Meghan Trainor Is ‘Crazy But Sweet’ On Her New Song ‘Blink’

The last time we heard from Meghan Trainor, she was detailing her ongoing journey to self-love, on the feel-good single “Workin’ On It.” Now, M-Train is back with another bop that puts that newfound confidence into action.

“There ain’t nobody like me, baby,” she sings on the floor-filler, later proclaiming herself “a shooting star” and an “innocent bad bitch.” The uplifting energy continues as she boldly asserts, “The only one left / They don’t make ’em like this, oh … You better not blink / ‘Cause you don’t want to miss this.” It’s another danceable bop from Trainor, and a promising taste of what to expect once her long-awaited third album, Treat Myself, arrives later this month.

Treat Myself, the follow-up to 2016’s Thank You, also includes the previously released tracks “Wave” featuring Mike Sabath, “Workin’ On It” featuring Lennon Stellar and Sasha Sloan, and her 2018 single “No Excuses.” The 15-track LP arrives on January 31, and Trainor has said that it’ll be packed with “self-love anthems.” Consider us pumped to hear more.

Polo G And Lil Tjay Pop Out With Friends And Celebrate Some Wins In ‘First Place’

Chicago rapper Polo G and New York lyricist Lil Tjay had a huge year in 2019 with the release of their joint single “Pop Out” which went on to become platinum and peak at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Looking to replicate that success for the new year, the two have released a new collaboration, “First Place,” that’s a celebration of winning while looking at the past.

Where “Pop Out” was mostly about having fun, “First Place,” is more about smiling and realizing everything that they have around them. It’s powered by guitars and a captivating mix of drums that radiate the pair’s warmth. Though they reflect a bit on the harsh road that got them to where they are today, they look forward, ready to take over. “I know God got plans for me now/ Because he put bands on the plate,” raps Lil Tjay, happily. In the accompanying video, there are a lot of expensive clothes, cars, and friends. It’s a pretty simple and straightforward scene so, instead of looking for deeper meanings, you’re meant to bask in the wealth onscreen.

Lil Tjay’s debut LP, True 2 Self, dropped in October. It featured the “Leaked (Remix)” with Lil Wayne, which recently came with a wild video about a horny circus (yes, that’s a real thing). Polo G released his debut studio album, Die A Legend, last June.

Check out “First Place” up above.

Tove Lo Takes An Awkward Uber Ride With Finneas In ‘Bikini Porn’ Video

Name any random place, and there’s a good chance Tove Lo has danced there in nothing but a bikini. A dirt road? Yep. The back of a truck? Yep. A drab record store and its adjacent parking lot? Yep, yep. And then there’s the gym, the pool, the bar, and everywhere in between. All the wild dancing antics go down in the Swedish star’s brand new video, for the aptly titled “Bikini Porn.”

“All I do is drink champagne all day, all day, all day / And I dance around my room naked, oh yeah, naked,” Tove sings on the upbeat track, which sounds like a very, very early contender for Song of the Summer. She even takes the lyric “Skinny dippin’ in the pool with me” and brings it to life in the visual, peeling her top off in an abandoned swimming pool. The vid’s real highlight, though, is when she climbs into a car with an Uber driver played by the song’s producer, Finneas. Let’s just say her backseat dancing might make him a little uncomfortable.

In a statement about the self-described “sexy and weird” vid, Tove said, “This video was very fun and very bizarre to shoot. … It’s sexual at times but also just funny and not every shot is meant to be flattering. Also big shout out to Finneas for doing the best cameo ever!!”

Finneas, meanwhile, gushed, “I’ve been a fan of  Tove Lo since the minute I first heard ‘Habits’ in 2014. … Bar for bar, she’s brilliant and ‘Bikini Porn’ was exactly the song I dreamed of producing for her.”

Tove dropped “Bikini Porn” earlier this week alongside another Finneas-produced track, the slower and more somber “Passion and Pain Taste the Same When I’m Weak.” The two new songs come ahead of the February launch of her Sunshine Kitty tour, named after the album she released last year.

