Red Velvet Aren’t Worried About Breaking Records — They Just Want To Have Fun

Less than two full months into 2019, and the pure deluge of Korean acts who have announced their plans to tour in the U.S. this year is equal parts exciting and overwhelming. On one hand, it’s unprecedented and proves just how much global interest there is in K-pop, which up until now has been considered a very niche medium. But the stats don’t lie: K-pop garnered over 5.3 billion tweets last year, and its passionate fans continue to rally for their faves (or, biases) on social media — trending hashtags, dominating the Billboard Social 50 chart, and showing their support on apps like Korea’s V Live.

So, logically speaking, of course now is the perfect time for these artists to come to the U.S. and build off this enthusiasm for a more diverse musical landscape.

Enter Red Velvet, a dynamic quintet who have been serving up their distinct flavors with powerhouse vocals, tight vocal harmonies, and boundless personality since their debut in 2014. Members Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, Joy, and Yeri (who officially joined the group in 2015) kicked off the North American leg of their Redmare world tour earlier this month, and with stops across the U.S. and Canada — including an emotional night in Toronto, vocalist Wendy’s hometown — Red Velvet have accomplished something no other K-pop girl group has since 2016. Not to mention, a U.S. tour is a major flex for any foreign act.

Courtesy of SM Entertainment

Red Velvet perform at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on February 17, 2019

But for Red Velvet, bringing Redmare halfway across the world wasn’t about setting records or making history; it was about their fans (affectionately called ReVeluvs).

“I love that we’re able to be a little closer to our fans in a more intimate setting,” Joy told MTV News, via an interpreter, ahead of their Newark concert last week. It’s that closeness that makes the experience of performing for crowds in the U.S. a bit different for Red Velvet. Much of the Redmare set is dedicated to their cheerier, quirkier pop songs, like “Russian Roulette,” “Happiness,” and the anthemic “Power Up!” — which, according to Seulgi, is the most fun to perform live for Western audiences.

“The fans really get into it, and they’re dancing along with us,” she said. “Some people are so energetic and so passionate about it that they’re wearing banana costumes. That makes us laugh.”

For context, people wearing banana costumes and singing along to the group’s incredibly catchy hook of “ba-banana ba-ba-banana-nana” is the general vibe of a Red Velvet concert. The group’s vivid pop aesthetic is vibrantly on display, both in their colorful performance and in the VCRs (or short vignettes) that break up the set — there is, in fact, a narrative to Redmare and it involves a robot named Rêve who kidnaps the girls and takes them to a wacky amusement park where they get hunted by animal poachers, concoct a potion that transforms half the group into giants and shrinks the others, and tour a creepy haunted house in designer threads.

But that unexpectedness is built into the group’s DNA; Red signals their pop side — bursts of color, sounds, and buoyant concepts — while Velvet shows off R&B flavor — these songs are moodier and more sensual, like last year’s knockout, “Bad Boy.” And while Redmare leans heavily on the group’s Red material, the show’s final act goes full Velvet with “Bad Boy,” “Peek-A-Boo,” and “Really Bad Boy” — a trio of songs with lush melodies and slick girl-crush vibes.

When asked if there are any major differences between the crowds in the U.S. and in their native Korea, they remarked that their fans bring a lot of energy, regardless of where they’re from — but that it’s dispersed in different ways. “In America, they’re really energetic, they’re hyped up,” Joy said. “In Korea, they sing along with us. They’re fan-chanting, and things like that.”

“I think it’s because they understand Korean, like back at home they know what we’re saying,” Wendy added. “But here [in the U.S.], fans just feel the music with their whole body. It’s intense.”

Courtesy of SM Entertainment

Red Velvet fans attend the U.S. leg of the Redmare world tour

While language barriers can hardly stop the most dedicated fans from participating in the fan chants (a staple of K-pop), Red Velvet did add the English-language versions of “Bad Boy” and “Really Bad Boy” — their first time performing the latter live — to their Redmare set especially for their North American fans. “I hope our fans see our energy on stage,” said Wendy. “And our hard work,” adding that their goal is to make their fans happy.

Of course, in between stops in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Newark, the group has made sure to make themselves happy, too. Seulgi has been sightseeing and eating delicious food; Joy has been checking in on her puppy, Haenim (“It means sunshine,” she said), back in Korea; and Yeri has been writing a lot of songs and listening to a lot of Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next. Her favorites so far? “7 Rings,” “NASA,” and “Ghostin’.” In fact, Yeri’s Ari obsession has even inspired Joy to reminisce on their pre-debut days — something she’s been doing a lot of in light of their tour.

“I’ve been reminiscing on my trainee days when we used to practice and train for this group,” Joy said. “And the album that really gave me a lot of strength, that I listened to a lot was Ariana Grande’s Yours Truly. So even now I play it and think back on those memories.”

