Less than a week after dropping her single “Skin,” actor and musician Sabrina Carpenter is addressing lyrics that have caused conversation among her young fans. For those who don’t know, the lead story in the world of Gen Z celebrity drama is Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License,” a song that’s taken over both the charts and TikTok and seems to be about Rodrigo’s breakup with her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series costar Joshua Bassett. In that song, Rodrigo references an “older blonde” that the narrator’s former love is now hanging out with, rumored to be Carpenter. On “Skin,” Carpenter sings about “words we write” and someone she could have been friends with in “another life,” even slipping in the line “drive yourself crazy,” perhaps a nod to Rodrigo’s chart-topper.
Audiences–and Twitter–were quick to frame “Skin” as an overreaction to “Drivers License,” given that Rodrigo sings about how (allegedly) Carpenter makes her feel “insecure.” It’s about the singer’s sadness, not any type of anger or resentment. Though, to be fair, “Skin” isn’t barbed either; it’s more about the general, and vaguely defined, situation of dating in the public eye and wanting to rise above the drama. In any case, Carpenter felt the need to further clarify her meaning and just wrote a lengthy post on Instagram about it.
“Thank you to everyone who has listened to skin 🤍 especially those who have opened their minds to lyrically what i was trying to get across,” she wrote, continuing, “i wasn’t bothered by a few lines in a (magnificent) song and wrote a diss track about it. i was at a tipping point in my life for countless reasons. so i was inspired to do what i usually do to cope, write something that i wish i could have told myself in the past. people can only get to you if you give them the power to. and a lot of people were trying to get to me. the song isn’t calling out one single person. some lines address a specific situation, while other lines address plenty of other experiences I’ve had this past year.”
Carpenter asked for compassion and calm all around, reminding followers that she’s a learning, flawed person, too: “it also shows that many things have actually gotten under my skin.. and I’m still learning to not give other people so much power over my feelings. I know a lot of you struggle with the same thing.”
Seeming to reference the often toxic world of online pop fandom, she ended her message with, “i don’t want this to become an endless cycle so please don’t take this as an opportunity to send more hate anyone’s way. lots of love to u all. thanks for letting me grow.”
TikTok will certainly have something to say about all this, but for the time being, let’s all follow Sabrina’s advice and take a breather. Maybe go for a drive?