Every day, millions of music fans come to Genius to find the deeper meaning behind the lyrics of their favorite artists, from rappers to pop singers to country stars. Our Top Songs Chart reflects what the world is listening to all day, every day. In 2021, we’re continuing to crunch numbers and compile the Month in Lyrics to show what music is catching fans' eyes and ears the most.
The data is broken down into the following categories each month: Top Artists, Top Songs, Top Lyrics, and Top Albums.Top Artists
Although January is typically a slow month for the music industry, this year saw the rise of two artists that are poised to be a force on the charts: Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter. Rodrigo’s autobiographical “driver’s license” gained attention in part due to lyrics that seem to address a love triangle between herself, Carpenter, and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star Joshua Bassett. It debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart and drew a response in Carpenter’s “Skin.” Both acts landed on this month’s Top Artists chart.
Taylor Swift unleashed two bonus evermore tracks last month, boosting her chart position. Ariana Grande grabbed more pageviews thanks to the Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion-assisted remix of “34+35.” SZA’s rising hit, “Good Days,” pushed her to No. 4. And former One Directioner ZAYN shared his third album, Nobody is Listening, to earn a No. 5 berth.
The lower half of the Top 20 is made up almost entirely of holdovers from previous months, with a few exceptions. Lana Del Rey rode interest in her latest single, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” to No. 11. Boy band Why Don’t We managed a No. 15 appearance thanks to the release of their latest album, The Good Times & the Bad Ones. And Justin Bieber hit No. 18 with more than half of his total coming from his latest single, “Anyone.”Top Songs
In an otherwise-quiet release month, nothing could top the pop juggernaut of “driver’s license,” which racked up nearly three million pageviews since the top of 2021. Its closest competition was SZA’s slow-burning Hot 100 hit, “Good Days,” which managed just over one million and was closely followed by Sabrina Carpenter’s “driver’s license” response track, “Skin.” The apparent object of Rodrigo and Carpenter’s affection, Joshua Bassett, managed a distant No. 9 with his own song, “Lie Lie Lie.”
Several high-profile artists teamed up this month to impressive results, including Billie Eilish and ROSALÍA (“Lo Vas A Olvidar,” No. 7), Young Thug and Juice WRLD (“Bad Boy,” No. 8), and Doja Cat and Saweetie (“Best Friend,” No. 16). Doja landed at No. 11, too, thanks to her appearance on Ariana Grande’s “34+35” remix with Megan Thee Stallion. Rappers like Eminem and Lil Baby earned Top 20 slots, while Taylor Swift came away with the most total entries (three) thanks to evermore tracks.Top Albums
In a month with little competition, ZAYN easily landed at No. 1 with his third album, Nobody is Listening. Taylor Swift’s late-2020 release, evermore, followed closely behind, with boy band Why Don’t We taking No. 3. Playboi Carti, who released his long-awaited sophomore album, Whole Lotta Red, in late December, landed just outside the Top 5.
January saw several rappers ride the success of hit singles into larger interest in their projects. This includes BRS Kash (“Throat Baby”), Popp Hunna (“Adderall (Corvette Corvette)”), and Ashnikko (“Daisy”). New releases from Lil Durk and Jazmine Sullivan also hit the Top 20.
At No. 20 is Madvillainy, the 2004 album by MF DOOM and Madlib. The project saw resurgent interest last month after MF DOOM’s family revealed that he passed away, sending fans back to his song pages to revisit some of his most popular lyrics.Top Lyrics
Although Olivia Rodrigo’s “driver’s license” proved to be more popular overall, it was Sabrina Carpenter’s “Skin” that earned the month’s top lyric thanks to some pointed lyrics about her relationship. No. 3 belongs to ZAYN, with fans flocking to Genius to learn about and translate lyrics he sings in Urdu. ZAYN’s father is British-Pakistani, and he grew up speaking Urdu alongside English.
Taylor Swift earned a pair of entries, including a moment where she takes aim at her former label on “it’s time to go.” Fans also hopped on Lana Del Rey’s latest single, gravitating towards her astrology lyrics. Rising Staten Island rapper CJ rounded things out with some money appreciation on “Whoopty.”