'skin' in the game

Is Sabrina Carpenter’s New Song ‘Skin’ Her Response to ‘Drivers License’?

Photo: Kevin Mazur/2020 MTV Movie & TV /Getty Images

It takes three to love-triangle, and we’ve finally heard from the third party in the ongoing High School Musical: The Musical: The Series drama. A quick recap if you’ve somehow avoided this story so far: HSMTMTS star Olivia Rodrigo releases her debut single, “Drivers License”; it seems to address her split from co-star Joshua Bassett, who is allegedly now dating fellow young-adult star Sabrina Carpenter; Bassett releases his own song, “Lie Lie Lie,” the week after, less specific but seen by fans as a response; “Drivers License” debuts at No. 1 on the “Hot 100.” Now, Carpenter has released her new song, “Skin,” giving us a third Friday in a row of decoding song lyrics.

Unlike her rumored boyfriend (they’re still not official), Carpenter has given us some clear references to work with in her synth-pop bop. “Maybe then we could pretend / There’s no gravity in the words we write,” she sings in the first verse. “Maybe you didn’t mean it / Maybe ‘blonde’ was the only rhyme.” Carpenter comes out the gate with a pretty clear response to Rodrigo’s reference to “that blonde girl,” thought to be Carpenter, in “Drivers License.” But that’s not even Carpenter’s smoking gun. In the bridge, she sings, “Don’t drive yourself insane / It won’t always be this way,” seeming to check the name of Rodrigo’s song and clarify that “Skin” is a direct response.

The rest of the lyrics to “Skin” may be less clear references, but that doesn’t make them less direct jabs at Rodrigo. “You’re tellin’ it how you see it / Like truth is whatever you decide,” Carpenter sings in the second verse. “You’re putting me in the spotlight / But I’ve been under it all my life,” she adds, referencing her much longer career, which includes a main role on Girl Meets World and four studio albums. And then there’s the chorus, which sounds to be a prime flex on Rodrigo: “You can try / To get under my, under my, under my skin / While hе’s on mine / Yeah, all on my, all on my, all on my skin.” Carpenter hasn’t directly commented on the subject of “Skin” — leaving us to, as the woman herself sings, “read in between the lines.”

Update, 5:10 p.m.: It’s still no confirmation of their relationship, but Bassett has voiced his support for Carpenter’s new song. “been stuck in my head since i heard it!!!” he wrote on his Instagram Story, posting the cover art to “Skin.” “congratulations @sabrinacarpenter on ‘skin’, the new label, & all that’s to come!!!” As for Rodrigo? According to her Instagram Story, she’d rather listen to Taylor Swift’s “…Ready For It?”

Sabrina Carpenter Joins ‘Drivers License’ Drama With ‘Skin’