The new video also comes after an exciting week for Finneas, Billie Eilish’s brother and sole collaborator. The siblings confirmed on Tuesday that they’ve written the title song for the upcoming James Bond movie, No Time To Die, which Billie will sing. But before we hear that, watch him take the most awkward Uber ride ever in the video above.

Eminem And Juice WRLD Are Monsters In Surprise New Team-Up

Eminem and Juice WRLD are monsters on their new collaboration. A new song called “Godzilla” appears on Em’s surprise album, Music to Be Murdered to, that dropped today (January 17); on it, the two tackle a beastly beat and deliver some one-of-a-kind flows that make it one hell of a tune.

It’s nice to hear new Juice WRLD, following his death last December, and on “Godzilla,” he digs into his bag of expertly crafted melodic choruses. But Eminem here is in another space entirely, blacking out over the instrumental so quickly that it would give Sonic the Hedgehog a headache.

“Godzilla” begins with a brief clip of someone screaming “You’re a monster!” before Eminem begins his dark growl, spitting furiously like he’s chasing some prey in the middle of a forest at night. Juice comes with a werewolf-like message on the chorus, singing, “You get in my way, I’m gonna feed you to the monster / I’m normal during the day, but at night, I turn to a monster.”

When Eminem comes back, he cranks up the ear-twisting energy with a rapid-fire verse full of what Em does best. Listen close enough and you’ll catch “How can I have all these fans and perspire? / Like a liar’s pants, I’m on fire / And I got no plans to retire.”

Music to Be Murdered to also features Ed Sheeran, Q-Tip, Anderson .Paak, and more. Shortly after it dropped on Friday, it quickly generated controversy due to Em’s lyrics on “Unaccommodating” that reference the 2017 Manchester bombing at an Ariana Grande concert. (“I’m contemplating yelling ‘Bombs away’ on the game / Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting.”)

Another track called “Darkness” has Eminem rapping from the perspective of the shooter behind the 2017 Las Vegas massacre at the Harvest Music Festival. Its accompanying video is filmed from the shooter’s perspective, though it ends by appealing for the reform of gun laws.

That Voicemail In Halsey’s ‘3AM’ Isn’t Her Dad — It’s John Mayer

Halsey‘s brand new album Manic dropped today (January 17), and if you haven’t heard it yet, you’re going to have to trust us when we tell you to stream it ASAP. Following the LP’s midnight release, the “Without You” singer kindly hopped on Twitter not only to celebrate with fans, but to answer their burning questions about her most raw and vulnerable album yet.

“3AM,” a track that provides fans with major ’90s rock nostalgia, is one of the most buzzed-about songs on the LP, and it’s not hard to understand why. In addition to its catchy lyrics and melody, the song features killer drums and a voicemail that gives off total dad vibes. But alas, the voicemail isn’t from her dad at all. It’s from the one and only John Mayer.

Halsey confirmed Mayer’s feature herself on Twitter. “It’s @Johnmayer!” she wrote in response to a fan that asked if the recording was of her father. “Haha. He predicted the success of without me before I had faith in myself #manicthealbum.” Now that’s friendship goals.

In the voicemail, which plays in the final 20 seconds of the track, Mayer praised Halsey for what he called her “best song” yet. “Your best song is the song that’s currently on the radio,” he said. “How many people can say that? That their best song was the one that’s currently about to be a massive hit. It’s already a hit. It’s just gonna get more massive. How many people can say it? Not very many. Congratulations!”

Mayer’s feature wasn’t the only secret the pop star revealed about “3AM.” She also shared that the drums on the song were done by Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Chad Smith.

Evidently, Halsey’s Manic album is more star-studded than we had ever imagined. Going in, we knew we were getting features from Dominic Fike, BTS’s Suga, and the legendary Alanis Morissette. But Smith and Mayer? What a pleasant surprise.

