Angel Olsen Leaves Epiphanies Behind For The Realm Of Moving On

By Emma Madden

This is Angel Olsen‘s least favorite part of the job. After failing to pick up our call at the scheduled time, she apologizes. She ran into a friend at the bookstore and forgot about our conversation. Forced to leave the shop where she was, presumably, not having to again discuss her latest album All Mirrors, she’s not keen on small talk. My “how are you?” is met with an imperative: “Let’s get into it.”

An element of confrontation runs throughout Olsen’s music, as it does in her conversations with journalists and fans. When she performs live, she tends to act as a funhouse mirror to her audience — refracting their own expectations of her, sometimes mockingly, so that they’re confronted with the absurdity of their own preconceptions. “I’m about to play some dark shit,” she said before premiering “White Fire,” her most goth song, to a London crowd in 2013. “Everything is tragic, it all just falls apart,” she started, before keening over with laughter. “I can’t believe I actually wrote that.”

Her five albums, especially her latest, function like a mirror held up to herself and the people she’s loved. It’s been a concept in her music from the very beginning: “I’ll hold your mirror / All you have to do is turn around / So you can see the face you make when you are giving out your soul,” she sang on her first EP, 2011’s Strange Cacti. The same concerns show up time and again throughout her discography. The will to like oneself and live self-reliantly — to burn your fire for no witness. The need (and impossibility) to be seen wholly and truthfully. The sheer desire to be loved and touched (shut up, kiss her).

In her earlier recordings, these themes took the form of epiphanies. Olsen seemed to be willing herself to learn her own lessons: “Know your own heart well / It’s the one that’s worth most of your time,” she sang on that first EP, with a voice like a muffled chainsaw. Now eight years into her recording career, Olsen has relaxed and matured into her own worldview and guide for being alive. “I’ve had many epiphanies that I later realized were not completely actualized,” she says. After two band-centric albums — 2014’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness and 2016’s My Woman — she toured and released Phases, a compilation of covers, demos, and B-sides in 2017. It was the first time she’d toured solo in many years. While it gave her the opportunity to revisit old songs, to “think back at how silly I was, and how pure it was for me to not really know anything, now that I know so much,” it also gave her the chance to actualize those epiphanies. “A lot of realization from previous records came to me when I was performing them on my own.”

Her latest album feels like a full self-actualization. But at its core, All Mirrors is about moving forward. “When you think something’s a certain way and then convince yourself of it and imagine it, it can be a really wonderful tool for writing,” she says. “But in a way, doing that can be very dangerous.” Now when she performs her older songs, she almost feels as though she’s covering someone else — the shadow of her younger self revealed to her like a reverse scry.

Cameron McCool

As a result, All Mirrors is less committed to epiphanies than it is to charting the process of moving on. And it does so with excruciating beauty. “I like the air that I breathe, I like the thoughts that I think, I like the life that I lead… without you,” she sings like a question on “Tonight,” quite possibly the most beautiful and painful song she’s ever recorded. It’s Olsen revealing the most heartbreaking part of heartbreak — the moment you realize you can exist without the person you never thought you could live without. When you wonder whether the person you gave your heart to really knew you at all.

“It’s easy to imagine love from a new person and imagine all these things and give them your heart. But it’s hard to find somebody who will really want to know you and share their life with you,” she says. “I think it’s just so much more special to never say, ‘I love you,’ and to just show that you love someone.”

Does that make All Mirrors a breakup album? No, that would be too simplistic. “While that’s definitely a part of it — the experiences and the feelings that I have are quite literal — it’s never about a specific person or one specific event, but instead about multiple events that have been similar in a lot of ways,” she explains. Olsen pulls from a full depth of experience, nesting the entire flute of existence and emotion inside a single song. It’s what makes her one of today’s greatest songwriters. Listen to album opener “Lark” and count the moods. Within six minutes, she conveys grief, greed, elation, rage, remorse, and peace.

Olsen is much more singular in conversation. Depending on the day and the mood, her interactions with journalists and fans can vary quite drastically. Today, she sounds dampened. She’s in the midst of a “heavy week,” she says. Her days have been filled with interviews, which have dragged her away from spending time at the bookstore and with friends. “I’ve told myself I don’t want to do it anymore and I end up doing it anyway,” she says. Music is the one thing Olsen’s known that she’s always wanted to do. It’s the thing she knows most about herself and of life. “Not very many people have been blessed to know that that’s what they want to do from their childhood. And it stuck with me whether or not I’ve enjoyed every aspect of it.”

