Sage, Kesha, And Chika Unite To Break The Gun-Violence Cycle In Powerful New Video

After this year’s horrific mass shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 dead, young new artist Sage began work on a song. Sage, then a high-school senior, brought an early version of the tune to his sister, Kesha. On the final track — released on Friday (October 12) via a gripping video made in partnership with March For Our Lives — the two team up on a powerful, memorable chorus: “I don’t wanna be brave / I just wanna be safe.”

The song’s three minutes are also highlighted by verses from rising Nigerian-American rapper Chika, whose words paint a painfully visual of the gun-violence epidemic in America. And in the accompanying video, that epidemic, and its frustrating cyclicality, is on full display.

Sage appears briefly on a television alongside talking heads discussing that very cycle, but the rest of the runtime is devoted to portraying what’s called “the most vicious cycle” — in other words, what happens after a mass shooting, when we ultimately end up exactly where we began. To illustrate this, the YouTube upload contains three runs of the same video, caught in a seemingly endless loop, as a gunman’s bullet (and the gun lobby’s deep pockets) sets off a twisted Rube Goldberg-like labyrinth of damage throughout a school.

Kesha paired her contributions on this song with a stirring op-ed in Teen Vogue, also published on October 12. “It’s sad to me that many politicians, pundits, and everyday Americans dismiss gun violence, not just mass shootings in schools, as just another part of the culture in our country,” she wrote. “I wish it wasn’t. It doesn’t have to be.”

She references her brother Sage, as well as their collaborator Chika, as fellow supporters of “candidates who support common sense gun laws in this November’s midterm elections, so that we can finally end senseless gun violence.”

“United, our voices are more powerful, and now we want to ask you to be part of this movement with us,” she ends the op-ed, calling for everyone to come together to “break the vicious cycle.” Read her full, compelling letter here, and watch the “Safe” music video above.

For more from March For Our Lives, see MTV News’s coverage from the historic rally in March 2018 below.

Shawn Mendes Takes On An Immortal Classic With New ‘Under Pressure’ Cover

In 1981, Queen and David Bowie teamed up for a song that would become immortal. “Under Pressure” continues to work, nearly 40 years later, because of its simple formula: It’s a duet, but it’s also got one of the best bass lines ever written and tons of claps and snaps, which make everything as sticky as possible. It’s wonderful.

The song’s a bold one to cover, but I used to rock the hell out to the My Chemical Romance and The Used version, which still absolutely rules. The latest pair to try their hand at it are Shawn Mendes and teddy<3 (the new stage name of Mendes’s longtime collaborator Teddy Geiger), and their version is a spindly, acoustic-led showcase for their powerful and singular voices, particularly Mendes’s.

While teddy<3 leads on the chorus, Mendes’s soaring raspy falsetto is the centerpiece here, even hitting Freddie Mercury’s iconic whistle-high note during the bridge. Geiger co-wrote Mendes’s biggest hits — including “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” and “Stitches” — and Mendes has spoken highly of her and of their partnership. But “Under Pressure” marks the first time they’ve been on record together, and they’re a perfect match.

The pair made the song for the upcoming Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, as both pointed out on social media. “So honored Shawn asked me to sing with him,” Geiger wrote on Instagram.

Mendes added that they recorded their version “to honor Freddie, and for a cause really close to our hearts, to benefit the Mercury Phoenix Trust in the fight against HIV/AIDS.” All profits from the song will go directly to the organization, which members of Queen founded after Mercury’s death from AIDS in 1991.

Stream their “Under Pressure” cover above, and purchase it here. Play it loud for maximum effect until Bohemian Rhapsody hits theaters on November 2 in the U.S.

Charli XCX And Troye Sivan Cosplay As Spice Girls, BSB, And Eminem In ‘1999’ Video

Last week, Charli XCX and Troye Sivan dropped the nostalgia-fueled pop banger “1999,” complete with spot-on Matrix-inspired single art. If listening to the track managed to dredge up all your precious pre-millennium memories, then you’ll be psyched to find out that the video is that, times infinity.

