Ed Sheeran, Chance The Rapper, And PnB Rock Are Defenders Of Love On ‘Cross Me’

Ed Sheeran‘s new collection of joint songs, No. 6 Collaborationswill be out on July 12. One of the most highly anticipated tunes that will appear on the LP is his collaboration with Chance The Rapper and PnB Rock, “Cross Me,” that was teased earlier this week. It’s out now and it’s an angry defense track for a lover, a warning that they aren’t to be toyed with. But beneath the tough talk and gritted teeth, it’s an adorable track about being whipped. Ah, young love.

“Cross Me” is gummy with a jelly center. Ed Sheeran and company sing with eyes made of horned hearts across a candied bassline about coming to the defense of their partners if they have to. PnB Rock kicks things off quickly with a breathless threat that the song is built around: “Just know if you cross her then you cross me.” Sheeran and Chance The Rapper then come busting through the door with swords and nunchucks drawn, ready to vocalize about why it’s the wrong idea to even think of trying them. Sheeran handles half of the refrain with PnB Rock while Chance raps about his wife being a force to be reckoned with: “Pew, kung pow, hit your ass with a cross kick,” he raps. She’s been taking CrossFit.

“Cross Me” follows the release of the Justin Bieber-assisted “I Don’t Care” that came out earlier this month. The anthem about social anxiety and love received a crazy video treatment with adorably cringe green screen that makes it a chuckle-worthy watch. It’s the only video that you’ll find where a waffle cone has Justin Bieber’s head and a horse’s legs.

Listen to “Cross Me” up above.

Young Thug, J. Cole, And Travis Scott Deliver A ‘Summer Anthem’ With ‘The London’

Surprise! Young Thug, J. Cole, and Travis Scott have kicked off New Music Friday a few hours early with the release of “The London.”

The triple-threat collaboration was actually teased at Miami’s Rolling Loud festival earlier this month, where attendees spotted flyers promising a “summer anthem” on the way. “The London,” named after the luxury hotel chain, delivers on that promise with a scorching opening verse from Cole. Thugger, meanwhile, comes through with his signature squeaky bars, and La Flame handles the Auto-Tuned hook, singing, “Meet me at The London / If you find time we can run one / Talk about some things we can undo / You just send the pin, I could find you.” T-Minus, who produced Cole’s “Middle Child,” also put his touch on the track.

“The London” comes after Young Thug’s nearly 12-hour YouTube live stream this week called “Meet Me at the London,” where he revealed the track’s artwork. The single is rumored to be the first taste of Thug’s upcoming album GØŁDMØÜFDÖG, which Cole is reportedly executive producing, after the two hit the road together on last year’s KOD Tour. Some type of countdown, presumably for the project’s release, can be found here.

LANY And Julia Michaels Rollerblade Their Heartbreak Away In ‘Okay’ Video

Exactly one month after LANY and Julia Michaels dropped “okay” — their self-described “breezy bop” of a collaboration — they’ve returned with a visual tailor-made for summer nights.

The action begins on a beach in Venice, California, where LANY frontman Paul Klein and bandmates Les Priest and Jake Goss rollerblade down the palm tree-lined sidewalk. Michaels, meanwhile, strolls down the pier at sunset, her vocals intertwined with Klein’s as they lament a crumbling relationship. In a particularly nifty shot, the moon fades into a disco ball, and the vid switches scenes to a moodily lit roller rink. There, a crew of skaters show off some fancy footwork while Klein and Michaels sing back to back, repeatedly asking, “I’m gonna be okay / Right?”

Speaking about the new video with MTV News last month, Klein said he took inspiration from one of his favorite kids movies. “You remember that movie Mighty Ducks 2? There’s this beautiful scene where Coach Bombay, Emilio Estevez, is having this reflective moment, skating on this tennis court in Malibu during the sunset. We’re going to try to capture that vibe,” he explained.

“I just love dropping songs in the summer, and I think this is a really nice, summer, breezy bop,” he continued. “So I kind of wanted to throw it back to that summer childhood nostalgia, which to me is rollerblading.”

