Song of the Week: drivers license // Olivia Rodrigo

A newcomer into the music scene, Olivia Rodrigo is a Filipino actress and singer. She is widely recognized for her Disney roles such as Paige Olvera in Bizaardvark, and most notably, Nini Salazar-Roberts in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Because of this, the latter has become a stepping stone into her journey as a musical artist. Rodrigo has writing credits on the series’ original soundtrack, one being ‘Just for a Moment’, written alongside fellow co-star Joshua Bassett. More importantly, the other is Nini’s character ballad ‘All I Want’, entirely credited to and performed by her. ‘All I Want’ is effectively Rodrigo’s first solo single – and a successful one at that. It currently has over 30M views on YouTube, with gold and silver certifications. Overall, Rodrigo’s first venture into a musical career sees early success. Rodrigo recently released ‘drivers license’, first hinted as a single in a December 2020 post on her Instagram with over three million followers.

The track vibrates with familiar Olivia Rodrigo tropes, such as the piano dominating its instrumental make-up. Late night scenes and suburb drives, the lyricism overflows with emotional discharge and ingenuity. Its main takeaway is that of break-up, riddled with embittered jealousy and justified sadness. The ‘drivers license’ concept frames themes of lost love, the inability to move on, and marks the passage of memories and time. Because of this, the production echoes the fast zooms of cars through empty streets. Her desperate singing holds steady with the thrum of rhythm, and the bridge catches listeners off-guard with high-speed cries for the little things that make the relationship.

This is our pick for the week because it exhibits how big a force Rodrigo can be. Accumulating over 30 million views in just the span of a week with its music video, and visible support from other artists such as Taylor Swift and Joe Jonas among others, ‘drivers license’ marks a promising start to her young and blossoming career. After all, Rodrigo is known for writing and performing songs unplugged via her Instagram page. Finally, she introduces us to her signature sound and lyrical artistry with this official release.

Words by Mae Trumata


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