Sad girl renaissance? New study names Billie Eilish as saddest musician on the charts

A new study has peeled back the layers of the world’s most streamed artists to reveal who’s feeling the most joy and who’s drowning in sorrow.

Turns out Billie Eilish and The Kid Laroi are named on the study’s sad club list, while Olivia Rodrigo dubbed the happiest.  The study — commissioned by Crossword Solver — gathered the last two albums of the 120 most streamed artists on Spotify to analyse the “joy” or “sadness” factor within their lyrics, with Billie Eilish taking top spot as the saddest musician on the charts.

Despite releasing an album called Happier Than Ever, more than 18% of Eilish’s lyrics were deemed sad, with her 2019 song when the party’s over receiving a 45.8% sadness rating— a level usually reserved for the ending of Marley & Me. Eilish’s appearance is somewhat expected, given she once released a music video in which she cried for approximately 2.5 minutes (like this writer at the end of Marley & Me). 

olivia rodrigo and lily allen
Credit: Getty/Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Joining Eilish in the sad club is The Kid Laroi and Megan Thee Stallion, whose sad lyrics account for 16% or more of their respective discographies. On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, pop star Olivia Rodrigo was named the happiest chart-topper, with more than 24% of her lyrics containing “joyful” words — a surprising entry for an artist whose whose biggest song laments not having a driver’s licence (she obviously hasn’t endured Sydney traffic).  

Bruno Mars, Lizzo and Rihanna round out the list of happiest artists, a feat not all that difficult when considering their collective bank accounts — which are eye-watering enough to place this writer in the sad club. Honourable mentions are elsewhere in order for Kendrick Lamar and BENNE, whose respective songs HUMBLE and Supalonely contain 50% or more sad words. 

It’s worth noting that given their status as chart-toppers and household names, even the saddest artists in this study are nonetheless laughing their way to the bank.