The “okay” video comes as LANY continues their North American tour. Michaels, meanwhile, wrapped her supporting stint on P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma World Tour last night, and kicks off her headlining Inner Monologue Tour this fall. With such busy summers ahead, here’s hoping both artists manage to squeeze in some blading time between shows — they make it look too fun.

Fire Is Motion Are So Much More Than A Band With ‘Too Many’ Guitarists

A man near the bar has shouted, “Let me buy you a drink!” at the band onstage. If you’ve been to shows at smaller venues, you’ve heard that rowdy but passionate tone before. The singer, 28-year-old bearded and ball-capped Adrian Amador, smiles and replies that he’s driving later, but maybe one of the other three guitarists in his band, Fire Is Motion, could indulge the offer.

Hours later, as Amador hauls an amp down the street after the show, a friend calls back to the moment and they share a laugh. Then the friend, who Amador will eventually offer a ride back to New Jersey in the band’s crowded van, illuminates something Amador hadn’t realized at the time: “That was a T-Pain reference.”

Fire Is Motion do not make music that would be mistaken for T-Pain‘s. That night, at a late-April gig at Elsewhere’s Zone One in Brooklyn, they played with four guitarists, but some nights they have five. The band’s Twitter bio reads simply “band with too many guitarists.” It’s a running joke Amador has immortalized online; one might even call it Fire Is Motion’s #brand. It’s also the only feasible method to adequately replicate live what their lean recorded catalog reveals: yearning, twinkly songs that fit snugly within contemporary emo revivalism. These are lush, densely atmospheric songs that chase the cosmos.

One of them just happens to feature Amador singing with Auto-Tune.

Amador conceived that song, “Day 2,” during a weeklong writing exercise in 2014. But while the sparse, percussion-less original version remains purposely blurry, like an old smudged Polaroid, the live “Day 2” is photoshopped to perfection. Fire Is Motion play the new version, complete with an added funky groove and those glitchy, glimmering vocals, at nearly every show. This makes sense, as it’s a banger. “Day 2” also has the distinction of being the exact point in their set when they begin upending expectations of what a five-guitar band might actually sound like.

“We were starting to play some shows, but our sets were always pretty short at the time, probably like 15 minutes. At band practice one day I was kind of just like, it would be cool if we played one of these songs that’s just totally different,” Amador explained before the show. “Our friend was filling in at a couple shows, playing drums, and he had a pedal that kind of did the Auto-Tune thing. We were just like, oh, that’s really funny. Ever since then, we were just like, we’re always going to do this now.”

The band’s origin story hews a lot closer to the svelte “Day 2” demo than its dynamic stage version. In 2011, angling to get a song on a music blog, Amador took an acoustic guitar and a MacBook up to the attic of his parents’ house and recorded the first-ever Fire Is Motion song, “Smile, It Makes This Easier.” It was also the first song Amador, then in his early 20s, ever wrote by himself. “The goal was for me first to just write and record a song where I sang on it, and then the other goal was to just send it to them and see what would happen,” he said.

It worked. He chose a lyric from a Cap’n Jazz song and created Fire Is Motion’s Bandcamp page. He even got fan mail asking about his recording set-up, which made him laugh. “He’s like, ‘It sounds like you’re playing guitar in a room.’ I was like, I literally played guitar in a room, so this is perfect.” And then? “I just stopped doing anything with it until like 2013.”

But Amador kept playing, mostly in local bands in Union and nearby Elizabeth, including with his longtime friend Avery Salermo. She’d been writing music since age 13 as an outlet for her turbulent upbringing, something she calls “a rough situation.” “[Family members] were just very much trying to influence me to be like this one thing or whatever, and I’m just like, I don’t really want to be a church-going, feminine person. This is annoying. I hate this,” she said. Instead, she channeled her discontent into the spunky indie rock of her band Strawberry Jam, which Amador heard about through a friend.