The Healing Power Of Mac Miller’s Circles: A Track-By-Track Guide

Circles, Mac Miller‘s sixth studio album and first posthumous release, is the other necessary half to 2018’s Swimming. Conceptually, Miller viewed both together as Swimming in Circles, as his family revealed recently, and he was well into recording it when he died in September 2018. As such, he left the world with Swimming as his final graceful exploration of the slow, almost painful process of healing.

Circles, out today (January 17), carries that pain and looks from the water to the cloudy skies. There’s something to smile about, and though it might not be here yet, it’s just over the horizon. Rap takes a backseat here to more melodic explorations; through producer Jon Brion‘s diligent work, these dozen tracks find Miller mumbling, singing, chanting, and whispering to himself like there’s no audience, as if he’s singing into the mirror for the ultimate pep talk. As he sifts through his psyche to process a past relationship, he delivers some of his most intense, emotional, and gripping lyrics, often stripping back metaphors, similes, and punchlines to bring puffy-eyed catharsis.

Circles finds Miller taking responsibility for past choices and hints at having a better state of mind. This new sense of peace is best illustrated on “Surf,” where he declares, “I’m starting to see that all I have to do is get up and go,” a strong statement that lets you know that, in the end, all the mind needs is time.

Listen to Circles, and below, find a track-by-track guide that highlights how each song shows the album’s hard-fought trek from a dangerous sea to the safety of the shore.

  1. “Circles”

    Key lyrics: “Well this is what it looks like right before you fall / Stumbling around, you been guessing your direction, except you can’t see at all”

    How it resonates: The title track sets the mood and tone, continuing the drowning feeling from Swimming. Slow and lumbering, Mac tries to figure out where to go when he’s kicking his feet in the water in the middle of nowhere. This line begins the album in the now; Miller keeps returning to the startling line.

  2. “Complicated”

    Key lyrics: “Before I start to think about the future / First can I please get through today?”

    How it resonates: The stinging synths of singe your inner ears as Miller, cozying up to an easy-grooving set of drums, questions why things just can’t be simple for a moment: “Does it always gotta / Gotta be so complicated?”

  3. “Blue World”

    Key lyrics: “Reality is so hard to find / When the Devil’s trying to call your line / Shit, I always shine”

    How it resonates: Miller’s funkiest and eeriest Circles tune sounds like Dr. Manhattan and eight clones yelling into an echoing cave. With a slightly uptempo, yet endlessly energetic backdrop built around ethereal voices, Miller wags his finger at temptation and shouts out his resilience. It’s a high spot that brings some positivity.

  4. “Good News”

    Key lyrics: “I spent the whole day in my head / Do a little spring cleaning”

    How it resonates: This one sounds like Miller’s whispering with a hat over his face on a beach. He’s referenced being inside of his head before on Swimming‘s “Come Back to Earth, with “I just need a way out of my head / I’ll do anything for a way out.” This time, he’s content with staying, so he’s going to clean up while he’s there.

  5. “I Can See”

    Key lyrics: “I need somebody to save me before I drive myself crazy”

    How it resonates: “I Can See” is a vast, cosmic, mirage-like song about rising, falling, and figuring out what’s real and fake. Miller contemplates calling for help as he comes to the realization that life is really “just a dream.”

  6. “Everybody”

    Key lyrics: “Sometimes the going gets so good / But then again, it gets pretty rough”

    How it resonates: Smooth and easygoing, this cover of Arthur Lee’s 1972 soulful “Everybody’s Gotta Live” soundtracks Miller’s honest look at the facts of life (and finds him playing bass). The instrumental — grounded in snares and open-ended ride cymbals — builds with piano keys and a double-layering of his voice as he cycles over the fact that we all rise, fall, and look to have a good time.

  7. “Woods”

    Key lyrics: “Heartbreak will you leave you bankrupt / Too many days in a day, better wake up”

    How it resonates: The glowing keyboards synthesize a magical nighttime forest where Miller holds a butterfly and raps about a previous romantic relationship. He spent a lot of time putting it together and realizes that despite the effort, it takes even more energy to put it back together. You can lose all your money trying to fix a broken heart.

