The singer is showing fans that new music is in the works.
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The singer is showing fans that new music is in the works.
[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
“To Die For” plants Smith back in heartbreaking ballad territory: a place they’re all too familiar with. “Lonely days, I’m feeling / Like a fool for dreaming,” Smith sings, before arriving at a plaintive confession: “I just want somebody to die for.” The accompanying video, directed by Grant Singer, takes place at a wig shop where a bald mannequin head in Smith’s likeness stares out the window. Kissing couples pass by the window over several seasons, but Smith remains there all alone as his “world crashes down” — until the clip comes to a glass-shattering conclusion.
Following the new track’s release on Friday (February 14), Smith tweeted, “I poured my heart and soul into this song. So happy #ToDieFor is yours now & I can’t express how excited I am to sing this live one day soon.”
In a press release, they continued, “I wrote the song with Jimmy Napes and Stargate in L.A. during a time of self-discovery and heartbreak. This is for all the lonely hearts out there on another Valentine’s Day xx.”
“To Die For” comes after Smith spilled all the tea on their new album on Thursday. “I am more proud of this album than anything I’ve ever done,” the 27-year-old wrote on Instagram (which is promising, considering how strong their first two albums were). “I’ve really set myself free the last two years whilst writing this and I hope you can dance and relate to these stories. It’s all for you, always.”
Smith also shared a glimpse at the grabby cover art, which features the blue-eyed Brit posing within a sea of hands. Check it out here, and get your countdown ready for To Die For, which arrives May 1.
The wait for Justin Bieber‘s new album — one that began in earnest last April after his “album coming soon” tease at Coachella — is finally over. On Friday (February 14), Bieber released his fifth album, Changes (a.k.a. the best Valentine’s Day present ever).
Changes is the long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Purpose, and it truly does chart the changes that have happened in Bieber’s life during the past five years. Chief among them: He’s a married man now, and his wife Hailey Baldwin’s presence can certainly be felt all over the new 17-song collection. Opening track “All Around Me” finds Bieber crooning about unconditional love, he sings of two worlds colliding on “That’s What Love Is,” and on “Habitual,” he earnestly repeats, “my love for you’s habitual.”
But Changes isn’t all weighty contemplations about lifelong commitment — JB knows how to have a little fun, too. On “Come Around Me,” “ETA,” and lead single “Yummy,” horny Bieber comes out to play, and he relishes in someone making him feel “giddy” on the Travis Scott collaboration “Second Emotion.” It’s all bound together by the kind of R&B-pop Bieber excelled at on his 2013 project Journals — with Changes, he abandons Purpose‘s EDM in favor of, as he once put it, “R&Bieber.”
Key among the other changes in Bieber’s life is his personal and spiritual growth. The new album is the 25-year-old’s first since his very public breakdown a few years ago, during which he canceled a slew of tour dates and hid from the world. Now, he’s become a passionate advocate for his and others’ mental and physical health, and his journey is chronicled on Changes‘ title track. “I just wanna be the best of me / Even though sometimes, I forget to breathe,” he sings on the slow-burning number, which he previously teased during an episode of his YouTube docuseries, Seasons. “So that I can be the best for you / That’s all I wanna do.”
With Changes, Bieber manages to do just that. Stream the entire album — which also includes collaborations with Quavo, Kehlani, Lil Dicky, and Post Malone — below.
For “No Time To Die” — the song written for the upcoming Bond film of the same name — Eilish opted for a moody, intense ballad along the lines of “When The Party’s Over.” But because the 007 is involved, she and her brother/producer/co-writer, Finneas, upped the drama by giving her haunting vocals a sweeping, atmospheric backdrop. “You were never on my side / Fool me once, fool me twice,” Eilish sings over a haunting piano melody. “Now you’ll never see me cry / There’s just no time to die.”
It’s danger. It’s drama. It’s Bond. (James Bond.)
No Time to Die hits theaters on April 10 and features Daniel Craig in his fifth and final appearance as the franchise’s titular hero. Craig’s tenure as the secret agent has given us some of the darkest films in the franchise’s history; he’s a wounded Bond who’s as melancholy as he is swaggering — which makes Eilish’s brooding brand of pop a great fit for this era of 007.
In a press release, Eilish said, “It feels crazy to be a part of this in every way. To be able to score the theme song to a film that is part of such a legendary series is a huge honor. James Bond is the coolest film franchise ever to exist. I’m still in shock.” Finneas added, “Writing the theme song for a Bond film is something we’ve been dreaming about doing our entire lives. … We feel so so lucky to play a small role in such a legendary franchise, long live 007.”