“I checked it out. I was just like, ‘Who is this person?’ It was so awesome,” he said. Salermo, who perhaps hadn’t ever heard him lay it out like this before, smiled. “Oh, that’s sick,” she said.

Emily Dubin

Though they’ve known each other for a decade, Salermo, 26, didn’t officially join Fire Is Motion until 2015. It takes a few tries to lock in the exact year; Amador likens his explanation of the band’s history to a Quentin Tarantino narrative — nonlinear and sprawling. At certain points, he pauses to recall which iteration of the band he’s referring to (their Facebook page lists 12 additional members who’ve contributed through the years, as well as “you”).

When Amador finally revisited Fire Is Motion and sought to expand it, he needed a second creative brain. He found it in Salermo. The two became Fire Is Motion’s twin pillars, with Adamo as the central creative force and Salermo as his essential editor. Both sing and play guitar. Salermo occasionally takes lead vocals both by design (“Maybe I can be courageously afraid,” she offers solo on set opener “Yesterday’s Coffee“), and out of necessity, like when Amador suffered an unexpected acid reflux flare-up before a show. “Working together for as long as we have, I have no shame just being extremely straightforward with him,” she said. “I really just don’t sugar-coat it.”

You can hear it on Fire Is Motion’s excellent but too brief 2017 EP, Still, I Try, the culmination of years of hard work. Translating that live, though, requires some tact. This is where the many guitarists come in. “As I started finishing or trying to finish the songs, I kind of little by little assembled more people,” Amador explained. “I played a show by myself and I was like, ‘This sucks. I wish Avery was in the band.’ And then I played a show where I was the only guitarist, which is weird, and then one bass player and a drummer. I was like, ‘This is still not as cool.'”

Eventually he found another guitar player, then another — and the cycle continued despite logistical hiccups. Amador recalled a sound engineer at a small New York venue recoiling at their stage setup: “He’s just like, ‘I don’t even have enough mics to do that!'” Despite what the mere sight of 24 strings may evoke, Fire Is Motion venture far from Shred City, U.S.A. acts like Diarrhea Planet, aiming for the grandeur of Amador’s heroes in Broken Social Scene. (“He has to say it at least twice in every interview,” Salermo quipped.) Amador obsesses over textures and moods, and he feels best about songs that work both acoustically (like the band’s recent NPR Tiny Desk Contest submission) and bombastically (the same song cranked to 11).

It’s been 18 months since Still, I Try‘s release; considering the years it took to distill its five songs into their finished forms, new Fire Is Motion material may still be quite a while away. But in the meantime, they keep gigging, sharing the stage with bigger bands like Wild Pink and Ratboys, and learning what they can.

“We just don’t stop getting excited about stuff, whether it’s a small thing or a big thing. The friends that we made along the way — it’s kind of just always how the band functions. We’re going to be friends with whoever, really,” he said. Not missing a chance to bring back the bit, he continued: “If you want to play guitar in our band, we’re down.”

Salermo offered a quick clarification: “They’re welcome to audition.”

5 Seconds Of Summer Battle Cave Water And Burning Portraits In ‘Easier’ Video

5 Seconds Of Summer are figuratively drowning. In their new video for “Easier,” their first taste of new music for what will hopefully be their fourth studio album, the quartet travels to a mysterious cavern where the lights are low, the flame is hot, and the water is rising. I hope that you like being anxious. “Easier” is dark and bleak fare that describes the helplessness one feels in ending a relationship. 5SOS is slowly sinking into the waters of despair.

“Easier” is a song about decisions. But these choices aren’t going to be around forever, they’re tapping their feet while 5SOS figures out what to do. In a toxic relationship, should you stay or leave? Work things out or call it quits and accept the loss? The quartet’s nostalgia-twinged pop-rock single kindles flames with its questions and pleading. It hurts to hear, but it’s beautiful to find euphoria in their sadness.