Joy isn’t the only one reflecting on Red Velvet’s journey — and their future. In 2019, leader Irene says that she “wants do more things that I enjoy and find pleasure in.” That emphasis on self-care and self-improvement is a big one for everyone in the group. Joy wants to show more of herself to the fans; Seulgi wants to be “more diligent and hard-working,” adding, “In 2018, there were things that I wanted to do, but wasn’t able to fulfill those goals. So I want to take more action this year.” Meanwhile, Wendy wants to “be better me in everything, in career and just as myself.”

And then there’s Yeri, the youngest member, who puts all of the group’s diligence into perspective: “I just want to live a fun life and enjoy it.”

Because not every K-pop group wants to take the U.S. by storm and smash records. Sometimes, they just want to bring music to their fans and enjoy the crazy ride. And doesn’t that sound a lot more fun?

Halsey And Yungblud Race Against Time In Their Heart-Pounding ’11 Minutes’ Video

Let’s hope life doesn’t imitate art for Halsey and Yungblud. The pop star and the British rocker have been filling their Instagram feeds with cute couple-y moments lately, but in their new video for “11 Minutes” — an angsty collab with blink-182’s Travis Barker — their love story is a tragic, chaotic mess.

The action plays out over five intense minutes in the Colin Tilley-directed vid, which arrived on Thursday (February 21). It’s broken up into chapters that represent the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There’s a lot of layers here, but Yungblud seems to be racing against the clock as he relives the demise of his and Halsey’s doomed romance (she sings amidst a slow-mo car crash as glass flies around her and her forehead gets bloody — it’s safe to assume she didn’t make it out of that alive).

On the bright side, there are some very cute scenes of the couple in happier times, making music and making out without a care in the world.

In a tweet following the video’s premiere, Yungblud offered his interpretation of it: “To me,” he wrote, “this is the story of modern love in society. We are so distracted n focused on what’s next we fail to see what’s actually in front of us. We don’t realise how much we depend on something til its taken away. I do it a lot. But it’s important to me to focus on the right now.”

Halsey, for her part, called the video a “real tear jerker” while sharing an intimate photo of her and her boo from the set. At least there were no tears behind the scenes!

CupcakKe Drops On The Deck And Flops Like A Fish In ‘Squidward Nose’ Video

The notoriously explicit CupcakKe dropped “Squidward Nose” in January and the phallic-centric tune would carry an NC-17 rating if it were a film. Now, the sex-fueled wordsmith has released an accompanying visual and it’s equal parts SpongeBob Squarepants and sex. Also, Squidward himself gets included in the underwater festivities.

CupcakKe’s immediately over-the-top from the opening moments. She’s wearing glittering shells over her breasts and mermaid legs while her half-laugh/half-smile expression lets you know that you’re in for a wild ride. The video looks to be an homage to Bikini Bottom, where the song’s namesake, Squidward, resides. We follow CupcakKe’s underwater routine as she dodges dildos that serve as bait. The fisherman, who gets his own brief dancing number, is played by comedian John Early. Eventually, she meets the fisherman and they go in for an embrace, but not before we see a crude depiction of Squidward that shows us the size of his nose. Throughout the song, CupcakKe tells us what she wants to do to it.

“Squidward Nose” is CupcakKe’s latest release following her 2018 albums Eden and Ephorize. With this kind of work ethic and commitment to risque subject matters, there’s literally no telling what the rapper could be planning next.

Check out the naughty-cal video above.

Watch A Hungover Lizzo Beautifully Belt Miley’s ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’

No one is crushing this day quite like Lizzo. The “Juice” singer attended the star-studded BRIT Awards for the first time yesterday (February 20), and apparently the after parties were lit, because she showed up to her early-morning BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge appearance “hungover” and in need of “support.”

Gnarly hangover aside, Lizzo powered through her Live Lounge debut with a surprising treat for fans: her unique spin on Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson‘s “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart.” The original is a bass-driven country-disco banger, but in Lizzo’s hands, it was transformed into a vulnerable, devastating, and gospel-tinged power ballad. She and her band slowed the arrangement down a bit and cranked up the emotion, with Lizzo slightly tweaking the lyrics to belt, “Nothing breaks like my heart.”

Discussing her song choice, Lizzo called Cyrus her “fave” and revealed to host Clara Amfo why she’s always felt connected to the Younger Now singer. “I came out with Lizzobangers back in 2013, she came out with Miley Bangerz — we, like, both had that at the same moment,” she said. “I was twerking onstage, she was twerking onstage. I just feel like we’re like, soul sisters, you know?”

