Rolling Stone

OLIVIA RODRIGO’S GENTLE GIANT

- E.B.

IT’S NOT OFTEN THAT a breakout song from a new artist goes on to become the biggest song of the year. Historical­ly, it’s taken a genre-squashing disruptor like Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” or a pop song as wildly hooky as Kesha’s

“Tik Tok.” So is “Drivers License,” a slow-burning pop ballad about teenage heartbreak, up to the task?

“Drivers License” certainly isn’t your typical chart behemoth, but there’s something about it — Rodrigo’s detailed, Swiftian songwritin­g, the raw emotion in the vocal, that bridge — that hooked people. A lot of people.

When it dropped in January, “Drivers License” quickly became the biggest chart phenomenon since “Old Town Road,” a thing of near “Gangnam Style” proportion­s. When it debuted atop the Rolling Stone Top 100 Songs chart, it shattered the record for the biggest debut in the chart’s history, previously set by Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B’s “WAP.” With 67.7 million first-week streams, it was bigger than any first week in Alpha Data history, and it also broke the record for single-day streams on Spotify.

“Drivers License” was no one-hit wonder, either. “Good 4 U” became Rodrigo’s second Number One song on our charts, Sour notched the biggest debut of 2021 to date on the Rolling Stone

Top 200 Albums chart — and when she topped the Artists 500 chart in the same week, Rodrigo became just the third female act in Rolling Stone history to sweep all three charts.

By June, “Drivers License” had seen a staggering 415 million on-demand audio streams. In our midyear ranking, it stands almost a million units ahead of any other song. Unless lightning strikes twice and we get another “Drivers License”-esque charts phenomenon this year, it will be very hard for anyone to pull ahead.

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