GAYLE’s Punk-Pop Prowess Transcends Her Viral TikTok Fame

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Olivia Rodrigo set the tone for a new generation of musical badasses when she posited, “I’m so sick of 17. Where’s my f*cking teenage dream?” in her hit song “Brutal” at the start of 2021. Exactly seven months later, TikTok exploded with thousands of loops sampling an equally passionate “f*ck you” anthem: GAYLE’s “abcdefu.”

Sweet in tone yet sharp in delivery, the breakup song seemed to be an overnight hit, raking in millions of likes and spurring hundreds of covers. But according to GAYLE — whose rebellious image comes through in her fierce stage presence and the middle-finger emoji that doubles as a cursor on her website — the song’s trajectory to viral acclaim isn’t as clear-cut as it seems.

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