Those aspects include “having to perform all the time and never getting to spend time with those I love, and having to dissect it all the time.” A bit like what she’s having to do right now? “Yeah, sort of.”

More than ever, Olsen wants to live rather than explain. “And it’s not because I don’t love,” she sings somewhere between relief and fear on “Tonight,” “just don’t have time to explain all the things you think you’ve come to understand about me.” It’s not an epiphany, but rather a hard-fought resignation.

Meghan Trainor Rides A Sea Of Bodies In Ethereal ‘Wave’ Video

Meghan Trainor rides a wave in her newest music video, but don’t expect any Johnny Tsunami-style action. Here, the tide in question is comprised entirely of human bodies, which gives Trainor a fitting backdrop for her soulful, Mike Sabath-featuring single, “Wave.”

In the clip, released Monday (October 7), Trainor stands at the top of a giant human pyramid, looking absolutely ethereal in a tulle gown. As she delivers a stunning vocal — “Take me like a wave / Pull me back and forth / Crash into my arms / Tell me I am yours” — she dictates the fluid movements of the dancers around her, who sway their bodies to emulate crashing waves. The pristine choreography was crafted by Charm LaDonna, who also worked with Trainor for last year’s sparkly “No Excuses” video.

A behind-the-scenes clip from the music video gives a closer glimpse at how Trainor, LaDonna, and director Matthew Cullen pulled off the choreo, with Cullen telling the dancers, “Imagine that [Meghan] is like a rock in the water, and you’re all waves, just crashing.” (Bonus: Trainor’s husband, Daryl Sabara, also makes a cute cameo in the vid.)

“Wave” comes on the heels of Trainor’s cover of the Friends theme song, “I’ll Be There For You,” which she recorded in celebration of the sitcom’s 25th anniversary. The singer is gearing up for the release of her long-awaited third album, Treat Myself, which is expected to arrive sometime in 2020. In the meantime, check out her latest visual feat above, which will be airing all day long on mtvU and MTV Live.

Thank Summer Walker For Inspiring Drake To Make Two New Songs

Drake is really feeling Summer Walker‘s new album Over ItI mean, he’s really feeling it. So much so that after taking some time to digest its feels, he’s already recorded two new songs inspired by the LP. At 7:30 in the morning. If that’s not an epic cosign, I don’t know what is.

Walker posted a screengrab of her conversation with Drake after the rapper hopped in her DMs to tell her just how good the album was. He mentioned “Fun Girl” by name, followed by 33 surprised emojis (yes, I counted). After Walker thanked him for his support, he responded by still being baffled. “Nah wtf,” he wrote. “U snapped.” He continued, breathless like he was yelling into a phone receiver with a slightly startled Walker on the other end. “Just made me write two songs its 7:30 am here.” He ended with, “Album crazy.”

If you’re keeping track, these two new Over It-inspired songs make up half of the four new songs that Drizzy’s released in the past few months. In June, he dropped “Omertá” and “Money In The Grave” with Rick Ross. A few days after sharing the tracks, he posted that he was in “album mode” on Instagram.

Check out Drake’s extreme giddiness after listening to Walker’s new album up above.

Rihanna Is Releasing A 500-Page Photography Book Of ‘Incredible Memories’

No matter who you are, where you are, or what time of the day it is, snapshots of Rihanna float across your timeline and you stop what you’re doing and look. Her hair, her smile, her outfits; we each have our favorite look from the singer, songwriter, and fashion house purveyor. There are so many of these glimpses of Rihanna that, instead of letting social media get to pick the looks that the world knows her by, she’s set to release a book of more than 1,000 photos about “visual photography.” You read that right: This fall, you’ll get to own your own personal collection of Rih.

Rihanna will be 504 pages long and include 11 special inserts, a removable poster, and 7 gatefolds. It’ll weigh 15 pounds and come with a carrying case for the ultimate Rihanna experience. According to a press release, it will cover the period “from her childhood in Barbados to her worldwide tours, from quintessential fashion moments to private time with friends and family.” It’s going to be an intimate look at her life as a “musician, performer, designer, and entrepreneur.”

“I am so excited to share this collection of incredible images,” she said in a statement. “I’m very grateful to the talented photographers and artists who contributed. We’ve been working on the book for over five years and I’m really happy to be able to finally share it with everybody.”

