Track Review: drivers license // Olivia Rodrigo

It’s unbelievable that Olivia Rodrigo is only 17 given how much she has achieved in the past few years. From starring as Nini in Disney’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series to achieving gold status for her record ‘All I Want’, Rodrigo is a definite rising star. Now her first single has dropped and it is perfect for fans of hit singers Taylor Swift and Lorde, with its likeness to Speak Now and Melodrama.

The single begins with sombre lyrics, encapsulating all the hurt from a romance that could have been. Rodrigo sings rawly and with so much authenticity – unsurprising given the track is based on her own personal experiences. The chorus of “I guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me / ‘Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street” is similar to older Taylor Swift songs such as ‘Dear John’ and ‘Forever and Always’, especially in the depth of emotion held within every word.

As the track progresses we reach the bridge which is undoubtedly the best part of the song. Where the verses are melancholic and emotional, the bridge is powerful and catchy. A mix of eclectic beats and hard-hitting vocals that could easily be blasted through open windows on road trips or sung with friends after a tough breakup. It’s a truly diverse sound. Yes, it is a similar sound to Lorde but the track has enough elements to prove it’s also her own varied style.

Whilst the song was first featured on of the singer’s Instagram posts oback in July as a piano draft, Dan Nigro (best known for working with Conan Gray) worked to help to make the final cut. In an entry on her website Rodrigo explains the passion she holds for songwriting, explaining that she loves “how it can enable you to take really big, confusing feelings and turn them into something simple, clear and beautiful”. It’s unquestionable that ‘drivers license’ has flawlessly captured these emotions and is a masterpiece.

The final feature of the song that invested me is the cinematography of the music video. The production is visually alluring, switching between day and night as Rodrigo traipses around the streets of Utah. Like Lorde’s ‘Green Light’ music video, ‘drivers license’ features vibrant blues and purples as our singer drives around these dusky streets with scenes that could easily appear in a coming of age movie.

From start to finish ‘drivers license’ is a beautiful track that emphasises the talent of Olivia Rodrigo without being just another song about heartbreak. It’s fully deserving of its current #1 status on global music charts alongside its recognition from Taylor Swift who responded with ”I say that’s my baby and I’m really proud” on the 17-year-old’s Instagram post. 

Words by Emilia Butcher-Marroqui


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