Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” Hits #1 Four Years After Release

Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” Hits #1 Four Years After Release

When Taylor Swift released Lover in the summer of 2019, Swifties quickly identified the surging synth-pop track “Cruel Summer” as the album’s most obvious hit. But the song was never released as a single, and then COVID struck, and then suddenly Swift had several albums’ worth of new music. “Cruel Summer” seemed like it would live on as a fan favorite without the chart pedigree to match.

But Swift is always closely attuned to her fan base, so when she finally hit the road for her Eras Tour this year, she slotted in “Cruel Summer” as more or less the show’s opening number; technically she starts with an abbreviated version of “Miss Americana And The Heartbreak Prince,” but that feels more like a prologue before “Cruel Summer” properly gets things going. The song sounds huge in a stadium, as does a stadium full of people shouting along to its bridge, so the Eras Tour gave “Cruel Summer” new life. The song crept back onto the charts as the year rolled on, accumulating streams, sales, and radio play as it climbed all the way to the top 10. But its wave seemed to crest before it could get to #1.

Swift was not about to miss her moment this time. Last week, just after her Eras Tour movie was putting up historic opening-week numbers, she released a live version of “Cruel Summer” as well as a remix by LP Giobbi. Those tracks plus the renewed Eras Tour enthusiasm stemming from the movie were enough to push “Cruel Summer” to the top of the Hot 100. Billboard reports that “Cruel Summer” is the #1 song in the country this week, becoming Swift’s 10th Hot 100 chart-topper. The only other artists with 10 or more #1s are the Beatles (20), Mariah Carey (19), Rihanna (14), Drake (13), Michael Jackson (13), Madonna (12), the Supremes (12), Whitney Houston (11), Janet Jackson (10), and Stevie Wonder (10).

Hear the live “Cruel Summer” and the remix below.

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