Driver’s License

Singer Olivia Rodrigo looks out the car door in her video for "Driver's License."

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Kristin Smith

Album Review

Olivia Rodrigo is a name on the rise. And if her name doesn’t ring a bell, then perhaps her character, Nina-Salazar Roberts, from Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, will.

And just as we’ve seen with many Disney stars before, this 17-year-old has now plunged into the music world with her first big hit, “driver’s license.” In its first week, the song broke global Spotify records for having the most streams in a single week. Not surprisingly, it debuted at No. 1, too.

And if you’ve heard this angsty teenage tune, you know why. Like a mix between Taylor Swift, Alessia Cara and Lorde, Rodrigo finds her place as a soft but powerful voice. One that has just suffered heartbreak and is ready to be brutally—and profanely—honest.

When We Were Us

Rodrigo remembers her ex-boyfriend and sings about a relationship that is no more: “I got my driver’s license last week/Just like we always talked about/ … But today I drove through the suburbs/Crying’cause you weren’t around.”

Why has it ended? Well, she speculates that it just might be because he’s moved on with someone else (“And you’re probably with that blonde girl”). It’s an older woman she’s obviously met, who has caused insecurity in her for quite some time (“Who always made me doubt/She’s everything I’m insecure about”).

But none of that seems to matter. Not her friend’s comments (“And all my friends are tired/Of hearing how much I miss you”) or the fact that this ex-boyfriend has moved on (“And I just can’t imagine how you could be OK now that I’m gone/Guess you didn’t mean what you said in that song you wrote about me/’Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street”).

But no matter how much she might want to, Rodrigo can’t seem to move past what once was: “’Cause I still f—ing love you, babe.”

If I Can’t Have You

Although Rodrigo is still young, her words and experiences are definitely resonating deeply with a teenage audience, hence her global streaming records. And you can thank heartbreak for that.

The core of this song is a teenage girl realizing that her ex-boyfriend promised her a forever love. But that promise was broken, and now she’s left reeling with all the emotions and memories.

This is, truly, a song that most people can relate to if they’ve ever walked through any sort of heartbreak, any sort of longing unfulfilled. But parents will definitely want to be aware that Rodrigo uses some heavy language here to talk about that universal experience.

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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