Eilish’s “No Time To Die” is the latest in a long line of Bond theme songs. After Shirley Bassey set the standard in 1964 with “Goldenfinger,” Adele, Madonna, Chris Cornell, and Tina Turner are among the artists who have contributed their own themes for the iconic franchise. Eilish is now the youngest artist in history to record a Bond song, and it could mean she’ll return to the Academy Awards stage next year, after having just attended the awards show last weekend. After all, Adele and Sam Smith both took home Oscars for the theme songs they wrote and sang for the previous two 007 films.
The new song also follows a high-profile, momentum-building few weeks for Eilish. In January, the 18-year-old performed at the Grammys, where she took home five awards and became the youngest artist to sweep the big four categories. Then, last weekend, she and Finneas took the Oscars stage to soundtrack the “In Memoriam” segment with a soulful cover of the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” Next up, she’s readying her Where Do We Go? Would Tour, which kicks off on March 9. Got all that?!
Phony Ppl were in Germany last July when they got the news: Megan Thee Stallion heard their crisp funk nugget, “Fkn Around,” and wanted to hop on it. “It was one of those kind of magical come-togethers,” guitarist Elijah Rawk tells MTV News over the phone.
The world got its first taste of the song in December when Phony Ppl, made up of Rawk, Elbee Thrie, Matt “Maffyuu” Byas, Aja Grant, and Bari Bass, joined Megan Thee Stallion for NPR’s Tiny Desk. Megan adds a demanding verse with a strong do-as-she-pleases vibe to Phony Ppl’s cautious lyrics. “When we heard her verse through FaceTime, the one line that stuck with us was ‘I got me a European papi out in Italy,’ and we kept saying it over and over on tour,” Rawk said.
Fast forward to today (February 13) — just in time for Valentine’s Day, for a hilarious bit of irony — and the group has released a music video about a car wash that rinses as much dirt as it does commitment. While Phony Ppl put in some serious elbow grease as mechanics, Megan Thee Stallion cruises through their car wash, tempted by a bearded Adonis as her corny boyfriend sits shotgun.
“We wanted to mess with certain ideas and flip them,” Bass says. “Instead of having a car wash full of girls, we decided that we’d have our own body shop and that Meg would be in the car wash with the kind of car that she would want to see.”
The vid is an all-around good time, featuring a ton of improvised dancing around sparkling rides, building up to Megan’s ferocious verse, which she delivers surrounded by shirtless dudes, and culminating in a giant party where no one is with anyone, and everyone is with everyone. Committed relationship, who?
Like the song that the video is for, “Fkn Around” doesn’t necessarily promote infidelity — but it accepts that it exists. As Grant says, “Some people do it, some people don’t.”
“In 2020, everyone is learning that there’s a lot more that we can figure out about ourselves,” Rawk says. “We would never promote cheating, but I also think that, when you’re young, sometimes a window of opportunity won’t find itself in your life again. It might be more worth it, in the long run, to give yourself more experiences in your life then to limit yourself for someone or something that could end up being a waste of time.” (Of course, he adds, that doesn’t necessarily mean lying to your partner.)
Thrie likes to think about the situation in a slightly different way. “Cheating, cheating, cheating,” he says, turning the word over like a coin on his tongue. “It could be a game. You could be playing tic-tac-toe or basketball. Can you commit to playing that role?”
If this video is any indication, that’s one commitment Phony Ppl and Megan can keep.
Check out “Fkn Around” featuring Megan Thee Stallion above. The song will appear on Phony Ppl’s to-be-titled follow-up to their 2018 album, mō’zā-ik.
The Weeknd has been teasing his fourth album for months, and now we finally have more details about what he’s been calling “Chapter VI.”
On Thursday (February 13), the Canadian star officially announced the new project with a teaser that keeps up the air of mystery he mastered early on in his career. In it, he speeds through a tunnel in a flashy convertible as the cityscape around him gets turned upside down. It builds up to a big reveal that spells out his new album title letter by letter: After Hours.
After Hours will be The Weeknd’s first studio album since 2016’s Starboy, though he did release the EP My Dear Melancholy in 2018. So far, Abel has shared the back-to-back singles “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights,” both of which came with dazzling music videos and mind-scrambling late-night performances. He’s also kept busy by seemingly making peace with Drake and by appearing in the Adam Sandler-starring drama Uncut Gems. Next up, he’ll be making his third appearance as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, on the March 7 episode hosted by Daniel Craig.
Though we now know what The Weeknd’s long-awaited new album is called, he still hasn’t revealed its release date. Leave it to Abel to keep us in the dark amidst all those blinding lights.