Check out the trailer for the book of photos up above.

FKA Twigs’s Belly Button Comes Alive In ‘Home With You’

FKA Twigs‘s new single from her forthcoming album Magdalene, “Home With You,” has arrived with an unsettling video about partying and…something else. The singer directed the freaky film and makes it a “hold my beer” exercise in creating the weirdest clip possible. “Home With You” is dainty and an ethereal ball of whispers so it only makes sense that the accompanying visual is….damn near the exact opposite. Try as you may, you might not be able to make sense of it. But then again, when have FKA Twigs’s videos ever been designed to make sense unless you think outside of the box?

“Home With You” starts off regular enough. FKA Twigs is having the time of her life in a hot party where she watches booties bounce and bodies percolate. After seeing enough sweat, she decides to make like a banana and split. So far, it’s a regular night with the singer having a good time. Then, it grows weird when she hops in the car with her friends – a gang of girls with eyeballs painted on their eyelids (your skin will crawl, sorry in advance) – who begin dancing and floating while they’re supposed to be driving. Like, hands off the wheel, making V-shapes and dangling their arms off the side of the car instead of watching the road and applying hands to the wheel. Imagine being in the car behind them and seeing this. You’d call your car insurance company ASAP.

Somehow, successfully, they drive through the night before ending up in a Midsommar-like field of white outfits and creepy people without voices. At this point, FKA Twigs is the only one left. She sprints across a field and into a forest, eventually wading through water in a huge, wedding-like dress. She pulls a child out of a well and then shows the kid her belly button which opens its eye. If that didn’t make sense, imagine how it feels actually watching the scene take place. The video ends with that, leaving us, and we presume many others, with a ton of questions.

Magdalene is set to drop on November 8. FKA Twigs released the first single, “Cellophane” in April with a video featuring a magnificent and complex pole-dancing routine. Last month, she dropped “Holy Terrain” with Future.

Watch the wicked video for “Home With You” up above.

21 Savage: Young U.S. Immigrants ‘Should Automatically Become Citizens’

21 Savage believes that immigrants who were brought to the United States when they were children should automatically be given citizenship in the country.

The rapper, who is from London and moved to the U.S. when he was seven years old, made headlines in February when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained him on the grounds of overstaying a visa that reportedly expired in 2006. His situation came to national attention when celebrities like DJ Khaled, SZA, and Kendrick Lamar all petitioned for his release, which came eight days later. A deportation hearing was set for  April 9; it has since been postponed indefinitely.

On Thursday, (October 3), he received an award for being an advocate for immigrant justice from the National Immigration Law Center, an organization that analyzes policy and works in support of immigrants. In an interview with the Associated Press shortly before receiving the award, the rapper spoke briefly about his own situation and contextualized it with the experience of other people in similar circumstances.

“When you ain’t got no choice, you should be exempt,” he said. “It’s not like I was 30, woke up, and moved over here.”

“I’ve been here since I was like 7 or 8, probably younger than that,” he added. “I didn’t know anything about visas and all that. I just knew we’re moving to a new place. I feel like we should be exempt. I feel like we should automatically become citizens.”

It’s hard to get a full picture of how many undocumented people who came as minors are in the U.S., for a number of reasons — up to and including their fear of risking ICE retaliation if they identify themselves. Between 690,000 and  800,000 people in America are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Obama-era immigration policy that gives a period of deferred deportation action to people who were brought to the country as children and meet certain requirements; they make up a small portion of DREAMers, so-called for the DREAM Act that politicians have failed to pass for years.

21 Savage first spoke out about his detainment experience in February to Good Morning America. “I don’t think the policy is broken, I feel like the way they enforce the policy is broken,” he said at the time. “I don’t feel like you should be arrested and put in a place where a murderer would be, for just being in the country too long.”

See Ed Sheeran And Camila Cabello Kidnap Cardi B In ‘South Of The Border’ Video

After filling our feeds with clips and teases all week long, Ed Sheeran has finally delivered his “South of the Border” video. Only, this thing is less of a music video and more of an action-packed blockbuster co-starring two of music’s leading ladies: Camila Cabello and Cardi B.

The Jason Koenig-directed vid bills itself as “a frivolous spy film,” and it’s packed with all the genre’s staples: a heist, a car chase, a fight scene, and lots of dangerous seduction. The plot is a little convoluted, but it basically revolves around Sheeran (a.k.a. Teddy Fingers) and Cabello (a.k.a. The Mariposa) conspiring to take down a couple agents who robbed them. The chase takes them from London to Mexico, where they kidnap the two spies, along with Cardi B (who doesn’t get a fun spy nickname, unfortunately).

