Jack Antonoff Says ‘Cruel Summer’ Has ‘Always’ Been His & Taylor Swift’s ‘Favorite Song’ on ‘Lover’


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Taylor Swift‘s “Cruel Summer” just secured its second week atop the Billboard Hot 100, a feat that’s remarkable even without the knowledge that the song is over four years old. And then there’s the fact that the track, as its title suggests, was originally slated to be a song of the summer contender in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic altered its course — only for it to hit No. 1 days before November 2023.

“I’m loving where the music business has gone,” Jack Antonoff, who produced “Cruel Summer” and much of Swift’s 2019 album Lover, told Jimmy Fallon during his Tonight Show appearance Wednesday (Nov. 1). “Because it’s melted down into nothing but what people like. You can talk your crap about this or that, but the fans are God. What they say goes.”


“The idea of a single is just, what’s the song that if you could get your friends in the room, you’d play?” the Grammy-winning producer continued. “And what happened with ‘Cruel Summer’ is a testament to that. It was always our favorite song on the album. Then with nothing, no gas in the fire, with no one on the business side doing anything, just kids started playing it more and more.”

Antonoff’s sentiments echo the video message he and Swift posted shortly after news broke late October that “Cruel Summer” had gone No. 1. Excitedly talking over one another, the Bleachers frontman said that the Lover track had always been “the song that we said was the best song, but we thought, ‘Oh, you know what? This will be our secret best song.’”

“We just wanted to say thank you so much for making ‘Cruel Summer’ a Hot 100 No. 1, and it’s not even summer anymore,” Swift added in the video. “It’s deep fall, I’m wearing a sweater.”

Antonoff also recently spoke with Billboard about the “Cruel Summer” phenomenon, calling its delayed chart triumph “a huge thumbs-up from the universe.” “I take it all as a reminder to do what you believe in, make the songs you believe in,” he added. “You never want to do anything that you don’t believe in for the sake of success … With [‘Cruel Summer’], I loved that it existed, and didn’t need anything more from it. It’s just this bizarre icing on the cake.”

Watch Jack Antonoff open up about the belated success of “Cruel Summer” above, and the Bleacher’s Tonight Show performance below.

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