Charli XCX And Troye Sivan Go Back To ‘1999’ On Nostalgia-Trip New Song

The first thing you need to know about “1999,” the new collaboration between Charli XCX and Troye Sivan, is that it’s not a Prince cover. The second you need to know is that it’s a positively nostalgic bop.

While the Purple One was concerned with the future, Charli’s caffeinated-as-always vocals are a touch wistful for the past. She sings, “Wishing we could go back in time / Maybe we could do it tonight, tonight, tonight” and pinpoints the final year of the 20th century as the preferred destination.

This all begs the question, what exactly would one do if she found herself dropped back near the end of the first Clinton term? (Charli grew up in Essex, and Troye in Perth, so the Clinton reference point isn’t as fitting, but whatever.) The song’s escapist lyrics mention some specific cultural hallmarks of the time — blasting Slim Shady and Britney Spears — but also simply indulging in what being young has to offer, like “playin’ air guitar on the roof.”

“I know those days are over but a boy can fantasize / About JTT on MTV and when I close my eyes,” Sivan sings on the bridge, shouting out ’90s teen heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas. The single’s cover art also finds Troye and Charli decked out in shiny Matrix leather like Trinity and Neo, a look that never quite went away or maybe did but is now back, for good?

“1999” marks the second prominent time-machine pop song this year, after Anne-Marie’s early-aughts patchwork “2002.” Both songs shout out “…Baby One More Time” specifically, too, though “2002” expands its scope and uses songs from many other years as reference points. The madcap “1999” is absolutely classic Charli, a celebration of pop that fuses elements of the era she’s shouting out while also somehow sounding like a roadmap to pop’s effervescent future.

I can only hope we’ll soon get a video that’s as incredibly studied in its approach to the late ’90s as that cover art. I mean, look at that font! Not since Beerbongs & Bentleys has an album cover evoked such particular late-’90s shopping-mall music shop feels.

Until we get a proper visual though, you can listen to the whole thing above. And dance.

Halsey’s ‘Without Me’ Is Her Most Personal Song To Date: ‘I Cried The Whole Time’

Halsey is back with her first new song not as Halsey. Technically, “Without Me,” is still released under that moniker, but — as she explained in an interview with Zane Lowe on Thursday (October 4) — it’s the first time she’s written a song using her real name, Ashley Frangipane.

“It’s just me. No wig, no colorful hair, no character, and it’s about my life and about my relationship that the world has watched so closely and so vehemently in the past year and a half,” Halsey explained, emphasizing that “Without Me” is a standalone track that’s not part of some grand Shakespearean concept album á la last year’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.

The relationship in question is Halsey’s romance with G-Eazy, which has been plagued by his rumored cheating and their brief split over the summer. The couple has since gotten back together, but “Without Me” seems to reflect on their torturous time apart. “Tell me how’s it feel sittin’ up there / Feeling so high but too far away to hold me,” she sings. “You know I’m the one who put you up there / Name in the sky / Does it ever get lonely? / Thinking you could live without me.”

For dramatic effect, the song even nods to Justin Timberlake’s spiteful 2002 breakup hit “Cry Me a River” with the lyrics, “You don’t have to say just what you did / I already know / I had to go and find out from them.”

Recording the track, Halsey admitted, was an emotional process. “I cried the whole time I recorded it,” she tweeted. “But now I feel proud. And empowered.”

See Halsey further discuss “Without Me” in the Beats 1 interview below.

Camila Cabello, Ariana Grande, Post Malone Lead The 2018 MTV EMA Nominations

The MTV EMA will never be the same! After a whirlwind year — during which she notched a No. 1 album and won the top two prizes at the VMAs — Camila Cabello leads the pack of nominees at this year’s star-studded awards show.

Cabello snagged six nominations, including Best Song and Best Video for her Young Thug-featuring smash, “Havana,” which she performed at last year’s show. She’s also up for the coveted Best Artist prize alongside Ariana Grande, Post Malone, Drake, and Dua Lipa. Grande and Malone follow Cabello with five nominations each, while Lipa, Drake, and Shawn Mendes boast four nods to their names. Elsewhere among the pack, game-changing artists like Cardi B, Travis Scott, and BTS are also nominated.

The 2018 MTV EMA will celebrate some of the biggest names in music when the show airs live around the globe from Bilbao, Spain, on Sunday, November 4 at 9 p.m. CEST and at 7 p.m. ET. As always, fans decide the winners in each category for the night, so check out the full list of nominees below and get voting now at mtvema.com!