The song’s lack of light sucks out the brightness of any room that 5SOS enters, so for “Easier”‘s video, they bring candles to a cavern so small that in order to breathe, they have to take turns. There’s a lot of water here that threatens to swallow their heads whole, but they make it look sexy. I’m talking about low light close-ups of wide-eyes and the band’s members slowly rising out of cave lakes like the cast of an evil version of Baywatch. 5SOS revealed to Rolling Stone that “Easier” was inspired by (and shares the “driving drum groove of”) Nine Inch Nail‘s “Closer” and some similarities can also be found in some of the shots in both videos.

5SOS is heading out with The Chainsmokers for the World War Joy tour in September. Both groups collaborated on “Who Do You Love” and released a scorching (literally) video featuring fire-soaked drums from a fierce band face-off.

Watch the claustrophobic video for “Easier” up above.

Ed Sheeran Has A New Album Of Superstar Collaborations On The Way

2011 feels like centuries ago in 2019 when you’re talking about the music industry. Ed Sheeran released No. 5 Collaborations Project then independently, featuring English grime artists, and hit NO. 2 on the iTunes chart without any promotion. Since then, he’s gone on to become a British pop star of epic proportions. In a surprise announcement today, Sheeran announced a new album that’s a fitting spiritual successor to his pre-label chapter: No. 6 Collaborations. It’s poetic, in a sense. It’ll be out on July 12.

Collabs are the name of the game with Sheeran’s forthcoming body of work. First and foremost, “I Don’t Care,” his zany link-up with Justin Bieber will appear on the album. Another track, “Cross Me” with Chance The Rapper and PnB Rock, will also appear, and should be released tonight (MAy 23). He released a heavily redacted playlist that shows that the list of features will be lengthy. But that’s the point and it’ll be interesting to see who else will join the singer.

Sheeran’s last studio album was 2017’s ÷. There’s no word if Drake will be involved, but in an interview with Entertainment Weekly last year, Sheeran did, however, say that he wanted to collaborate with him. “I feel like, at some point, me and Drake need to do something,” Sheeran said.”I feel like it’s inevitable…I’ve only met him a couple of times. I don’t even know if it’s in the cards. I’d like to think he has the same mindset as me.”

Martin Garrix, Macklemore, And Patrick Stump’s ‘Summer Days’ Video Is A Sweaty Daydream

Last month, Dutch wunderkind DJ Martin Garrix dropped his latest funk-EDM crossover, “Summer Days,” just in time to be played loudly via car speakers all throughout the season it suggests. With help from a crisp popping bass line, a pair of seasonally appropriate verses from Macklemore, and an irresistible falsetto hook from Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, “Summer Days” deserves the sunshine.

Luckily, its radiant new video — which you can catch today (May 22) on mtvU and MTV Live — emits all the lightheartedness the tune demands. It’s centered around an older woman who, as the saying goes, is living her best life: basking in the rays, enjoying a bubble bath, and looking like a supermodel in a flowing sun dress. In fact, she’s so attractive that wherever she goes, she makes the people around her sweat uncontrollably; we’re talking buckets of perspiration here. Garrix stops cold when he confronts her at a crosswalk, Mack feels the heat while he paints her in a nude art class, and Stump is, well, stumped as his cab swelters in her very presence. Hell, even the dog she encounters can’t help but stop and stare (and, yes, sweat).

Truly, the video’s sundress-wearing star is a Summer ’19 role model — confidence and happiness, it seems, are the only things you need to make yourself a thirst-triggering, sweat-generating force this season.

The party doesn’t end when the clip’s over, either. In just a few weeks, the trio will perform “Summer Days” live for the first time ever at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards. The show airs on Monday, June 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Before then, make sure you vote for all your faves at vote.mtv.com and by direct messaging @MTVAwards on Twitter and Facebook Messenger.

Halsey Performed ‘Nightmare’ For The First Time And It Was ‘Absolutely Chaos’

Earlier this year, Halsey described her impending third album as “a loud one,” and she really wasn’t kidding. “Nightmare,” the first taste of her new era, crash-landed last week with the force of a woman scorned. It’s a sharp, furious, and empowering anthem about what it’s like to be a woman in the year 2019, and after illustrating that concept in its accompanying music video, Halsey has continued bringing the single to life with a pair of explosive performances.