Charli and Troye raided the costume closet of your dreams for the vid, which references various pop culture moments, movies, and celebs from the late ’90s. Charli cosplays as all five Spice Girls, TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and a turtlenecked Steve Jobs, while Troye dresses up as goateed Backstreet Boys, a Ramen-curled Justin Timberlake, and a bleach-haired Slim Shady. Together, they recreate iconic scenes from Titanic and The Matrix, and even revive Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan’s wild look from the 1998 VMAs.

Elsewhere, The Sims computer game surfaces, as do Skechers sneakers, Surge soda, and Baby-G watches. It might take you a couple views to catch each and every ’90s wink, but it’s entirely worth it — this vid is totally buggin’!

So what did we learn today? Apparently, Charli (a self-proclaimed “’90s bitch”) and Troye have “invented nostalgia.” Thanks, you two!

Quavo’s ‘BUBBLEGUM’ Video Looks Like An Outtake From Ready Player One

You’ve probably never thought about what Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One would’ve looked like if it had starred Quavo instead of Tye Sheridan. But on the off chance that you have, you’re going to be really into Q’s new video.

The “B U B B L E G U M” visual, which Quavo co-directed with Daps, opens with the Migos rapper putting on a VR headset in the midst of an apocalypse. The device beams him to a futuristic lab straight out of TLC’s “No Scrubs,” where a bunch of models perform tests on him while chewing a lot of bubblegum (obviously). Of course, Quavo has to return to reality eventually, and when he does, his girl — played by model and actress Draya Michele — is still by his side.

“B U B B L E G U M” follows “Workin Me” and “Lamb Talk” as the latest release from Quavo’s debut solo album, Quavo Huncho. The project arrives on Friday (October 12) and is rumored to feature collaborations with Drake, Cardi B, Kid Cudi, Travis Scott, and his Migos groupmates, Takeoff and Offset.

The new video also arrives one day after Migos picked up their first American Music Award, for Favorite Duo or Group — Pop/Rock. It’s shaping up to be a huge week for Quavo in more ways than one.

Troye Sivan Debuts Inspiring New Song ‘Revelation’ At Radio City Music Hall

Troye Sivan surprised lucky fans at Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday night (October 9) with the debut of his Boy Erased song “Revelation.”

The unreleased track, a hard-earned collaboration between Sivan and Sigur Rós’s Jónsi, is featured in Joel Edgerton’s forthcoming gay conversion therapy drama starring Lucas Hedges. The film follows a teen struggling to accept his sexual identity in a small Baptist community. Sivan also appears in the film in a supporting role, playing a young man who is enrolled in the same ex-gay program as Jared (Hedges).

After booking the role, the South Africa-born singer was eager to share his entire catalog with Edgerton in the hope that his songs would be featured in the film. In the end, two songs made the cut: Bloom‘s emotional breakup ballad “The Good Side” opens the film, while “Revelation” plays at a key moment of intimacy in Jared’s journey, when he realizes that “this person who he’s with is a revolution to him.”

You can hear a snippet of the song in the trailer:

Sivan called the experience of working on this film — and the process of writing an original song for it — “inspiring” before launching into the airy ballad, accompanied by a string quartet. “I don’t know if I’m allowed to sing it tonight. I hope it’s OK,” he joked.

“You’re a revelation / Won’t you liberate me now? / From my holy vow” he sings with raw honesty. “You’re a revolution / I will liberate you now / As the walls come down.”

The 23-year-old performer also opened up about his own coming-out journey to the sold-out crowd. During a moving performance of Blue Neighbourhood‘s “Heaven,” Sivan stood in front of a glowing venue, illuminated by cell phones lights and camera flashes. He sang the final chorus of the queer track in front of a rainbow light display as fans proudly waved their own pride flags — a striking image that made the emotional onstage proposal that happened moments before all the more heartwarming.

Below, Sivan explains how he convinced Edgerton to use his music in Boy Erased:

Selena And Cardi B Lord Over A Lava-Filled Underworld In DJ Snake’s ‘Taki Taki’ Video

No one really knows what “Taki Taki” means — Cardi B claims it’s something Ozuna made up — but while we continue pondering its definition, DJ Snake has generously distracted us with the collab’s fantastical new video.

Directed by Colin Tilley, the vid finds each of the artists — Snake, Ozuna, Cardi, and Selena Gomez — singing their portion of the reggaeton banger in a different post-apocalyptic world. The guys are seen surrounded by women in a stormy, lava-filled land, while Cardi strikes power poses in a red-lit realm. Gomez, meanwhile, brightens things up by singing her English and Spanish verses in a serene forest. Only Sel could pull off a monochromatic green outfit while surrounded by trees.

