Taylor Swift Reflects on ‘Cruel Summer’ Becoming a Single Four Years After Its Release

Prior to performing ‘Champagne Problems’ at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, Taylor Swift took a moment to reflect on earlier times.

Swift remarked from the Eras Tour stage that “the weirdest, most magical thing is happening.”

“It’s never happened to me in the whole time I’ve ever been doing this.”

“‘Cruel Summer’ is a song, I just played it a second ago. I don’t know if you remember. We had a blast, yeah? The one with the bridge where we all screamed,” she told fans, talking about the opening ‘Lover’ section of her live set.

“‘Cruel Summer’ was on the Lover album. That album came out four years ago. And I just need to let you know something: ‘Cruel Summer,’ that song was my pride and joy on that album,” she stated of the track included on her 2019 album, a song that also happens to be an avid fan-favourite.

Swift stated “You have conversations before the album comes out. Everybody around weighs in on what they think should be singles. I was finally, finally about to have my favourite song become the single — off of ‘Lover.’”

But COVID-19 arrived before summer 2020, which would have been a logical moment to release a cathartic summer hymn. “I’m not trying to blame the global pandemic that we had,” Swift said, “but that is something that happened that stopped ‘Cruel Summer’ from ever being a single.”

She continued, “No one understands how this is happening, but you guys have streamed ‘Cruel Summer’ so much right now in 2023” that Republic Records, her label, “just decided to make it the next single.”

Republic will officially begin pushing ‘Cruel Summer’ to pop radio stations, while continuing to promote Midnights’ single ‘Karma.’

After spending two weeks on the chart in September 2019, ‘Cruel Summer’ made its way back to the Billboard Hot 100. According to Luminate, it sold 1,500 downloads in the United States between June 2 and 8, garnering 9.6 million official streams, 2.6 million radio airplay audience impressions and 47th place on the June 17 Hot 100.

“Thank you to anyone who’s been listening to that song like 500 times a day,” Swift said in Pittsburgh.

– Riya Sohini