Written By: Nicole Chedraoui
Unless you have been living under a rock since the start of this year, you’ve most likely heard of the insane phenomenon that is “Drivers License.” The hard-hitting breakup ballad by Olivia Rodrigo single-handedly broke the record for the most-streamed song on Spotify in only the span of days. The #1 Billboard hit took the internet by storm, sending millions of people around the world into a frenzy of emotions. Whether you are taken or single, it’s safe to say the majority of the world was getting in their feels. So before I even BEGIN to get into the drama of it all, I think we first must all give a round of applause to Ms. Rodrigo, for being the first-ever Asian-American to have ever hit #1 on both iTunes and Apple Music charts. It’s safe to say that if all of this drama was constructed for the sole purpose of PR, it worked; however, that’s a story for another time. Basically, here is a dummy’s guide to the Olivia Rodrigo, Joshua Bassett, and Sabrina Carpenter drama.
So let’s start from the very beginning, shall we? Our story begins on the set of High School Musical the Musical: The Series, the very show where Rodrigo and Bassett first met. While they were only supposed to be playing the part of young love on the big screen, it was clear to fans around the world that the two were just as close in real life. Shared Instagram stories, late-night dinners, writing songs together, he even taught her how to drive. Remember that last one, it’ll come in handy later. Well eventually months go by and things start to get suspicious. The cast interviews were unbearably awkward with tension so clearly thick it makes you want to stop watching immediately. The once tight-knit cast suddenly stopped promoting Bassett’s music, stopped liking and commenting on his pictures, and they were photographed out and about without him on multiple occasions. In comparison to how close they had been months before, something was clearly off.
It was around this time that we began to see our favorite notorious “blond girl,” come into the picture, Ms. Sabrina Carpenter. While the HSMTMTS cast was out on bowling nights, Bassett and Sabrina were seen being more than friendly out and about in Los Angeles. It’s a few days after the paparazzi pictures are released when Rodrigo posts a TikTok about her “failed relationship” to the song she wrote for the show about her on-screen romance with Bassett. Consequently, a day later, we see an Instagram post with Olivia wearing matching shirts with her best friend with the words “dump him” written across the front.
And that, my fellow reader, is where we get to more present-day matters. After weeks of promo and anticipation, “Drivers License” is FINALLY released. After the initial praise from celebrities and fans alike from all around the world started to calm down a little bit, the speculation began. Within the first 10 seconds, it’s clear this song is about a breakup and a painful one at that. In a very Taylor Swift narrative, Rodrigo made the artistic decision to be painfully obvious about certain aspects of this said relationship, and in doing so, she got herself into some trouble. In the music video, you can clearly see a video leaked from Joshua’s Instagram story from last year, where he touches her face. However, music video aside, looking at the lyrics is more than enough to make an assumption on the situation. Let’s take a gander at the first segment of lyrics, shall we?
“ 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”
Now I’m no lyrical analyst, but it seems to me whoever this ex was, they were excited for her to get her license. I wonder which one of her exes, I don’t know, taught her how to drive? OH WAIT…it was Joshua Bassett! In a Genius interview conducted in 2019, Olivia spills Joshua has been teaching her to drive through In-n-Out parking lots, and that he was excited for when she would be able to drive herself so they could see each other. Anyway, let’s continue to another line in the song that stuck out to me and a lot of other attentive fans. During the bridge Olivia sings:
“Red lights, stop signs I still see your face in the white cars, front yards”
While only a small detail, I thought it was at least worth noting that Bassett does in fact have a white car, that he would frequently drive her around in. So obviously once fans started noticing these little details, they began to spam Bassett with hate. That is until January 14th, just seven days after ‘Drivers License” comes out, when Joshua released a song called “Lie Lie Lie,” in retaliation to the song driver’s license. And well, I will simply let the lyrics speak for themselves:
I know what you say about me
I hope that it makes you happy
You can’t seem to get me off your mind, oh
I know you’re lying through your teeth
You told them the lies that you told me
I’ve had enough of it this time
So, yea, it seems Joshua is saying there may be a different side to the story than what Olivia alludes to in the song, which is basically the idea that he cheated on her with a “blonde girl.” In “Drivers License” Oliva writes:
“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”
For those who are unaware (and you should be because no one should care about her this much), Sabrina Carpenter is 21-years-old, and exactly four years older than Olivia; additionally, she does have signature artificial blond hair. Now, this is where things start to get spicy. As you can clearly see in these lyrics when addressing the “blonde girl”, Olivia inherently gives her a compliment, calling her pretty, and basically everything she would want to be. Well, apparently something about that one comment REALLY ticked off Sabrina because she decided to write, compose, and create a music video in retaliation to Rodrigo– all in the span of less than a week.
Titling the song “Skin”, Sabrina basically just flexes the fact that she’s the one who got Josh and Olivia didn’t. Below are excerpts from this song:
“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
The only rhyme”
I’m happy and you hate it, hate it, oh
And I’m not asking you to let it go
But you been telling your side
So I’ll be telling mine, oh
It looks to me like Sabrina has made this whole situation about herself, when in reality, Olivia wrote a single line about her, and it was a compliment. She never really said anything else about Sabrina at all. However, she ended this passive-aggressive hit on Olivia with a banger when she sings the line:
“I just hope that one day
We both can laugh about it
When it’s not in our face
Won’t have to dance around it
Don’t drive yourself insane”
GET IT?? Like DRIVE yourself insane? Good one Sabrina! Way to blow this situation way more out of proportion!
While all of this is just typical teenage love-triangle drama, I thought that maybe it could serve as some lighter news for your daily news feed. However, if you take anything out of this article, stan Olivia Rodrigo. At only 16 years old, she’s passed people like Ariana Grande and Drake on the charts, that’s what we should really be celebrating!
And if you’re that one person who’s reading this and STILL hasn’t, stream ‘Drivers License” now!