Taylor Swift took a minute before singing “Champagne Problems” to take things back a few eras Saturday night (June 17) at Pittsburgh’s Acrisure Stadium.
“The weirdest, most magical thing is happening,” Swift said from the Eras Tour stage. “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 reminded fans, referring to 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 said of the track featured on her 2019 album, a song that also happens to be a longtime fan-favorite.
Swift explained, “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 favorite song become the single — off of Lover.”
But before summer 2020, which would have been a logical time to drop a cathartic summer anthem, came COVID-19. “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.”
Billboard confirmed the news on Friday that Republic will officially start promoting “Cruel Summer” to pop radio stations as of Tuesday, June 20, while continuing to promote Midnights single “Karma.”
“Cruel Summer” returned to the Billboard Hot 100 dated June 3, after it spent two weeks on the chart in September 2019. On the June 17 Hot 100, it ranks at No. 47, with 9.6 million official streams, 2.6 million radio airplay audience impressions and 1,500 downloads sold in the United States June 2-8, according to Luminate.
“Thank you to anyone who’s been listening to that song like 500 times a day,” Swift joked in Pittsburgh.