The first “mega hit” song in 2021 has come out. Oliver Rodrigo’s “drivers license,” which was released on January 8, is topping the world and American charts on Spotify. Billboards and U.K. Singles Charts are no exception. The Billboards called “drivers license” one of the most dominant No. 1 songs of the past 30 years, nearly doubling the gap with runners-up. Rodrigo is also the first female teenager singer to make a “hot shot debut” in history of Billboards Singles Chart.
The song’s s story is quite self-explanatory from the title. The girl dreams of getting a driver’s license to pick up and date with her boyfriend. She gets her license, but her boyfriend is already gone. The fun fact about this song is that it is based on a real story. And the real life model for this “boyfriend” is a handsome actor.
Rodrigo is the female lead of “High School Musical,” a popular drama from Disney Plus. When Rodrigo, who is rumored to be dating with actor Joshua Basset from the same show, put the line in her song “And you’re probably with that blonde girl,” speculations arose among fans as to who the third woman might be. And pictures of Basset drinking coffee with Sabrina Carpenter, an actress and a singer with blond hair, began to circulate on the Internet. Socials such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube brimmed with the parodies, remakes, and lyrics analysis of “drivers license,” provoking the audience’s curiosity about the song.
Melodies and visuals were another point of appeal. Running four minutes and two seconds, the song is slightly longer than most of the recent hit songs (typically played for 2 mins and 30 secs to 3 mins and 30 secs long). But “drivers license” has various entertaining details in place such as the beeping sound of seat belt, tempo shifts and a melody easy to follow. Rodrigo’s nihilistic voice is reminiscent of the latest “dark pop” trends characterized by Billie Eilish, Phoebe Bridgers, and Taylor Swift’s recent albums, striking a harmony with her poignant singing reaching the climax in the end.
“Her looks, voice, and music are all attractive, and the combination of her storytelling and the power of new media provoked such explosive effect,” analyzed Park Hyeon-joon, a PD at Kyung-in Broadcasting. “Her song will usher in an era of singers born in the 2000s along with Billie Eilish and rapper 24kGoldn.”