After a bunch of twists and turns, the entertaining visual ends on a hilarious note, with Cardi screaming at Ed over a walkie-talkie, “Hello, is this Edward? When I find out who you are, I’m gonna kick your ass; you know I’m crazy!” Check out all the action — which also includes some sexy beach choreo and knife-licking from Camila — below.

“South of the Border” is the latest single from Sheeran’s No.6 Collaborations Project, which arrived back in July. It follows a busy week for both Cabello, who dropped the new song “Cry For Me” today, and Cardi, who revealed her second album might be titled Tiger Woods. Sheeran, meanwhile, is supposedly still taking an extended break from music, but at least he’s continuing to keep his fans fed with visuals like these.

Justin And Hailey Bieber’s Love Continues To Bloom In ‘10,000 Hours’ Music Video

Hearts melted across the globe this morning (October 4), when Dan + Shay released their romantic collaboration with Justin Bieber. The song, titled “10,000 Hours,” is, as promised, the wedding song of our dreams. And considering Justin and Hailey celebrated their nuptials on Monday (September 30), it’s only fitting that the couple star in the music video alongside the country duo and their wives, Abby Smyers and Hannah Mooney.

The elegant and flower-filled video begins with the three singers together on a dimly lit set. There are antique benches, rose petals on the floor, and flower arrangements in the background. It’s almost as if they’re at a wedding venue immediately after the reception has ended and the guests cleared out. But soon, they’re joined by their wives, each in a different room of an enchanting and dreamy house.

The Biebers are seated in the bedroom while Dan, Shay, and their wives occupy the living room and den areas. As the video continues, we’re shown throwback home videos of each of the couples smiling, laughing, kissing, and making beautiful memories together. Then, the bedroom transforms into a picturesque fairy tale. The carpet turns into a field of flowers, and the walls suddenly disappear.

The remainder of the video features the happily married couples in complete wedded bliss as the men vow to spend forever learning their wives’ hearts. As for Justin and Hailey, they’re seen cuddling, smooching, laughing, singing, dancing, and even doing minor acrobatics as their love (and flowers) continues to bloom.

Watch Justin and Hailey Bieber love on each other in the “10,000 Hours” music video up above.

Zayn And Sabrina Claudio Are Ready To Face The ‘Rumors’ On New Collab

Today (October 4) is a big day for Sabrina Claudio. Not only did the Puerto Rican/Cuban songstress release her brand new album Truth Is, but the LP is jam-packed with sexy, sultry, and smooth songs that we’ll be listening to on repeat until further notice. Among them is “Rumors,” a flirty collaboration with Zayn that contemplates the idea of turning rumors into a real-life romance.

Claudio starts off the song by listing off a few things she heard through the grapevine. “I heard (I heard) / That you want to be closer to me,” she sings. ” I heard (I heard) / That you said you’ve seen me in your dreams.” The speculation that this person is really into her only grows in the pre-chorus. “He said, she said / You like the way I smile / He said, she said / You like my confidence and style.”

The chorus, however, is the first time that we get any actual insight as to whether or not these rumored feelings are reciprocated. “All these rumors spreading around /And I kinda like the way they sound,” Claudio sings angelically over a groovy beat, confirming that she feels it, too. But is there any actual truth to those rumors? Zayn’s silky vocals appear in the second verse to confirm the buzz, once and for all.

“He said, she said your body’s a temple / And I think I pray just for the sight of you,” the “Dusk Till Dawn” singer croons. “Do you think you’d let me see inside of you? / I been sinkin’, let me just confide in you.” Together, Claudio and Zayn sing through the rest of the track, trying to work out how they’re going to turn other people’s whispers into a love that can last. “All these rumors ’bout you and me / How can we make this a reality?” they wonder.

By the time the bridge comes around, it seems they’ve figured it out. It’s time to stop contributing to all the “he said, she said” and truly figure out if they can make things work. “Know we can keep talkin’ through everybody that’s in this room / Or we can come face-to-face and find out if it’s true,” they sing. Sounds to us like we’re going to need a Part 2.

Sabrina Claudio’s Truth Is album is out now, and she recently embarked on a 39-date tour of the same. Tickets are available for purchase on her official website.