Sam Smith has made the announcement that the world has been dying to hear: their third studio album, To Die For, is coming out on May 1. That’s just a few short months away. It has taken a while, but the singer is ready to show the world what they’ve been working on. This spring is going to be one for the books.
Smith broke the news with a surprise post of their head cradled in well-manicured fingers. The singer’s set to release the LP’s title song on Valentine’s Day and has already been amping up the excitement for it, so their reveal touched on the fervor surrounding the impending drop. “Gorgeous people, I’m so happy to see you all so excited about my new song, so I wanted to share another surprise… My THIRD album TO DIE FOR will be yours on May 1st!!!!” they wrote. It’ll be available for preorder starting on February 14.
They also went a bit further, explaining why the wait for it has been so long. “I’ve really set myself free the last two years whilst writing this and I hope you can dance and relate to these stories. It’s all for you, always xx.”
Smith’s reveal is awesome news because their sophomore album, The Thrill Of It All, dropped in 2017. Last June, they released “How Do You Sleep?” with a video featuring a snake-like dance routine and a robot hanging out with a biker. They also collaborated with Normani for “Dancing With A Stranger.”
Take a look at Smith’s announcement up above.
The Jonas Brothers were the musical guests on The Late Late Show with James Corden last night and the atmosphere felt like a surprise performance at a school auditorium where kids are screaming and excited just because they get to miss class for an hour. The pop powerhouses performed “What a Man Gotta Do” surrounded by a live band and backup singers who synthesized a concert arena’s intensity on a regular show stage. Not an easy feat. I literally felt like I was there through the screen. My ears are still ringing.
Before the show even started, the audience clapped in unison amidst excited roars and yips. Then the trio barreled into their lovey-dovey number along with the yells, serenading everyone in the room with the kind of intense affection that is normally reserved for Valentine’s Day (which happens to be around the corner).
All three of the JoBros killed it, but perhaps the star of the show was Joe who really let loose with the dance moves, grooving like the happiest bingo winner in a retirement home. Put this in the running for one of the most entertaining late show performances that you’ll ever see.
“What a Man Gotta Do” spawned two different videos that dropped last month; one nostalgic, 80s-fueled romp that featured the JoBros lovely partners Sophie Turner, Priyanka Chopra, and Danielle Jonas, and an alternate one featuring the brothers driving around Las Vegas. They revealed in January that they’re working on a new album. Happiness Begins, their return LP that featured “Sucker, “Cool,” and “Only Human,” came out last year.
Check out the JoBros exciting new “What a Man Gotta Do” concert-worthy performance up above.
The journey started with a choppy conference call. It ends with a stirring three-video cinematic narrative that loads the world with expectations for Hayley Williams’s debut solo studio album, Petals for Armor.
Warren Fu, the acclaimed director with more than 20 years in the industry, has collaborated with everyone from Haim and The 1975 to Daft Punk and The Weeknd. He had previously worked with Williams’s band Paramore for their goofy, endearing 2018 video “Rose-Colored Boy,” and when the singer was ready to launch her own solo adventure, she knew who to hit up.
“We were all very happy with how ‘Rose-Colored Boy’ turned out and we had talked about doing more in the future,” Fu tells MTV News via email. “So when Hayley and her creative director, Lindsey Byrnes, reached out to me with new solo songs, I jumped at the opportunity to work with her again.” After hearing coarse versions of the tunes through a low-quality call, Fu was all in.
In just over two weeks at the top of this year, Williams shared three full Fu-directed videos, as well as two “interludes,” for intense and emotional songs that doubled as personal experiences. First came “Simmer,” a ballad about twisting your finger in someone’s most painful spot and holding on to marinating rage. “Leave It Alone” followed soon after, somberly chuckling about the cosmic irony of losing everything just when you want to keep it. The final piece was “Cinnamon,” changing the pace to talk about the sanctity of one’s home and Williams’s eventual liberation.
The visuals are full of slightly horrifying splendor; Williams is haunted by her own hooded doppelgänger in one, a butterfly-like beast in another, and living, dancing extensions of her house in the third. Inspired by the songs, these clips are also something different entirely. Fu’s videos let the songs speak for themselves while placing Williams’s two characters, whom he refers to as “Mercy” and “Wrath,” in a three-video journey about the internal battle to accept each other as one.
“These are very personal songs for her,” Fu says. “She had a collection of ideas that came from visions that she had. Some were loose, some were specific.”
After getting some initial notes about the ideas and direction in which Williams wanted to go, Fu went to work on establishing the world that they would visit. “‘Simmer’ felt like the pulse-pounding opening thriller,” he says. “‘Leave It Alone’ was the introspective second act, or meditation, and ‘Cinnamon’ was the weird fever dream that transitions into a climactic ending.”
