How Did Olivia Rodrigo’s Sad Girl Anthem Become So Big on TikTok?
January came in the middle of our first real Covid winter: Vaccines may have been on the horizon, offering a small glimmer of hope, but many people had just spent the holidays separated from their loved ones. And after a year of disco bops ruling the charts, a song just as bleak as the world seemed (and, well, still is) was prime to pop off.
Enter Olivia Rodrigo, this year’s teen queen, and her heartbreak anthem, “Drivers License.” The song became an immediate, massive success — especially on TikTok. For those who weren’t super familiar with the app, the sad girl anthem about driving through the suburbs with your new license after getting your heart broken seemed antithetical to the app’s purpose and popularity. Sure, TikTok was known for its fast-paced, upper body-centric dance trends, but sad songs have always done well on the app for all kinds of challenges and other viral content. Plus, Rodrigo used TikTok and social media to her advantage when promoting the song.
On this week’s Don’t Let This Flop, hosts Brittany Spanos and EJ Dickson discuss the year in TikTok. Of course, our hosts are on a holiday break from the podcast so this episode is a different structure. Charlie Cooper, who hosts the Rolling Stone on Twitch stream, interviews Spanos and Dickson about the big trends on the app this year, specifically the songs that kept the content coming.
DLTF is released Wednesdays on all audio streaming platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, and more.