Song Lesson: Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo

About the Artist

Olivia is a talented singer-songwriter and actress who was born on February 20, 2003, in California.  Her father is a family therapist and her mother is a school teacher. Rodrigo started taking voice lessons in kindergarten and learned to play piano soon after. She began taking acting classes at age six and started acting in theater productions in elementary school.  In 2016, Rodrigo starred as Paige Olvera, a guitarist in the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark, a role she played for three seasons. In February 2019, she was cast in the starring role of Nini Salazar-Roberts on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,. She signed her first music deal in 2020 and negotiated to ensure that she maintained ownership of her music.

About the Song

This song was released in January of 2021 and is Olivia’s first hit single from her first album. In my opinion, it is the quintessential teen heartbreak song.  It artfully expresses the emotions endured after a heartbreak. The official music video was posted to YouTube alongside the song’s release, in which Rodrigo drives around a suburban area after receiving her driver’s license and reminisces about her memories of the song’s subject, (rumored to be based on a former boyfriend/costar) who encouraged her to obtain the license. “Drivers License” was met with widespread critical acclaim; praise centered on Rodrigo’s cathartic songwriting, emotional vocals, and the song’s stirring production, with many underscoring its Taylor Swift and Lorde influences.

Other Perspectives

The Blonde Girl:  Blonde#1   Blonde#2   Blonde#3

The Guy: Drivers license-TikTok-the guys perspective

The Driver behind herJax – Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” (From A Different Perspective) 

10 Years Later: “Driver’s License” but 10 years later


Notable Lyrics

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

And all my friends are tired
Of hearing how much I miss you, but
I kinda feel sorry for them
‘Cause they’ll never know you the way that I do, yeah

And I know we weren’t perfect
But I’ve never felt this way for no one, oh
And I just can’t imagine how you could be so okay, now that I’m gone

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

Random Facts

  • Olivia Rodrigo is of Filipino descent on her father’s side, and German and Irish on her mother’s side.
  • Her announcement of Driver’s License on TikTok has over 60 million views.
  • In July of 2021, Olivia visited the White House to help promote vaccinations for young people.
  • Olivia describes herself as a ‘Swiftie’ (fan of Taylor Swift) and apparently, the feeling is mutual.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you think of the song?
  2. Have you gotten a driver’s license?   If so, what did you do after you got it? If not, what are you looking forward to doing if you get one?
  3. How do you feel about driving? (excited, fearful, free, cautious, powerful ???)
  4. What kind of driver are you / will you be?  fast and carefree or slow and cautious?
  5. Have you ever experienced heartbreak?  (romantic or otherwise) How did you get over it? How long did it take?
  6. Do you think heartbreak is harder or more painful for young people?
  7. If/when you have a significant other, what did you call them (babe, honey, etc.)?
  8. What do you like to do alone? What don’t you like to do alone?
  9. How much do you talk to friends about ‘romantic matters’?
  10. What do you say (if anything) to a friend if you don’t like their boyfriend or girlfriend?
  11. Who is your ‘blonde girl’?  (Someone that makes you feel insecure when you compare yourself to them)
  12. Do you ever visit old neighborhoods – yours or those of people you cared about?
  13. If you break up with someone do you stay in touch?  Do you ‘keep an eye on them’ online?

Sayings & Idioms

  • Hit the road (길을 떠나다): To start a journey or to leave a place. Example: “It’s time to hit the road and head to our next destination.”
  • Backseat driver (조수석 운전자): Someone who gives unwanted or unnecessary advice while someone else is driving. Example: “I can’t stand being in the car with my mother-in-law, she’s such a backseat driver.”
  • In the driver’s seat (운전석에 앉은): In control of a situation. Example: “After months of planning, I finally feel like I’m in the driver’s seat.”
  • Get in gear (기어를 넣다): To start doing something with energy and determination. Example: “It’s time to get in gear and finish this project.”
  • Keep on truckin’ (계속 가자): To keep going or persevering through a difficult situation. Example: “I know the road ahead is tough, but let’s keep on truckin’ and get through it together.”
  • Rubbernecking (살피며 보기): To slow down or stop while driving in order to look at something out of curiosity. Example: “The accident caused a lot of rubbernecking and slowed down traffic for miles.”
  • Joyride (즐거운 운전): A ride taken in a car for pleasure or excitement, often without a particular destination. Example: “Let’s go for a joyride and explore the countryside.”
  • Take the wheel (핸들을 잡다): To take control of a situation. Example: “I’m feeling overwhelmed, can you take the wheel and lead the team for a while?”
  • Drive someone up the wall (화나게 하다): To annoy or frustrate someone to the point of anger. Example: “My coworker’s constant tapping on the desk is driving me up the wall.”
  • Drive a hard bargain (경쟁력있는 가격을 제시하다): To be a tough negotiator or demand a high price in a business deal. Example: “The salesman drove a hard bargain, but we were able to negotiate a fair price.”
  • Off the beaten track (번지길): To go to a less traveled or less popular location. Example: “We decided to take a detour and explore some of the off the beaten track areas of the city.”
  • Back on the road (다시 길을 나선): To resume a journey after a break or interruption. Example: “After stopping for lunch, we’re ready to get back on the road and continue our trip.”
  • Fast lane (빠른 차선): The lane on a highway that is reserved for faster moving traffic. Example: “If you want to get to your destination quickly, you should stay in the fast lane.”
  • All over the road (운전을 제대로 못하다): To drive in an erratic or reckless manner. Example: “The drunk driver was all over the road and nearly caused several accidents.”

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