Why Taylor Swift Played Rihanna’s ‘This Is What You Came For’ as a Surprise Song

    by Sidney Hunt
    Published: June 15, 2024 (4 weeks ago)

    In a surprising and electrifying moment during her recent concert at MetLife Stadium, Taylor Swift delighted fans by performing Rihanna’s hit song “This Is What You Came For” as one of her surprise songs. The unexpected cover not only thrilled the audience but also sparked widespread speculation and discussion about the reasons behind her choice.

    A Nod to Past Collaborations

    One of the most compelling reasons behind Swift’s decision to play “This Is What You Came For” lies in her history with the song. Originally released in 2016, the track was a massive hit for Rihanna, but it was later revealed that Taylor Swift co-wrote the song under the pseudonym Nils Sjöberg, along with her then-boyfriend Calvin Harris. By choosing to perform this song, Swift was likely acknowledging her creative contribution to the track and celebrating a significant part of her musical legacy.

    Fan Appreciation and Connection

    Swift is known for her deep connection with her fans and often selects surprise songs that have special meanings or connections to her audience. “This Is What You Came For” was a major summer anthem, and its inclusion in her setlist was a nostalgic treat for long-time fans. Performing it live allowed Swift to share a behind-the-scenes aspect of her career with her audience, creating a moment of intimacy and mutual appreciation.

    A Symbolic Gesture of Empowerment

    The choice to perform this song also comes at a time when Swift has been increasingly vocal about her creative rights and independence in the music industry. By reclaiming “This Is What You Came For” as part of her live performance repertoire, Swift could be making a statement about her ownership of her work and her journey towards artistic autonomy. It’s a powerful reminder of her ability to influence and shape the music world, even through works she’s crafted for other artists.

    Bridging Musical Worlds

    Taylor Swift and Rihanna, although from different musical genres, share a mutual respect in the industry. Covering Rihanna’s song might also be seen as a gesture of admiration and unity among female artists. It’s an acknowledgment of the impact Rihanna has had on pop and contemporary music, as well as a celebration of women supporting women in the often competitive music industry.

    Audience Reaction and Social Media Buzz

    The performance was met with immediate excitement from the audience, with fans quickly taking to social media to express their delight and surprise. Clips of the performance went viral within minutes, with hashtags like #SurpriseSong and #ThisIsWhatYouCameFor trending worldwide. Many fans praised Swift for her versatility and ability to seamlessly blend different musical influences into her shows.

    One concertgoer tweeted, “Taylor Swift just performed ‘This Is What You Came For’ and I am living for this moment! She’s amazing!” Another fan wrote, “What a brilliant surprise! Taylor acknowledging her songwriting genius in the best way possible.”


    Taylor Swift’s decision to perform “This Is What You Came For” as a surprise song was a multifaceted gesture, rich with personal, artistic, and symbolic significance. It showcased her songwriting prowess, connected deeply with her fans, and highlighted her ongoing narrative of empowerment and independence in the music industry. As always, Swift’s ability to surprise and delight her audience reinforces her reputation as a masterful performer who is deeply attuned to the heartbeat of her fans and the broader cultural landscape.


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