It's Joshua Bassett's turn to speak.
Bassett, 20, released three all-new, highly anticipated singles along with music videos on Thursday — and the lyrics seemingly address his past relationship with former costar Olivia Rodrigo, 18, who also seemed to sing about him on her debut album Sour.
"While it's been one of the most challenging periods in my lifetime by far; it has ultimately led to immense growth," he said in a press release. "I've been up, down, and everywhere in between... Each of these songs pinpoint a different moment in time, in my processing."
Beginning with "Crisis," Basset showcases his strong songwriting prowess with lyrics about being asked to "never waste a crisis" while he's "in the middle of one." On the track, he shares that it's time to share his side.
"If you get to tell your truth / Then so do I," he sings. "And it's cool if you want me to play the bad guy."
In the chorus, however, Bassett seemingly addresses Rodrigo's lyrics in her smash hit "drivers license," though she never confirmed the single, nor Sour were written about him, as he sings "Half the s--- 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."
Luke Rogers Joshua Bassett
On "Crisis," Bassett also reveals that he received death threats from fans and heard about it from his mother.
"I wish that I could open my eyes and the nightmare be over," he sings. "But you sensationalize, keep fanning the fire for the headlines."
"Crisis" will also create an impact as 100% of earnings from the single will be donated to mental health organizations in perpetuity. And in honor of Giving Tuesday, he donated a further $1 for every new pre-save to Bring Change to Mind, Jack.org, Beyond Blue and Mind UK.
"My hope is that those going through similar things feel heard and seen and can step closer to healing. 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," he said in a press release. "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."
In his song "Secret," Bassett seemingly makes a "Good 4 U" reference as he sings "I really hope you had your fun / Good for you foolin' everyone / You had me tricked for 16 months."
He also refers to the fact that his love interest seemed to be interested in another person and that "we kissed but it felt different."
"Swore that you only had a crush / You told me that you would cut him off," he sings. "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."
Additionally, in the song's music video, Bassett's love interest wears a red dress, similar to the one Rodrigo prominently wore in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series finale in season one.
In the third single, "Set Me Free," Bassett looks to make amends, and seeks to be, well, set free from the drama.
"I know you feel used I know you've been hurt / Anything I did to make you feel worse / I'd take it all back," he sings, later adding, "I don't recognize you not anymore / You're not the love that I fell for."
Bassett also admits to going through a "f—ing year" thinking he "wasn't sure I'd survive."
"Nothing I say will ease the pain," he sings. "Why do I have to hurt for you feel okay?"
Bassett also sings that he still cares about his former love interest "deeply," but "I gotta lock the door and throw away the key."
Earlier in the day, the HSMTHTS star sent a message to fans ahead of the release and called 2021 "the most challenging year of my life." He also thanked his fans for their "kindness."
"Thank you for seeing me, and each other, as living, breathing, healing and hurting human beings," he wrote. "Due to the nature of pop culture, and the current public perspective, [there] will be a lot of loud voices in this next chapter — positive, negative and everywhere in between."
He then shared a request that all of his listeners keep things civil and kind.
"all i ask is you treat everyone with respect and love," he wrote. "anyone who sends hate on my 'behalf' is no fan of mine."
The actors' on-screen chemistry, Instagram activity and affinity for writing music together has led fans to believe they shared an off-screen romance of sorts as well — and when Bassett was seen hanging out with Sabrina Carpenter, many believed that Rodrigo's lyrics were referencing his apparent moving on.
Luke Rogers Joshua Bassett
When Bassett told fans he'd had a challenging year, he wasn't kidding; just days after the release of "drivers license" — which brought on messages of hate from Rodrigo fans who believed he was the song's subject — Bassett was hospitalized in "the worst pain of [his] life" with septic shock and heart failure.
"[The doctors] told me that I had a 30 percent chance of survival," he told GQ in June. "They told me that if I had not checked into the hospital within 12 hours, I would have been found [dead] in my apartment."
The singer said that at the time, he brushed off any negative attention he received from "drivers license" because he "didn't have any energy to be able to focus on anything but staying alive."
"Crisis," "Secret" and "Set Me Free" are out now.