BEST ARTIST

Ariana Grande

Camila Cabello

Drake

Dua Lipa

Post Malone

BEST VIDEO

Ariana Grande — “no tears left to cry”

Camila Cabello — “Havana” ft. Young Thug

Childish Gambino – “This Is America”

Lil Dicky — “Freaky Friday” ft. Chris Brown

The Carters — “APES**T”

BEST SONG

Ariana Grande — “no tears left to cry”

Bebe Rexha — “Meant To Be” ft. Florida Georgia Line

Camila Cabello — “Havana” ft. Young Thug

Drake — “God’s Plan”

Post Malone — “rockstar” ft. 21 Savage

BEST POP

Ariana Grande

Camila Cabello

Dua Lipa

Hailee Steinfeld

Shawn Mendes

BEST NEW

Anne-Marie

Bazzi

Cardi B

Hayley Kiyoko

Jessie Reyez

BEST LOOK

Cardi B

Dua Lipa

Migos

Nicki Minaj

Post Malone

BEST HIP HOP

Drake

Eminem

Migos

Nicki Minaj

Travis Scott

BEST LIVE

Ed Sheeran

Muse

P!nk

Shawn Mendes

The Carters

BEST ROCK

5 Seconds Of Summer

Foo Fighters

Imagine Dragons

Muse

U2

BEST ALTERNATIVE

Fall Out Boy

Panic! At The Disco

The 1975

Thirty Seconds To Mars

twenty one pilots

BEST ELECTRONIC

Calvin Harris

David Guetta

Marshmello

Martin Garrix

The Chainsmokers

BIGGEST FANS

BTS

Camila Cabello

Selena Gomez

Shawn Mendes

Taylor Swift

BEST WORLD STAGE

Clean Bandit — MTV Crashes Plymouth, UK 2017

Charli XCX — MTV Crashes Plymouth, UK 2017

David Guetta — Trafalgar Square, UK 2017

Jason Derulo — Isle of MTV Malta 2018

Post Malone — Wireless Festival, UK 2018

Migos — Wireless Festival, UK 2018

J Cole — Wireless Festival, UK 2018

Nick Jonas — MTV Spotlight @ Hyperplay, Singapore 2018

Alessia Cara — MTV Spotlight @ Hyperplay, Singapore 2018

BEST PUSH

PRETTYMUCH (October 2017)

Why Don’t We (November 2017 )

Grace VanderWaal (December 2017)

Bishop Briggs (January 2018)

Superorganism (February 2018)

Jessie Reyez (March 2018)

Hayley Kiyoko (April 2018)

Lil Xan (May 2018)

Sigrid (June 2018)

Chloe x Halle (July 2018)

Bazzi (August 2018)

Jorja Smith (September 2018)

BEST U.S. ACT (BEST LOCAL ACT)

Ariana Grande

Camila Cabello

Cardi B

Imagine Dragons

Post Malone

Pop Quiz: What’s The Best Intro Song On An Album?

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 introductory/ opening track on an album?

Ariana Grande’s fourth album Sweetener just dropped, but I’d already call her intro track “Raindrops (An Angel Cried)” one of the most beautiful tracks… ever. A brief cover of “An Angel Cried” by The Four Seasons, the song is 38 seconds of acapella bliss highlighting Ariana’s soaring vocals. It sets the tone for Sweetener and even has a personal connection — her grandpa’s best friend wrote the song. Plus, with Ariana’s musical theatre roots, it’s fun to consider the fact that this song is featured in the Broadway musical Jersey Boys might also play a factor in her song choice. – Kristen Maldonado

“Gloria: In Excelsis Deo” from Patti Smith’s iconic album Horses is my favorite album opener. The track reimagines an existing song, “Gloria” by Them, and incorporates poems and previous works of Smith’s. Within the song, Patti plays with gender, religion and sexuality, setting up the punk tone of the rest of the album. The song has an arc, starting very slowly with just Patti’s voice and a piano, sounding a lot like a hymn (the title comes from a Catholic hymn). It gains speed, instruments and energy as it plays, and it’s an excellent preview for what’s to come. – Leah Williams

“Supermodel” is the hook to SZA‘s excellent debut CTRLboth as its stunningly bold opening track and the album’s thematic focal point. Over three airy minutes, she delivers dangerously careless kiss-offs (“I’ve been secretly banging your homeboy,”) demands explanation for being dumped (“Why am I so easy to forget like that?”) and dreads the oncoming isolation that greets singledom (“Wish I was comfortable just by myself / but I need you”). Those tension points of insecurity, loneliness and how those feelings can often lead to bad behavior weave through the entire album, but are honed brilliantly from the very beginning. – Terron Moore