“Taki Taki” previews DJ Snake’s sophomore album, due out later this year. The producer recently shared a major milestone on Instagram, announcing that he’s one of only five artists in history to hit one billion streams on Spotify twice; the Justin Bieber-featuring “Let Me Love You” and his Major Lazer collab “Lean On” have both surpassed the billion stream mark. Stay tuned to see if “Taki Taki” makes the cut as well.

Pop Quiz: What’s The Best Song By A Fictional Character?

The TRL Pop Quiz works like this: our editors are posed a music-related question and have only 15 minutes and just 100 words to research, choose and explain their answers. This week’s question: what’s the best song by a fictional character, cartoon musician or otherwise?

Who doesn’t feel for a squirrel stuck under the sea? Sandy Cheeks’ country crooning in Season 1’s Texas episode of Spongebob Squarepants is a highlight of the entire series, as she emerges from her underwater biodome to sing a song that tears at every heartstring in Bikini Bottom. Press play, put on your cowboy hat, and let your inner-Texas jump out. – Gus Turner

My favorite fictional bop is “Hex Girl” by the Hex Girls from Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost, better known by its chorus, “I’m gonna put a spell on you.” The Hex Girls–Thorn, Luna and Dusk–are witchy “eco-goth” girl group icons who joined the Scooby gang several times after their initial appearance in Witch’s Ghost, and their catalog also boasts the anthemic “Earth, Wind, Fire, and Air”. But nothing beats the catchy, empowering, magical bop that introduced them; I still regularly get this song stuck in my head, especially as spooky season approaches. – Leah Williams

Often when someone wants to show off their singing skills, they sing “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” by Effie in the movie Dreamgirls, played and sang by Jennifer Holliday in the 1981 Broadway show and Jennifer Hudson in the 2006 movie. Jennifer Holliday won a Tony and a Grammy for her performance, and Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for hers. There is merit in their awards because this is a truly difficult song to sing, and it’s easily the most recognizable song from the production. – Landyn Pan

So many great fictional musicians come to mind (Protozoa from Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, Lizzie McGuire), but I have to go with my heart: Powerline from A Goofy Movie! Nothing beats Max Goof hijacking a school assembly to perform the a standing ovation-worthy lip sync rendition of Powerline’s “Stand Out” or joining the pop star on stage at his concert to perform “I2I” as he does one of the OG viral dances, The Perfect Cast. Of course, the man, the myth, the legend behind the Powerline vocals deserves a shout out: Tevin Campbell! – Kristen Maldonado

I’m at a loss; not because I can’t think of anything, but since I can’t narrow down which SpongeBob SquarePants bop reigns supreme. There’s the Krusty Krab pizza anthem, the campfire song, the halftime show performance… but there’s nothing as emotional as “Without You,when SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs admit “a stove is just a stove” but “this grill is not a home.” I cried every time I watched this episode as a kid, and I still cry to this song now. I feel precisely no shame. – Matt Gehring

12 Song Anniversaries To Celebrate This October

As much as I’d like to say that Halloween favorite “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett is turning 56 years old this October, that’d be a lie — its birthday was back in August. Though this month’s song birthdays aren’t too spooky, it’ll still scare you to know how old they are.

“…Baby One More Time,” Britney Spears: 20 years old

It’s frightening that one of Britney’s most timeless songs dropped on October 23, 1998, but that hasn’t stopped people from watching the iconic “…Baby One More Time” music video more than 365 million times since it was uploaded to YouTube in 2009.

“One Less Lonely Girl,” Justin Bieber: 9 years old

Justin turned 24 years old this year on March 4, meaning he was just 15 when he released “One Less Lonely Girl” on October 6, 2009.

“Rehab,” Amy Winehouse: 12 years old

Though “Rehab” wasn’t an official U.S. single till 2007, Amy first graced the world with the track on October 23, 2006, later becoming her only song to reach the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Locked Out of Heaven,” Bruno Mars: 6 years old

Bruno had tons of hits to choose from, but there was no keeping the 6x platinum “Locked Out of Heaven” from his Super Bowl halftime show performance in 2014 less than two years after releasing the track on October 1, 2012.

“Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga: 9 years old

Rah rah ah-ah-ah! Nine years before Gaga was starring in the third remake of A Star Is Born, she was putting out bop after bop in 2009, including “Bad Romance” on October 26.

“My Love,” Justin Timberlake: 12 years old

Justin’s been shaping and breaking hearts for decades, earning him five number one hits, including the track with an October 24 birthday, “My Love.”

“Single Ladies,” Beyoncé: 10 years old

Mention “Single Ladies” and most will think of the music video’s widely-attempted and rarely-mastered choreography. It’s that viral status that makes the song, with an October 8 birthday, one of Beyoncé’s most timeless.

“Timber,” Pitbull featuring Kesha: 5 years old

No artists were as present at weddings, proms or birthday parties as Pitbull and Kesha were in 2013, so it’s no wonder that with their powers combined, “Timber” spent three weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart after its October 7 release.

“Firework,” Katy Perry: 8 years old

Light up some sparklers and give a toast to Katy’s music video for “Firework” when the song turns eight years old on October 26.

“Low,” Flo Rida featuring T-Pain: 11 years old

Apple-bottom jeans, boots with the fur, baggy sweatpants and Reeboks with the straps — you got all that? If you didn’t know the words to “Low” after it’s October 9 release in 2007, you simply weren’t cool.

“Jesus, Take the Wheel,” Carrie Underwood: 13 years old

Aside from being Carrie’s debut single with an October 3 birthday, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” became a meme of its own, especially in a Vine where Jesus really does grab ahold of the steering wheel.

“Carry On,” Fun.: 6 years old

Fun hasn’t released another album since Some Nights in 2012, on which the October 23 release “Carry On” lives; the band is currently on hiatus as the members, including Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost, work on solo projects.

Watch Post Malone Smash Guitars And Shotgun Beers In ‘Better Now’ Video

If you loved watching Post Malone and Aerosmith smash a guitar onstage at the VMAs, you’ll definitely want to watch the rapper’s new video for “Better Now.”

Released on Friday (October 5), the Adam Degross-directed vid chronicles Post’s touring adventures via a black and white compilation of his finest live moments. When he’s not performing in front of throngs of hyped fans, we see Post shotgunning a Bud Light, riding a scooter, wearing a tiara, and, of course, gleefully smashing an axe. All of this has nothing to do with the breakup-centric lyrics of “Better Now,” but it doesn’t really matter — this is about seeing Post in his element and proving why he’s a bonafide rockstar.

“Better Now” is yet another top 10 hit from Malone’s chart-topping sophomore album, beerbongs & bentleys. It’s been a banner year for the rapper, and he’s not slowing down yet — on October 28, he’s set to throw his inaugural Posty Fest, headlined by himself and Travis Scott. Check out the full lineup below.

Ariana Grande Just Shared A ‘Needy’ New Song Teaser

Ariana Grande released one of the best albums of the year, Sweetener, just 49 days ago, but that hasn’t stopped her from working on new material. The 25-year-old returned to the recording studio recently (she even teased a tracklist on her Instagram Story), and now, she’s giving fans a taste of what she’s cooked up.

Late Thursday night (October 4), Ari tweeted a video from the studio with an unreleased song playing in the background. “Passionate but I don’t give no fucks / I admit that I’m a little messed up,” she sings over minimalist production (this definitely isn’t a Pharrell joint). “I can be needy / Way too damn needy / I can be needy / Tell me how good it feels to be needed.”

No word yet on if and when we’ll get to hear the final versions of the music Grande’s working on. Fans are speculating that she’s already at work on her fifth album and, if so, that she’ll tour in support of both #AG5 and Sweetener. Grande didn’t outright confirm that rumor, but she slyly alluded to the possibility in an Instagram comment this week. She also wrote in a since-deleted tweet, “can’t wait for you guys to start being weird little ag5 detectives,” which sounds like a promising sign.

All in all, fans definitely weren’t expecting a Sweetener followup this quick, but it’s a welcome surprise from Grande, who’s, by her own admission, had a tough year. Her team recently shared a statement about her taking time off after her ex Mac Miller passed away, but as Ari herself explained on Twitter this week, “music is the best medicine.”