‘Cruel Summer’ Star Olivia Holt Covered These Nostalgic ’90s Songs for the Series

Freeform’s Cruel Summer quickly became a popular series for its mysterious plot and shocking twist in the season 1 finale. The series takes place over three summers in the mid-90s, invoking nostalgic vibes with its throwback fashion and music. Due to its setting, the series features plenty of songs that will be familiar to ’90s fans. A few of them were even covered by Olivia Holt, who played Kate Wallis throughout the series.

Who is Olivia Holt’s character in ‘Cruel Summer’?

Kate Wallis sits at the mall food court with her boyfriend Jaimie in 'Cruel Summer'
Olivia Holt as Kate and Froy Gutierrez as Jamie in ‘Cruel Summer’ | Bill Matlock/Freeform via Getty Images

Holt stars as Kate Wallis, a popular teenager living in a small town in Texas in the mid-90s. Kate is essentially the perfect it-girl. She is beautiful and popular. She comes from a wealthy family and has plenty of friends and a boyfriend on the football team. However, her story takes a dark twist. Kate is groomed and eventually kidnapped by Martin Harris, the assistant vice president at her high school. Kate also claims after she was rescued that a fellow classmate, Jeanette Turner, saw her while she was trapped in Martin’s basement, but did nothing.

What ’90s songs does Olivia Holt cover in ‘Cruel Summer’?

Cruel Summer boasts a pretty noteworthy soundtrack to accompany its ’90s theme. Every song seems to have a special meaning. Holt even covered three of the nostalgic songs featured in the series: “Today” and “Disarm” by The Smashing Pumpkins and “Creep” by Radiohead.

“Today” plays in the episode “Happy Birthday, Kate Wallis” over a montage of Mallory and Kate spending Kate’s birthday at the roller rink. “Today” is a dark song about suicidal thoughts. Holt’s slowed-down version plays over a happy day for Kate in an otherwise difficult time. “Disarm” plays in the final episode when Kate kills Martin. It is a song about abuse and retaliation, perfectly fitting Kate’s final moments with her abuser, when she is finally able to get the upper hand.

“Creep” is perhaps Holt’s most famous cover on the series. It plays in the shocking and final scene in Cruel Summer. Jeanette hears Kate calling for help in Martin’s basement. Instead of helping, she smiles and does nothing. The song perfectly complements this scene, especially considering that characters like Mallory have already labeled Jeanette as a creep. This scene just confirms it.

It turns out Holt was a fan of ’90s music even before landing her part in Cruel Summer. “I grew up listening to that music,” she said in an interview with ET Online. “My dad is the ultimate ’90s music fanatic. Hearing that music growing up and now being in my early 20s, entering my mid-20s, it’s sort of full circle.” It seems almost too fitting that Holt was able to star in Cruel Summer and cover these classic songs.

What’s next for Olivia Holt’s music career?

Holt has more musical talents than covering ’90s jams. In fact, she has been making music since she was a teenager. “I was 16, 15 [years old] when I started making music and I needed to live a little bit of life,” she told ET. Since then, Holt has released singles, an EP, and even dipped her toe in writing her own music. Most recently, Holt released a music video of her performing “Next”, an upbeat pop song co-written by Meghan Trainor. It’s safe to say that this is just the beginning for Holt’s music career.

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