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Joshua Bassett Seemingly Responds to Olivia Rodrigo's Sour With New Trio of Songs

·5 min read
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  • Olivia Rodrigo
    American singer-songwriter and actress
  • Joshua Bassett
    American actor compositor

Now it's time for Joshua Bassett to share his side of the story through song.

The High School Musical: The Musical: The Series actor dropped three singles—"Crisis," "Secret," and "Set Me Free" on Dec. 3. A press release noted the trio of tunes "documents his tumultuous 2021" and "shares his journey from the depths of grief and emotional trauma to the early stages of healing."

"As stated in 'Set Me Free,' 'It's been a f--king year,'" Bassett stated in the release. "While it's been one of the most challenging periods in my lifetime by far; it has ultimately led to immense growth." He added, "I've been up, down, and everywhere in between. Each of these songs pinpoint a different moment in time, in my processing."

While Bassett didn't go into specifics, he did make headlines this year thanks to his much rumored and oft-discussed love triangle with Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter. The speculation was fueled by a slew of social media posts and the release of Rodrigo's single "drivers license." Perhaps you've heard of it? In the song, the 18-year-old artist refers to a breakup. While Rodrigo has never explicitly confirmed who she's singing about on the track, many fans have assumed she's referencing Bassett. The theories continued to spread after Rodrigo released the rest of her Grammy-nominated album Sour.

Though according to Bassett, she's allowed her lyrics to do the talking, the 20-year-old singer recently telling GQ that she "hasn't spoken to me since 'Drivers License' came out."

Musicians Performing Live on Stage

Bassett also doesn't name names in his package of songs. But "Crisis," he told the magazine, is about "all the crazy PR over the year."

In the song, Bassett sings, "And if you get to tell your truth then so do I/And it's cool if you want me to play the bad guy/Don't you dare act like I didn't love you/Don't go thinking that I didn't hurt too/Don't you ever wonder if I'm okay after all you've put me through/Half the s--t you're saying's only half true/Messing with my life as a career move/I can't help but wonder why you won't make it end/Guess you would never dare/You would never dare to waste a crisis."

He also writes about receiving death threats. "I wish that I could open my eyes and the nightmare be over," he continues. "But you sensationalize, keep fanning the fire for the headlines."

At another point, Bassett croons, "Weren't you the one who left in the first place/Weren't you the one who called things off/Was it an act to love me, or an act to hate me?"

Joshua Bassett, Olivia Rodrigo
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic, Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for MRC

"Secret" also has fans talking. "Swore that you only had a crush," Bassett sings. "You told me that you would cut him off/ I should've seen it coming then/My friends all warned me I should run for the hills/But I defended you still/ 'Cause I know rumors could kill."

He then tells the unnamed subject of his song, "Your secret's safe with me/And him And all of our friends you told."

But perhaps the most pointed word choice was an apparent reference to Rodrigo's hit single "good 4 u," with Bassett singing, "I really hope you had your fun/Good for you foolin' everyone/You had me tricked for 16 months."

According to the press release, Bassett's "Set Me Free" is about moving on. "I know you feel used I know you've been hurt," he sings. "Anything I did to make you feel worse/I'd take it all back if I could/Nothing I say will ease the pain/Why must I hurt for you to feel okay?"

He tells the person he's singing about "I don't recognize you not anymore/You're not the love that I fell for." And while he croons, "I hope you know that I still care about you dearly," he also notes, "I gotta lock the door and throw away the key."

"I won't ever let you hurt me how you hurt me," he later adds. "Again/Ever again."

According to the press release, Bassett is donating all earnings from "Crisis" to mental health organizations and says he hope his music will help others.

"My hope is that those going through similar things feel heard and seen and can step closer to healing," he stated in the release. "While it's important to express my truth in art, I do not wish ill will on anyone, nor do I endorse using art as fuel for negativity. I truly hope the peace I've found amidst this challenging year encourages others to keep going and know that there really is light at the end of the tunnel."

He also told GQ, "I have a right to stand up for myself."

Appearing to refer to his romance with Rodrigo, he later explained to the magazine, "People don't realize how long ago that was. It's not as recent as it seems. I'm a completely different person now." And he feels he deserves a chance to feel, um, happy and healthy. "I'm not here to expose people," he insisted. "It was eating me alive, and I couldn't keep it in anymore."

E! News has reached out to Rodrigo's rep for comment but has yet to hear back.