WATCH — From Taylor to Ariana to Olivia Rodrigo: Why we love their breakup songs

Alexia Sabau
Story by Alexia Sabau and CBC Kids News • 2021-01-29 16:23

Social media adds fuel to our obsession, according to musicologist

Olivia Rodrigo’s debut song Drivers License has continued to hold the attention of social media users nearly one month after its release.

The record-breaking song is supposedly inspired by Rodrigo’s breakup with her Highschool Musical: The Musical: The Series castmate, Joshua Bassett.

If that isn’t drama-fuelled enough on its own, the recent release of Sabrina Carpenter’s new song Skin has the gossip mill running on overtime.

With Carpenter rumoured to be dating Bassett, many are wondering if Skin is her response to Drivers License.

Parallels between the lyrics of both songs are being drawn by eagle-eyed fans on social media.

Fans are wondering if Carpenter’s lyric ‘Maybe blonde was the only rhyme’ is a reference to a lyric in Rodrigo’s song. (Image credit: @empire7records/Twitter, @baljotmangat/Twitter)

No one rumoured to be involved in this situation has made a direct statement about it, so we may never know what’s really going on between Rodrigo and Carpenter, or Rodrigo and Bassett, or Bassett and Carpenter.

What we do know for sure is that the internet is eating up the drama.

CBC Kids News contributor and resident trend queen Alexia Sabau spoke to Lydia Claire Wilton, a musician and musicology PhD candidate at Western University, about Drivers License to find out why people become so invested in music about celebrity breakups.

Wilton suspects that social media plays a big role in the success of breakup songs by artists like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and now Olivia Rodrigo.

“Now when celebrities are together, we’ve seen the whole thing: when they turned Instagram official, when they bought a teacup pig together. So when they break up [...] we want the tea on what happened to the pig,” said Wilton.

In her research, Wilton has found that four important elements also help to capture our interest: music, lyrics, the story the song tells and the character the artist plays.

Wilton said that all four of those factors coming together is what makes Drivers License such a “moving” song to listeners.

Check out the newest episode of Hey Alexia, What’s Trending? to learn more about the celebrity breakup song trend and why you’re not alone if you can’t seem to stop sipping on this pipin’ hot tea.

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About the Contributor

Alexia Sabau
Alexia Sabau
CBC Kids News Contributor
Alexia Sabau is an inquisitive teen who likes to keep up with the trends. The Grade 12 student is a youth ambassador with a passion for community building and motivation to make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels. She worked as a junior reporter for the Calgary International Children’s Festival and Shaw TV Calgary. Alexia is also a devoted Harry Potter fan who is excited to work her magic on CBC Kids News.

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