Classical Jazz '05



2021 SOP 202 Olivi Rodrigo Driver's License

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Bob Tozier Artist: Bob Tozier
School: North Allegheny
Power ballads used to top the charts regularly, from 80s rock to 90s R&B. But then in the 2000s, the formula of constant escalation gradually fell off the Billboard. Now, seemingly out of nowhere, Olivia Rodrigo’s single “Drivers License” is breaking streaming records as listeners yearn for the emotional catharsis from this contemporary power ballad. With the help of David Metzer, professor of music history at the University of British Columbia, we break down how “Drivers License” sticks to an age-old formula, and how it deviates from a well worn musical path.  

Olivia Rodrigo - Drivers License

Barry Manilow - Mandy

Roy Orbison - It’s Over

Clyde McPhatter - Without Love There Is Nothing 

Etta James - I’d Rather Go Blind 

Journey - Open Arms 

Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men - One Sweet Day 

Seal - Kiss From A Rose

Hootie & The Blowfish - Only Wanna Be with You 

Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven 

Professor David Metzer’s The Ballad in American Popular Music: From Elvis to Beyoncé
Aiyana Ishmael for Teen Vogue “Olivia Rodrigo Song "Drivers License" Sparks Fan-Made TikTok POV Covers”
Olivia Rodrigo’s Instagram demo
Richard S. He Twitter thread 


Luke Hartle from: North Allegheny - posted: February 17, 2021
This is my first time listing to this song. This is not a song that I would listen to, but it has a good story inside of the song. I did not knnow this song has 140 bpm either.

Sarah Feick from: North Allegheny - posted: February 17, 2021
I was way too involved in this song when it first came out. I was obsessed with the drama behind it, the song itself, and the many trends it created on tiktok. Its not an easy song to sing because of where it falls in the voice range of most people, but I found myself singing it all the time. I am shocked at how popular it still is and im anxious to see how long it stays on the charts. I think it is well written song and Olivia is only 17. Cant wait to see what she does in the future of the music industry. 

Reka Gotz from: North Allegheny - posted: February 17, 2021
I heard about the drama surrounding this song, but I never actually listened to it until a week ago. Although it's not my style, I definitely think it deserves the hype after listening to this podcast. I am shocked that Olivia is only 17 and was able to sing something that is on the top of pop charts today. That's so impressive!

Grace Elliott from: North Allegheny - posted: February 18, 2021
Regardless of the drama behind the song which is  90% a publicity stunt, this song's best quality is its relatability. Not a musical masterpiece but it was cool to listen to and impressive for a 17 year old.

Vaishnavee Sundararaman from: North Allegheny - posted: February 22, 2021
When I heard this podcast, something that I was a bit shocked by and never realized was that Olivia only make each phrase 7 beats instead of 8.  I didn't catch that until I heard the podcast.  This song is a good song, but I wouldn't say it's like that OMG!!!!!!! song (If u get what I mean).  But, we can't forget that she's only 17 or 18..  When thinking about that way, it's pretty impressive.

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