Songwriting

Olivia Rodrigo tops music charts in explosive first week with ‘Sour’


Olivia Rodrigo has taken the charts by storm, reaching No. 1 with huge streaming numbers for an album that grants her status as one of music’s biggest new stars.

Disney actress and pop singer’s debut album “Sour” tops the latest Billboard 200 chart, generating the equivalent of 295,000 US sales in the week ending May 27. Billboard has started including streaming in its chart of flagship album sales, the magazine said.

A large chunk of the 18-year-old artist’s units – 218,000 – came from the 301 million US streams in the first week of his album, according to MRC Data, formerly known as Nielsen Music. This is the second-biggest streaming week on record for a one-woman album, just behind Ariana Grande’s 307 million first week streams for “Thank U, Next” in 2019. The rest of the Ms. Rodrigo’s units came from traditional sales. (For Billboard, 1,250 streams by paying subscribers to the streaming service, or 3,750 streams on free services like YouTube or Spotify’s ad-supported option, equals an album sale.)

Ms. Rodrigo’s debut album is the most important week for an album since the start of the year, beating Taylor Swift’s 2008 re-recorded album “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, which sold 291,000 units on its release date. first week. “Sour,” which Ms. Rodrigo released on May 21, features “Drivers License,” the year’s biggest hit, with around 800 million streams on Spotify alone, and “Good 4 U,” both of which topped Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. With a successful debut album, two No.1 singles and a recent performance on “Saturday Night Live”, Ms. Rodrigo has managed to leverage her fame from “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” to become a star of the pop.

She is “by far the greatest pop star of 2021”, Chris DeVille, editor of the Stereogum website, written this month.

Ms. Rodrigo is part of a wave of new artists influenced by Lorde, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and Billie Eilish. These rising musicians, many of whom are women, write raw, straightforward, and often heartbreaking songs that emphasize introspection and emotional honesty rather than the bombast associated with traditional pop divas. Among the newcomers is Norwegian actor Girl in Red, who released his own debut album last month.

Ms. Rodrigo’s music is seen as a weaving of many of the biggest pop trends of the decade: Lorde’s muffled vocals, Taylor Swift songwriting, Billie Eilish’s bedroom pop aesthetic, and even the Adele’s melodramatic grandeur. On the relatively brief 35-minute album “Sour”, Ms. Rodrigo also dabbles in pop-punk, which is back in fashion, especially in hip-hop circles, adding a rock tinge to her ballad collection. on a breakup.

The making of “Sour” – which showcases Ms. Rodrigo’s vocal abilities – was also a stripped-down affair. Ms. Rodrigo wrote and recorded her music alongside one collaborator, co-writer, instrumentalist and producer Dan Nigro, formerly of rock band As Tall As Lions. In recent years, more and more pop artists like Lorde and Lana Del Rey have partnered with individual producer-songwriters rather than teams of songwriters, which is typical of pop, hip-hop and music. big budget country these days.

Write to Neil Shah at [email protected]

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