Aside from covering her soul sister in the Live Lounge, Lizzo also performed her own single “Juice.” The empowering, retro-funk banger is the lead single off her upcoming album Cuz I Love You, which arrives in April. Hopefully she’ll have cured that hangover by then.

Bebe Rexha Is The Angel And Demon On Her Shoulders In ‘Last Hurrah’ Video

Last week, Bebe Rexha released a new single, “Last Hurrah,” with a lyric video more creative than most artist’s official visuals. It’s nothing too complex – a pair of CGI figures going through the motions in a red, futuristic setting – but it fits the outlandish atmosphere that the song creates. We were left wondering how could the official video, for the song about resetting the clock of temptation and setting it aside in the morning, would stack up? Today, Rexha has shared the visual for “Last Hurrah” that exceeds the lyric video in scale and hilarity. It keeps you visually invested throughout.

Cartoons tell us that there are angels on our left shoulder and devil-like creatures on the right constantly bickering over what should we do. Eat the cookie when we aren’t supposed to or step away? Return the five bucks a person just dropped in front of you or get excited for some Taco Bell on your lunch break? These beings determine if we are good or bad people and they almost never connect. In the video for “Last Hurrah,” Rexha plays both characters. In the daytime she’s an angel in a tantalizing dress, strolling down the street under the sky’s vast blue sea. It’s heavenly. At night, she’s in a skin-tight red dress, inside of a red night club, massaging the tongues of strangers and sinning to her heart’s content.

But things get freakier than that, things aren’t all black and white. There are scenes of seductive nuns (an oxymoron, of course) getting steamy on a bed, and Rexha’s daytime angel wearing a black corset in a sexy pose. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll see an adorable cat peaking its head out of a one-piece bodysuit, blood-red fingernails with fire blowing from their pointed tips, and Rexha herself hanging from a window frame encased in fierce fires. There’s so much more to unpack that it’s best left for you to check out yourself. It’s a dark, sexy visual that makes her nomination for Best New Artist at the 61st Grammy Awards make even more sense than it previously did.

Check out the tenacious, adventurous visual up above

Khalid And Kane Brown Have Permanent Sad Faces In ‘Saturday Nights (Remix)’ Video

Khalid and Kane Brown are two respective young titans of their music genres – R & B and country respectively. Their voices seem like they’d be foreign to the bodies that they come out of with their thick, booming bases normally associated with artists more than three times their ages. Yesterday, the pair released a video for “Saturday Nights (Remix)” and it captures their grand, yet intimate, vocals that power the accompanying soothing scenery.

On a cliff outside of a city, Khalid sings in front of a sashaying fire; the serenity of the scene is set. The song’s smooth group of guitars soundtrack the softness of the atmosphere. Brown eases into the track in sporadic bursts, offering a supporting, grittier voice that teases his solo music’s grassroots appeal. The nighttime sky transitions to the pinks of morning as the pair sing about the secrets they know about a partner. It’s a peaceful scene that transfixes with its slow camera movements and extended time devoted to the singers’ facial expressions. Spoiler alert: they’re glum. Very glum.

The original version of “Saturday Nights” appears on Khalid’s 2018 EP Suncity. In November, Brown tweeted lyrics from the song, clearly feeling it. A week before the January release of the remix, the country singer tweeted a video of him singing the song.

If you’re feeling this, there’s good news. Khalid recently revealed on Twitter that his new album is coming in April. A couple of weeks ago, he released the upcoming LP’s adorable first single, “Talk.”

Check out the smooth video above.

Alessia Cara And Alec Benjamin’s Acoustic ‘Let Me Down Slowly’ Duet Is Beautifully Simple

Alessia Cara, otherwise known as the Queen of the Cover Kingdoms (a Game of Thrones reference to the uninitiated), can acoustic-ize any song that’s put in front of her; Coldplay‘s “Yellow” and Shawn Mendes‘ “Stitches” are two recent examples that immediately come to mind. For her latest treat, she’s joined songwriter Alec Benjamin for an acoustic rendition of “Let Me Down Slowly,” the duet that the pair released in January.

The simple performance strips down the noise in favor of Cara’s softness, Benjamin’s hint of raspiness, and their vocal embrace that results in a marriage of harmonies. Benjamin plays the guitar as he sings, providing the only camouflage for their live voices. Each of their disparate chords strokes the other’s, intertwining Cara’s sky-reaching range with Benjamin’s deeper, broader sonic atmosphere. It ends with a striking of fists and nervous laughs. They can’t believe that it sounded this good live.

Benjamin is beginning to make a lot of noise. He originally released “Let Me Down Slowly” on his 2018 mixtape Narrated for You. Last month, he released the updated version featuring Cara.

