”

Rodrigo’s finalized version of “drivers license” was released on January 8 and, in four days, garnered 18 million streams on Spotify alone, reaching number one on iTunes charts with millions of views on YouTube. It became the most streamed song in a day in the United States with assistance from teenagers’ posts across social media, using the song as a soundtrack for TikToks and Instagram story posts/reels. 

What could be cast as even more interesting than the song’s Lorde-esque harmonizing bridge or its heart-wrenching high notes would be the drama behind the song. Fans have gotten incredibly involved, pointing fingers at Rodrigo’s HSMTMTS co-star Joshua Bassett, whom she dated in early 2020. Perhaps this drama, and the over-engagement of random teenagers on the internet in it, is the reason the song has gone so stunningly viral.

Either that, or the fact that it might just be the break up song of the year.