  8. “Hand Me Downs”

    Key lyrics: “Well just being honest, my conscious ain’t doing bad / Because I tried to minus the problems that I attract”

    How it resonates: Featuring Australian rapper Baro, “Hand Me Downs” is Miller’s most open look at coping. He explains that he’s been doing better since he’s realized the grander scope of his life. It’s more open and bare on the instrumental end, enabling Miller to lead with a pensive and thoughtful note to someone special, thanking them for their love.

  9. “That’s on Me”

    Key lyrics: “And I don’t know where I have been lately but I been alright / I said good morning this morning and I’ll say goodnight”

    How it resonates: The beautiful pianos and synths play up the melancholy nature of Miller’s message that a relationship is over, and it’s OK. He takes full responsibility on the chorus (“That’s on me, that’s on me, I know”) and later promises to cut the strings. And speaking of strings, Miller plays guitar on this track.

  10. “Hands”

    Key lyrics: “There’s no reason to be so down / I’d rather fly around like it’s no ground”

    How it resonates: With his chin to the sky, Miller is realizing that he’s going to be just fine. He wants to make sure that listeners know that they, too, can overcome what they’re going through. When he asks, “Why don’t you wake up from your bad dreams?,” it’s like a call to action.

  11. “Surf”

    Key lyrics: “Sometimes I get lonely, not when I’m alone / But it’s more when I’m standing in crowds that I feel lost on my own”

    How it resonates: “Surf” is the product of a wounded man and a guitar that eventually evolves into a diary entry with just a few backing drums. Miller wanders on, through a startling synth, singing about simply not knowing. “Before it’s all over, I promise we’ll figure it out,” he coos.

  12. “Once a Day”

    Key lyrics: “Don’t keep it all in your head / The only place that you know nobody ever can see”

    How it resonates: Miller’s soft closing song — one of three songs he has sole writing credit on (along with “Circles” and “That’s on Me”) is a powerful exit. He lets the listener know, over a smooth, echoing flurry of notes, not to make the same mistake that he has: not to stay inside your head, because you’ll get lost in the mess. Mac might’ve envisioned himself swimming in circles, but “Once a Day” offers a compelling and heartfelt ending — a final grace note of optimism.

6lack, Vince Staples, And More Highlight Massive Deluxe Revenge Of The Dreamers III

On January 16, 2019, the recording sessions for Revenge Of The Dreamers III wrapped in Atlanta. The J. Cole-led Dreamville Records invited hundreds of artists and producers to help craft the compilation LP that would go on to be dropped on July 5 of that year. Last night (January 16), Dreamville Records released the deluxe edition, Revenge of the Dreamers III: Director’s Cut. It adds twelve more tracks to bring the total to a whopping 30.

Revenge of the Dreamers III: Director’s Cut is all of Dreamville’s show – plus a few guests. It features new contributions from nearly everyone involved, save for Cole himself. Ari Lennox takes the listener through a sexy night in “Bussit” and 6LACK joins Dreamville rappers J.I.D and Lute to spit his own tongue-twisting verse. Elsewhere, Vince Staples, Smino, Buddy, and more pop up and bring their eclectic styles to an already wide-ranging project next to other Dreamville rappers like Bas and Cozz.

Revenge of the Dreamers III debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 in its first week and has since gone gold. “Middle Child,” its lead single by J. Cole, became J. Cole’s highest charting tune by climbing to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The LP is nominated for Best Rap Album at the 62nd Grammy Awards that will take place on January 26.

Stream Revenge of the Dreamers III: Director’s Cut up above. 

BTS Get Brutally Honest About Their Fears On Haunting New Single ‘Black Swan’

When talking about art — a song, a drawing, a choreography, a film — we are often so consumed by meaning. What does this mean? What is the artist trying to say? Why is this important? But art, as we know, is subjective. You can’t decipher a singular meaning from a piece of work any better than you can read the cavernous thoughts inside your own head. But you do know how something makes you feel. And when that feeling leaves, only emptiness remains. Art that doesn’t make you feel at all is an artist’s greatest sin.