As for Empress Caratine of the Cover Empire (a reference to the original Star Wars trilogy for those unaware), her second studio album, The Pains of Growing, came out in November. Since then she’s put her foot into a mesmerizing mash-up of Destiny’s Child classics and took on the role of Cupid in Kyle‘s video for “Babies.” You’ll definitely see her around; she won Best New Artist at the 60th Grammy Awards.

Breathe in the simplicity of the beautiful sounds in the video above.

P!nk’s ‘Walk Me Home’ Is A Plea For Peace In Our Fucked-Up World

No stranger to anthemic pop ballads — “Try” and “What About Us” say hi! — P!nk is back with yet another foot-stomper that’s tailor-made for some of those aerial gymnastics routines she so adores. On Wednesday (February 20), the singer launched a new era with “Walk Me Home,” which she initially previewed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show a couple weeks ago.

“Walk me home in the dead of night / I can’t be alone with all that’s on my mind / So say you’ll stay with me tonight / ‘Cause there is so much wrong going on outside,” she belts over heavy drums and a twangy guitar. The soaring release feels like a fitting follow-up to 2017’s “What About Us,” and in case it also sounds reminiscent of some fun. anthems, there’s good reason — it was co-written by the band’s frontman, Nate Reuss.

Just hours after dropping “Walk Me Home,” P!nk performed the tune for the first time at the 2019 BRIT Awards, where she made history as the first international artist to be honored with the Outstanding Contribution to Music award. Her show-stopping, career-spanning medley included costume changes, dancers, waterfalls, and more, with the pop icon also performing “Just Like Fire,” “Try,” “Just Give Me a Reason,” and “What About Us.”

During her Ellen appearance, P!nk revealed that “Walk Me Home” is the first taste of her upcoming eighth studio album, Hurts 2B Human. She also mentioned that she shot a video for the single with Michael Gracie, the director of The Greatest Showman, so look out for that sure-to-be-spectacular visual feast arriving soon.

Beyoncé And Jay-Z Recreated Their ‘Apeshit’ Video — With A Regal Twist — For The BRITs

Beyoncé and Jay-Z weren’t even at the 2019 BRIT Awards, and they still managed to win the night.

The couple picked up the trophy for Best International Group for their work as The Carters at Wednesday’s awards show, which is basically the British equivalent of the Grammys. Since they couldn’t be in London to accept the prize, the pair sent in a video message that managed to become iconic in just 30 short seconds.

In it, Bey and Jay recreated their classic “APESHIT” video, where they casually hang out in the Louvre, admiring the Mona Lisa. In the new vid, though, they pay homage to Meghan Markle by standing in front of a gorgeous portrait of the duchess wearing a tiara. Beyoncé took the lead in thanking U.K. fans for the award, saying, “Thank you so much to the BRIT Awards for this incredible honor. You guys have always been so supportive. Everything is love. Thank you.”

It’s at that point when Jay deadpans, “thank you,” Beyoncé giggles, and they turn around in unison to face the portrait. You can also hear Blue Ivy’s voice in the background, which is just about the cutest thing ever.

As for the meaning behind that incredible portrait — which I can only assume was custom-made for The Carters and is hanging somewhere in their house — British journalist Laura Snapes pointed out on Twitter that it could represent a public statement of support for Markle. The biracial duchess has been the target of intense media scrutiny lately, and this could be Bey and Jay’s way of celebrating her regality in the face of such turmoil.

Whatever the meaning, this is definitely an acceptance video for the ages. Check it out above.

J. Cole And Ari Lennox Bring The Appreciation For Brown Skin In ‘Shea Butter Baby’ Video

Ari Lennox and J. Cole have come together for a sensual video for “Shea Butter Baby” from the Creed II: The Album that’s all about brown skin. Its steamy nature and fuzzy atmosphere generate a truly mesmerizing experience.

“Shea Butter Baby” is a celebration of browns — brown skin, brown floors, brown decor. Lennox moves wistfully like steam, seeking to enchant her busy partner whose eyes have settled on the glare of his MacBook screen instead of her curves. Heads offer a means of scene transportation, with the camera zooming in to dark fade haircuts and kinky curls to enter in and out of a dreamy existence. In this alternate plane, the walls are covered in chocolate and the brown skin of dancing vixens glistens in the dim light. It’s a feast for the eyes.

Lennox’s steamy movements match her lyrics and the same goes for Cole’s suggestive, yet restrained combination. The visual ends with Lennox and her lover coming together in an embrace that suggests that the festivities will surely continue offscreen.

Dreamville Records – the Interscope label imprint founded by J. Cole that Ari Lennox is also signed to – is preparing to release a new project, Revenge of the Dreamers 3. Cole himself recently released “Middle Child” in January.

Check out the tantalizing visual up above.