I’ll start off by saying that “Self”, the first track on Noname’s album Room 25 has one of the best lines I’ve ever heard: “My p*ssy teachin’ ninth grade English / My p*ssy wrote a thesis on colonialism.” The song introduces her new maturity to her audience following her mixtape, Telefone. On “Self”, Noname raps about how people don’t believe she can rap and that she made this album for herself, not for anybody else. It does a good job of introducing the album as her coming-of-age story, talking about politics, musical success, sexual exploration and personal growth. – Landyn Pan

In less than 90 seconds, Tori Kelly prepares you for the next 50 minutes on “Where I Belong,” the opening song on Unbreakable Smile. “I’m just a girl with her guitar / trying to give you my whole heart,” Tori sings to open up her debut studio album, setting the stage for a no-holds-barred, acoustic soundtrack of her experiences with love, loss and fame. It’s clear that after four years of making music, Tori found a sweet spot with her sound and was doing things her own way, not to appease her label or anyone else. – Matt Gehring

“Lucky Star” isn’t just a great album opener; for some, it may have been their first moment hearing Madonna. On her self-titled debut, Madge delivered a decade-defining hit from the jump, kick-starting a career that produced countless more. The qualities that made her an icon are immediately recognizable in “Lucky Star”—her appeals to the dancefloor; the breezy, teasing vocals; her willingness to conflate the sacred with the sacrilegious. This didn’t just set the template for one of the best albums of the ‘80s (which it is); it signaled the emergence of arguably the most influential pop star in history. – Gus Turner

Lauv’s ‘I Like Me Better’ Began As An Accidental iPhone Voice Memo

Believe it or not, Lauv once had to “beg” his friends to come to his shows. That was years ago; back when he’d play tiny rooms for tinier crowds that didn’t know his name, and maybe didn’t care. Joke’s on them — the 24-year-old singer-songwriter, who is MTV’s Push: Artist to Watch for the month of October, has been enjoying a banner breakout year on the back of his platinum hit, “I Like Me Better.” The nostalgic, moody electro-pop bop is a streaming smash (over a billion streams and counting) and, to hear Lauv tell it, its genesis was practically destiny.

“I came in that day and… I had no concept, no lyrics, no idea I was going to write that song,” he told MTV News. “I had just gotten some new synth sounds, and then I threw in this drum loop, and then I got the whole melody.”

The melody he’s talking about is one you’re probably already familiar with: it’s the one that, when tweaked to the high heavens, sounds sort of like a humming dolphin and immediately gets etched into your brain. Lauv sang it into his phone with the intent of eventually scrapping it, but it was just too good to resist.

“I didn’t want to forget it, so I just voice memo’d it in my iPhone,” Lauv continued. “I thought I was going to replace it with a different sound later but I ended up just sending that to my computer and chopping up that voice memo with all the noise and everything and just using that. It was probably the fastest song I’ve written. It kind of feels like it wrote itself, honestly.”

“I Like Me Better” is like a crush in musical form, and that sweetness, that emotion, translates beautifully to the stage. While performing in New York to celebrate his new Push: Artist to Watch tenure, he sang the hook (“I like me better when I’m with you”) with a sincere smile on his face, before dropping some playful spins and dance moves as the crowd cheered in approval. It was far from an empty room this time — no begging was involved in the making of this performance! — and it signals even more sweet success as Lauv continues making hits and defining his sound.

“I think the best artists, at least the artists I look up to the most, kind of redefine themselves throughout time and aren’t afraid to do that,” he said. “So I’m just trying to be as open to the future as possible.”

Check out Lauv’s full, exclusive performance of “I Like Me Better” below, and see more from his Push series here.

Get Ready For Taylor Swift’s First Awards Show Performance Of The Reputation Era

Later this week, Taylor Swift will pack up her flame launchers and giant inflatable snakes as she wraps up the North American leg of her massive Reputation tour. But before jetting off to Australia for the next installment, she’ll make a pit stop at the American Music Awards on October 9 to do something very, very bad.

The pop star announced Tuesday morning (October 2) that she’s opening the AMAs next week with a performance of the Reputation banger “I Did Something Bad.” She and her kitty/bestie Meredith broke the news in a cute video, with Swift quipping, “Don’t be too excited about it, my god,” as Meredith slunk away mid-announcement (Mer wanted “Getaway Car” as the next single, I guess).