This week, Halsey performed “Nightmare” for the first time onstage at the Minneapolis Armory in Minnesota, where she hosted a free pop-up gig. Prior to the show, Halsey asked her fans not to use their phones, explaining, “The whole point of this was to create a once in a lifetime moment for us. I only get 1 chance to sing Nightmare for the 1st time.” They obliged, to stunning results — it’s special to see a crowd this present and this energetic, screaming lyrics to a song they hadn’t lived with for more than a few days. As Halsey paced the four-sided, flame-filled stage, they were right there with her, for a moment that she accurately later described as “chaos.”

The following day, Halsey brought “Nightmare” to the star-studded finale of The Voice, where Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers, and BTS also hit the stage. She kicked it off by descending from the rafters in a harness, before joining a mob of dancers for some choreographed moshing and synchronized head-banging. (The performance isn’t viewable on YouTube yet, but it’s available on NBC’s website — see it in the full episode around the 52:45 mark.)

Speaking about the urgent new single before its premiere, Halsey tweeted, “Imagine getting onstage every night and seeing young women sweating mascara tears, lightning in their eyes, throwing elbows and raising fists, screaming till the veins in their necks raise under warm skin, and not being inspired by it. This song is about you, for you.” Judging by her first two performances of “Nightmare,” it’s clear that she’s taking that motive to heart by inspiring fans to rage right alongside her.

Madonna And Swae Lee Dance Like Their Lives Depend On It In ‘Crave’ Video

Madonna loves danger, she craves it. She says so in the intro for her new video for “Crave,” her sultry collaboration with Swae Lee. The simplistic video finds the pair prancing around what looks like an abandoned building as bright neon lights flash around. Also, if you ever wanted to know if Madonna can outdance you, this video offers proof that, undoubtedly, yes she can.

“Crave” is shot in color and black-and-white. Madonna’s viewpoint of her dancing conquest of this building has color while Swae Lee, moving slowly as if in a trance, sees the world without it. The contrast is beautiful. Madonna’s exaggerated movements burst with life, as does her perspective, bursting with bright neon strobe lights. Swae Lee appears as if he’s a heartthrob in a fragrance commercial, smiling and giving each closeup the most of his tattoos that he possibly can. Madonna also shows throughout the course of the video that she can dance at a higher frequency than most. She moves like a chicken without a head, sending her body into energetic spasms between words in the slow song. It’s astounding. Peculiar and marvelous.

“Crave” appears on Madonna’s forthcoming album Madame X that drops on June 14. The spy-themed LP will also feature the Quavo-assisted “Future,” empowerment anthem “I Rise,” and her Maluma-assisted tune “Medellín.”

Watch Madonna and Swae Lee take over a building in “Crave” up above.

Taylor Swift And Brendon Urie Brought A Giant Butterfly To The Voice Finale

The Voice wrapped up its 16th season last night (May 21) with 26-year-old singer Maelyn Jarmon being crowned winner. During the finale, Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie gave a magically majestic performance of “ME!” that bought a pastel presence to the masked show. It felt like seeing Easter during the summer, except it was much livelier.

Swift kicked things off by appearing on the stage with gigantic butterfly wings. She was a majestic, performing fairy. When the pink and purple lights turned on, her wide array of backup dancers began on a magical routine that she joined in on. Urie, instead of floating onto the stage on an umbrella during the pair’s first televised performance of the song at the Billboard Music Awards, walked confidently on the stage and immediately hopped into his own shaky-legged routine. The pair, once again, created a spell-binding performance that carries the kind of feel-good energy to make anyone’s day or night instantly better.

“ME!” is the first single from her forthcoming seventh studio album. She’s notoriously secretive with her album rollouts and revealed that she tried to go “all out” with the visual effects, easter eggs, and symbolism in the song’s video. Earlier this month, she revealed that her 2017 album Reputation was largely inspired by Game of Thrones. It’ll be interesting to see what this new album will be influenced by.

Take a look at the magical performance of “ME!” up above.