“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,” Sabrina Carpenter wrote on Jan. 24, days after she released her track. With so many perceiving “Skin” as a response to Olivia Rodrigo’s massive hit, “Drivers License” – and the rumored love triangle between Sabrina, 21, Olivia, 17, and Joshua Bassett, 20 – Sabrina decided to squash all that clapback talk. “I wasn’t bothered by a few lines in a (magnificent) song and wrote a diss track about it,” she wrote.
Those “few lines” are likely those when Olivia sang about how her unnamed love was “probably with that blonde girl / who always made me doubt / She’s so much older than me / she’s everything I’m insecure about.” Sabrina, who is blonde, waved off the notion that “Drivers License” inspired “Skin” and explained how her new song came to be. “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,” she continued. “Some lines address a specific situation, while other lines address plenty of other experiences I’ve had this past year. 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. 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.”
Though Sabrina says that “Skin” is not a diss track, fans latched on to the drama at the end of the song’s first set of lyrics. “ Maybe we could’ve been friends / If I met you in another life / Maybe then we could pretend / There’s no gravity in the words we write / Maybe you didn’t mean it / Maybe blonde was the only rhyme / The only rhyme.”
While it’s likely that “Drivers License” would have been a record-breaking smash on its own – the song debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, after it was streamed 76.1 million times and sold 38k downloads in its first week, per WSJ – the rumored drama behind it didn’t hurt. Olivia and Joshua are costars on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a reboot of the HSM franchise. They were rumored to be dating in real life, similar to how Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens pursued a relationship during the original HSM’s heyday. Olivia and Joshua reportedly broke things off in the summer of 2020, and he was then seen hanging out with Sabrina.
The day after Sabrina released “Skin,” Joshua sent her some love. “Been stuck in my head since I heard it!!!” he posted to his Instagram Story. “Congratulations [Sabrina] on ‘Skin,’ the new label, [and] all that’s to come!!!”