Korean superstars BTS confront this head-on with “Black Swan,” the pensive first single from their upcoming studio album Map Of The Soul: 7In the seven years since their debut, the group’s relationship with their music has changed. And just as they’ve matured — from seven youths hellbent on disrupting the system into seven young men who know the value of self-love but still struggle to practice it — so has their music. Co-written by leader RM, “Black Swan” is BTS at their most raw and unflinching; narratively, it’s their darkest single since 2018’s “Fake Love,” but whereas that was an explosion of anger, “Black Swan” is something deeper and more painful: the loss of feeling. They’re now terrified that the thing that once made them feel everything — their music — will make them feel nothing.

“I been always afraid of if this can no longer resonate,” RM raps over a rolling trap beat, translated to English. “No longer make my heart vibrate / Then like this may be how I die my first death.” (It’s important to note that the accompanying video, an “art film” featuring a haunting performance from Slovenian troupe MN Dance Company and stripped-down vocals, begins with the quote from dancer Martha Graham: “A dancer dies twice — once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.”)

But dancer and vocalist Jimin’s verse is the most emotionally potent: “No song affects me anymore / Crying a silent cry.” It’s a moment of catharsis — the realization that you’re burnt out by the thing you love the most.

Still, where there is despair there is also hope. And while BTS come face-to-face with their deepest fear, they don’t let it completely paralyze them. “Slowly, I open my eyes I’m in my workroom, it’s my studio,” Suga raps. “The waves go darkly by in a throe / But I’ll never get dragged away again.” Jin then cries out, “Nothing can devour me / I shout out with ferocity.”

It’s a twisted dance, the one an artist inflicts on themself. But through these moments of doubt and exhaustion, BTS — and every artist — come to a realization: that art doesn’t make you feel, it is the feeling. Creation is the purest form of self-expression and self-preservation. And you can’t lose something you’ve had all along.

Map Of The Soul: 7 drops February 21. In the lead-up to the new release, BTS has launched “Connect, BTS,” a global public art project that celebrates the work of 22 artists across five cities: London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, and New York. A statement on the website reads, “‘Connect, BTS’ reaches for a collective experience that might be only the beginning of new communication between art, music and people.” No doubt that “Black Swan” is also part of that intimate conversation.

For Rapper Mick Jenkins, Real Life Is The Circus

Mick Jenkins’ 1967 Ford Mustang doesn’t radiate colors off of its normally glossy exterior. It’s a deep, dark silver, and he compares it to matte black, into which other hues disappear like quicksand. He bought it on Craigslist for $5,000. The 28-year-old Chicago rapper, whose music submerges itself in the political and social subconscious, estimates that he’s put $22,000 into pimping his ride. Now, he cackles as he relives the reactions he gets when he arrives at events. “When I pull up, I don’t give a fuck what’s out there,” he tells MTV News over the phone. “It gets the same love as a Maserati. People go crazy because you don’t see shit like that.”

You’d think by this adoration that Jenkins’s music would center around his accomplishments, but that’s not quite the story. Since his 2012 debut project, The Mickstape, Jenkins’s raps have explored his viewpoint of society through an evolving mind and through the lens of his Christian faith. He can expound upon the importance of drinking water and then flip it into washing away your sins with it, with God’s help.

For Jenkins’s latest project, The Circus, though, his car is at the center of its grand spectacle.  While his previous project, Pieces of a Man, went inwards to squint at his id, The Circus casts himself aside (or rather, puts him inside his ride for a nighttime visit to a park) and instead focuses on the world at large, in all its frequent ugliness. “It’s about society,” he says. “We’re all performing for peanuts and being asked to do amazing things for people. We’re being robbed of certain humanities and our uniqueness is being exploited.”

