While Taylor Swift’s earlier albums had trickled out slowly with a string of singles, Folklore arrived last Friday like a tidal wave, with no promotional singles and an announcement from Swift a mere 16 hours before. So it makes sense, then, that in its first week on streaming, there hasn’t yet emerged one dominating hit; rather, there’s been a relatively even spread among its 16 songs.
If there is an early fan favorite, it’s “Cardigan,” which was released a single three days after the album’s release. The Aaron Dessner-produced track, which is one of three album cuts recounting a teenage love triangle, is on track to take Number One on the Rolling Stone Top 100 Songs chart on Monday, topping the daily version of the chart with 192,700 units so far this week.
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The Rolling Stone Top 100 chart tracks the most popular songs of the week in the United States. Songs are ranked by song units, a number that combines audio streams and song sales using a custom weighting system. The chart does not include passive listening like terrestrial radio or digital radio. The Rolling Stone Top 100 chart is updated daily, and each week Rolling Stone finalizes and publishes an official version of the chart, covering the seven-day period ending with the previous Thursday.
“Cardigan” has pulled in more than 21 million on-demand audio streams — more than any other song off the album. It’s also the one track off the album that received a music video and a merchandise tie-in: a cardigan offered for exclusive purchase on Swift’s web store. Trailing close behind are “The 1,” “Exile” and “Last Great American Dynasty,” and overall, if ranking the Folklore songs by their on-demand audio streams, positions are roughly in line with the order in which songs appear on the album.
Song sales are a bit of a better indicator of what the true favorites are. There, “Cardigan” once again leads the pack, with over 17,000 so far this week, followed again by “Exile” and “The 1.” A standout here is “Betty,” which is only the 12th most-streamed song so far, it’s fourth by song sales.
So far, all 16 songs off Folklore are in the top 40 of the Top 100 songs chart. The album is unsurprisingly on track for a Number One debut on the RS 200 as well, with over 200 million on-demand audio streams by Thursday’s count.