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Let's Discuss: The Characters And Meaning Behind Olivia Rodrigo's Song 'Drivers License'

'How could you be so okay now that I'm gone?'
Olivia Rodrigo's song "Drivers License," explained
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Youtube/Olivia Rodrigo/Geffen Records, Instagram/olivia.rodrigo
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Update: January 22, 2021, 4:26 p.m.:

Welp, it looks like Sabrina Carpenter answered back with a tune of her own. The singer recently signed with Island Records and surprised her fans with a new release: "Skin," a song that allegedly addresses the drama surrounding her, Olivia Rodrigo, and Joshua Bassett.

Even though Olivia has consistently deflected questions about who "drivers license" is about, many fans have speculated that the song is about Sabrina and Joshua's brewing romance. In the song, she sings about a "blonde girl" who is "so much older" than her and always made her "feel insecure."

In "Skin," Sabrina answers back with: "Maybe we could've been friends / If I met you in another life / Maybe then we could pretend / There's no gravity in the words we write / Maybe you didn't mean it / Maybe blonde was the only rhyme." Oof.

The lyrics are pretty telling, so go ahead and listen to the full song below:

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Sabrina Carpenter - Skin (Official Lyric Video)

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ICYDK, "drivers license" by Olivia Rodrigo is the song that everyone has been listening to lately. The Taylor Swift-approved bop is reminiscent of Taylor, Lorde, and Billie Eilish's writing style, and the lyrics do a wonderful job of taking everyone back to their very first heartbreak and reliving the scars of that *painful* experience.

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Olivia Rodrigo - drivers license (Official Video)

The song, which was released on January 8, 2021, quickly sparked rumors about who exactly Olivia was alluding to in its heart-wrenching lyrics. Who was the "blonde girl" she was talking about who is "so much older" than her? What was the "song" she was referring to that the ~mysterious~ person didn't really write about her? I NEED ANSWERS, Y'ALL.

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Fans were quick to speculate, however, that the lyrics were for Olivia's co-star on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Joshua Bassett and his brewing romance with actress and singer Sabrina Carpenter. There is a *lot* to unpack here, so I'll discuss everything there is to know so far about this love triangle.

@indecisivelibra8

ugh i’m in my feels???? #oliviarodrigo #joshuatbassett #hsmtmts

? Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo - nickie j

What happened between Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett?

As mentioned above, Joshua is Olivia's co-star in HSM: TM: TS, with their two characters dating in the show. There's no denying that they had chemistry onscreen and offscreen, which is why many believed they were dating IRL.

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Around July 2020, Olivia posted a snippet of the original version of "drivers license" on her Instagram with the caption: "Wrote dis the other day. vv [sic] close to my heart. gonna call it drivers license I think lol." This was also around the time the pair stopped making appearances in each other's profiles. In the lyrics, she also mentioned a certain "brunette girl." As you all know, this was changed to "blonde" by the time the song was released this year. This was considered a "power move" by her fans.

On August 2020, Olivia posted a cryptic TikTok with the caption "and that's on failed relationships," and with "All I Want," a song that her HSM: TM: TS character Nini wrote for Ricky (Joshua's character), playing in the background. Hmmm.

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@livbedumb

and that’s on failed relationships

? All I Want by Olivia Rodrigo - Alyssa Elness ????

When "drivers license" dropped a few weeks ago, it seemed like all the clues added up: The lyrics suggested that it may be *meant* for Joshua. Perhaps the biggest giveaway that the song was referencing the 20-year-old actor? According to Grazia, some eagle-eyed fans dug up this video from 2020 when Olivia confirmed that it was Joshua who taught her how to drive for the very first time! When they found out that "Just For A Moment," a song they co-wrote, would be used in HSM: TM: TS, they celebrated with a driving lesson around In-n-Out.

That was probably what Olivia was referring to in the first verse of the song:

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I got my driver's license last week
Just like we always talked about
'Cause you were so excited for me
To finally drive up to your house
But today I drove through the suburbs
Crying 'cause you weren't around

Where does Sabrina Carpenter fit in all of this?

Now, you may be wondering how Sabrina Carpenter's name got dragged into this ~discussion~. According to Vulture, it was rumored that she and Joshua started dating after Olivia and Joshua called it quits last year. While neither of them has publicly confirmed this, they often make TikTok videos together, which meant that they were most probably isolating together during the pandemic.

In the second verse of the song, Olivia sings about a certain "blonde girl" who is "so much older" than her. Sabrina is four years older than Olivia, and her hair is, in fact, very much blonde.

And you're probably with that blonde girl
Who always made me doubt
She's so much older than me
She's everything I'm insecure about
Yeah, today I drove through the suburbs
'Cause how could I ever love someone else?

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What was the "song" Olivia was referring to in "drivers license"?

In the chorus of the song, a pained Olivia laments her lost love: "Guess you didn't mean what you wrote in that song about me." Fans pointed out that she was probably referring to "Anyone Else," a track Joshua released last year. He confirmed with Broadway World in July 2020 that the song was about his "sudden realization" that he was "hopelessly falling in love with a close friend."

And I know we weren't perfect
But I've never felt this way for no one
And I just can't imagine
How you could be so okay now that I'm gone
Guess you didn't mean what you wrote in that song about me

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The drama doesn't end there, though. Just a few days ago, Joshua released his latest single, "Lie Lie Lie." Judging by the lyrics, it would seem easy to conclude that he was singing about how Olivia was "lying" about how their relationship ended. This is all speculation, of course, so feel free to listen to the song and think about who he's referring to.

In case you're hungry for more info (which, honestly, same), there is another song that can potentially explain all of this. Internet sleuths found a Genius page for the unreleased lyrics of a song that Olivia and Joshua co-wrote. It was filed on BMI in November 2020 and is supposedly slated for release on Joshua's upcoming EP.

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And so the plot thickens—so make sure to check back here for more updates! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go ahead and listen to "drivers license" for the nth time today.

Follow Cheska on Instagram.

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