Though “I Did Something Bad” was never a single, it’s an easy fan-favorite thanks to its warped vocals and venomous lyrics like, “If a man talks shit them I owe him nothing / I don’t regret it one bit ’cause he had it coming” and “They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one / So light me up.”

Even more exciting, this is Swift’s first awards show performance in almost three years, and her first of the infamously media-shy Reputation era. The last time she graced an awards show stage, believe it or not, was back in February 2016, when she opened the Grammys with “Out of the Woods.”

Besides performing at the AMAs, Swift is nominated in four categories, including Artist of the Year, alongside Ed Sheeran, Drake, Imagine Dragons, and Post Malone. The show airs on Tuesday, October 9 on ABC.

Kim Kardashian Reveals Kanye’s New Yandhi Release Date: ‘It Is Worth The Wait’

Among the many wild headlines that Kanye West managed to generate over the weekend — ones about MAGA hats and boxy costumes, for example — there were none about the release of his ninth studio album, Yandhi. That’s because, as you probably noticed, the project never materialized, despite Ye announcing last week that it would drop the night of his appearance on Saturday Night Live.

Ever the efficient wife/spokesperson, Kim Kardashian West set the record straight on Monday afternoon (October 1) by revealing the album’s new release date: November 23, a.k.a. Black Friday. “TRUST ME it is worth the wait,” she tweeted, followed by a string of fervent emojis.

Kanye later confirmed the date in an interview with TMZ on Monday, during which he also revealed his plan to finish recording the album in Africa. Describing Yandhi, Kanye said, “I started incorporating sounds that you never heard before and pushing and having concepts that people don’t talk about. … It’s just a full Ye album and those five albums I dropped earlier were like superhero rehabilitation and now the alien Ye is fully back in mode.”

The Chicago MC first teased Yandhi last month with a Yeezus-esque piece of artwork. On September 27, he tweeted, “We’re releasing Yandhi Saturday night,” adding, “We know it will come in number 2 to my brother Lil Wayne and that’s lovely. … The universe needs Ye and Wayne music at the same time.”

This will be Kanye’s third album this year, following the solo Ye and his collaboration with Kid Cudi, Kids See Ghosts. Besides those projects, he also produced records for Nas, Pusha T, and Teyana Taylor. It’s clearly been a productive year for Kanye, but given his pro-Trump agenda and mounting backlash, maybe it’s good that Yandhi is being pushed to a time when we can all listen while simultaneously stress-eating leftover turkey and pie.

Will NCT 127 Be The Next K-pop Group To Break Big In The U.S.?

Thanks to K-pop’s growing visibility in the U.S., NCT 127‘s upcoming October comeback is looking bigger — and bolder — than ever.

The Seoul-based unit is officially Apple Music’s newest “Up Next” artist, joining the likes of Grammy-nominated R&B crooner Khalid, cool teen Billie Eilish, and pop hitmaker Bazzi (who co-wrote NCT Dream’s latest single, “We Go Up”). This is especially cool considering that NCT 127 is the program’s first K-pop partnership.

The announcement even gives fans a taste of what to expect from their next single, “Regular,” which sounds like another bass-heavy bop à la “Limitless.”

So in addition to the group’s first full-length album release on October 12, their first late-night appearance in the U.S. on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on October 8, and the formal introduction of their tenth member, Jungwoo, NCTzens have even more to look forward to this comeback season. On October 9, Apple Music will release a short film documenting the band and their global sound, before dropping an exclusive choreography video on release day.

The month-long rollout kicked off today (October 1) with a special Beats 1 interview with the group. The members break down their sound, talk about the Western artists who inspire — from Frank Ocean to The Internet to DJ Khaled — and give fans a preview of the lead single off their anticipated album, Regular-Irregular.

Rapper Mark describes “Regular” as a very “confident song” that shows off the group’s “masculine side” and global growth.

NCT 127 will release two versions of the Latin-infused song; the English single and music video will drop the day after their Kimmel performance on October 9, and the Korean version and visual will be released October 12. It’s an ambitious strategy aimed directly at the Western market, but if BTS’ unprecedented success has proven anything, it’s that the cultural barriers that once prevented Korean artists from making it big in the U.S. are being smashed one milestone at a time.

And NCT 127 are now at least a little closer to their dream of becoming the biggest hit on the stage.