The LP’s seven songs come together to paint a picture of society that Jenkins is complicit in: one that shows how we’re all acting out for the audience of smartphone cameras that record and chronicle our every move. The Circus treks through the feelings and experiences of processing that kind of surveillance. On opener “Same Ol,” Jenkins laughs at how nothing ever changes. “Game don’t switch, you know this, shit don’t stop,” he raps on the chorus, following it a line as certain as death and taxes. “Money gonna come, money gonna go, somebody catching it if it drops.”

“Carefree,” meanwhile, is a foreboding story about a police confrontation that finds Jenkins performing for an audience at the beach, “off the drugs” and “off the drinks” as he spits. The first verse sets a breezy mood underneath the stars. “Shawty never smoked kush like this, some fire-ass music playing, grinding on me / You know I had to push right back, reflex, respect,” he raps, recalling the good times.

After the chorus, Jenkins’s heart jumps into his throat when the police come to ruin the group’s fun. “Can’t even look me in my face,” he spits, disgusted at the officer. “So quick to shoot, no Devin Booker.” The song ends with Jenkins getting a ticket for his windows being too dark, which he based entirely in reality. “We really got rolled up on at the beach, crazy as hell, at 11:15 because the park closed at 11,” he says. This fear, this kind of confrontation, this spectacle put on display — they all dig into the layers of performances that we play.

On The Circus, Jenkins doesn’t have to play alone. The project’s lone feature comes courtesy of Earthgang, the eclectic rap duo signed to Dreamville Records that Jenkins has become close with. “They are so fire, and I’ve been working with them for a while,” he says about their collaboration, “The Light.” It’s the sole soul spot on the EP, which Jenkins says is part of “a ton of soulful stuff that I’ve been working on; it’s just not on here.” Earthgang’s presence is personal for him. “They showed me a lot of love before they knew who I really was,” he says. “We made a couple of records back then. I’m super excited to continue working with them.”

Wedged firmly in the center of the EP is “Flaunt,” on which Jenkins’s normally socially conscious music turns toward shit-talking. It’s him acting for the audience, chuckling as he shows off the fruits of his labor. Though he may sound like he doesn’t want to do it, Jenkins is flexing. “I love to humblebrag,” he says about the song. “I’ve got a couple of things that cost a couple of bucks.” In addition to his Mustang, his favorite material possessions he’s purchased in the last few years are his new Mamiya RB67 SLR camera and original artwork that he’s bought from artists that he’s “connected to.”

It doesn’t matter what he buys, though; he’s still in the center of The Circus, a project about the ways we put on for each other, told through songs involving putting on for listeners, for friends, and for Jenkins himself. There’s a lot to unpack, as its orange and maroon cover art reveals; on it, a cartoon version of Jenkins juggles on top of an elephant inside a ring of fire. For those who want the rest of the story — Jenkins calls The Circus “a direct prequel” to his next album — they’ll have to parse the artwork for details. “Whatever you need to know, it’s alluded to on the cover.” Before he can elaborate, he ends the call with a bow, signaling the end of the show. For now.

Bop Shop: Songs From Halsey, Grimes, Ari Lennox, And More

Mickey Mouse grabbed a microphone and hopped in the booth after sucking the helium out of a balloon. Theodore from Alvin and the Chipmunks had a midlife crisis and released his first rap song. That “eeh, ur!” sound from Roddy Ricch‘s hit song, “The Box,” figured out that it’s more than a fire ad-lib and wanted to pursue its own rap career. The seemingly endless jokes about Atlanta rapper 645AR’s voice have catapulted him to near-viral fame. His squeaky voice is unlike anything else.

His new song, “4 Da Trap,” is hilariously on-brand. Over a melancholy meltdown of 808s, 645AR reflects on days of scraping cents to get something to eat to now “having racks” whenever he wants. At least that’s what the lyrics claim. It’s nearly impossible to make out exactly what he’s saying, but it’s just as hard to not be absorbed by it. It might be leading some big conversations in rap right now, but “4 Da Trap” might be the tiniest song you’ll ever hear. —Trey Alston