“With that general framework in mind, I let the lyrics guide the storytelling,” he says. “I shared that framework, Hayley and Lindsey gave their feedback, and I made changes and expanded on it further.”
The videos were shot over the course of three days during a cold winter weekend in Tennessee. The crew cheered during dance scenes. Fu cleared the set for emotional and intimate ones. Everything came together in one or two takes for each song.
In the “Simmer” video, Williams flees an evil entity that chases her through a forest before cornering her in a house. Williams overpowers the masked demon before unmasking it and seeing that it’s actually her. After experiencing the brutal temperatures during filming, Fu was hesitant to push on with the idea, especially since Williams filmed her running scenes completely naked.
“When we got into town and saw ice and hail in the weather forecast, I began to wonder if we could change the concept of the video,” he says. “The idea behind Mercy running bare in the forest was to show a raw vulnerability and to give it a feeling of taking place out of time.” Though he had his doubts, it was Williams who nudged him forward. “’I’m all in. Doin’ it for the art, man!’” he says, paraphrasing her.
In “Leave It Alone,” a highly made-up Williams gradually frees herself from a shell in her attic. She’s become something else — part flower and almost insect-like, stashed in an attic where she then enters a cocoon. Fu kicked things off by checking out Williams’s house. “Hayley sent me photos and videos of it when I started. This sense of a home and feeling comfortable in your own skin was an important theme in her notes.”
“The most distinct and personal feature of her house is that she has a really cool attic. So that inspired me to set the introspective second act in a weird cocoon or chrysalis suspended in the rafters of an attic,” he says.
The attic from the scene, though, isn’t an actual attic. It turned out that the rented house didn’t have a big enough one to use, so they ended up repurposing a nearby barn.
Fu found inspiration for “The Creature” and its movements in Franz Kafka’s 1915 novella, The Metamorphosis, which he read as a kid. “The thing that always stuck vividly in my mind was the opening where the protagonist wakes up and finds himself as an insect,” Fu says. “I loved that visual of showing Hayley’s eye snapping open in a panic, and not knowing who or where she was. She gets pulled back to sleep by the house and goes into a state of hibernation, introspection, and transformation.”
Williams’s initial notes to Fu revealed that she wanted to have “unexpected combinations of beautiful and grotesque imagery.” She also gave Fu the seed moment that would define the rest of the video: “eating oysters while taking a bath.” This idea played a large part in the video for “Cinnamon,” in which Williams gets chased by creepy house-made creatures who she eventually dances with in an ecstatic display of emotional unshackling.
“Her eyes snap open again, and she’s almost unrecognizable from her former self,” he says. “After the long build-up of pain and struggle, this is the release, the payoff.”
This story of Williams accepting the different pieces of herself as both Mercy and Wrath is an important piece of Petals for Armor — so important that the singer has already released the three songs, along with two others, as the Petals for Armor I EP ahead of the album’s May 8 release.
While we wait for the full LP, fans have these three videos – and the intense YouTube analyses in their comments sections – to hold them over and keep them up at night. Fu loves that people “are entertained or moved by the art” and hopes that people can find themselves in Williams’s personal journey. “If someone going through their own problems can relate to it or find comfort in it, then you’ve done your job,” he says.
The opioid crisis in the United States takes an average of 130 lives a day, and it costs the country an estimated $78 million a year. It’s an epidemic, and Grimes has released an emotional new song called “Delete Forever” that draws attention to the dire situation, set to appear on her forthcoming studio album Miss Anthropocene.
Grimes opened up about the song to Zane Lowe of Apple Music’s Beats 1. “It’s a pretty bummer song,” she said, adding that she’s had “quite a few friends pass away” in relation to the opioid epidemic. Grimes actually wrote “Delete Forever,” she noted, on the night that Lil Peep died in 2017. (The rapper’s official cause of death was later ruled to be an accidental overdose of fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid, and Xanax.) “Artists keep dying and stuff, so I wrote this song on the night Lil Peep died, or whatever, because I just got super triggered,” she said.
On the song, Grimes explores the dark feelings that might surround a person struggling with the substances. “Always down, I’m not up / Guess it’s just my rotten luck / To fill my time with permanent gloom,” she sings, coasting into the chorus: “I see everything, I see everything / Don’t you tell me now that I don’t want it.” It’s heavy, yet delicate, listen, characterized by a warm, blurry instrumental. Take a listen up above.
Miss Anthropocene is set to arrive on February 21. The LP, which is about a space-dwelling demon that loves the apocalypse, will feature the previously released tunes, “Violence,” “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth,” and “My Name Is Dark.”