Per an official update from Universal Orlando, the project is back on track, although at a slower pace. Citing the need to slowly, but surely, reassemble the team that’s bringing it all together, “several months” will be required to bring this developing wonderland up and running at full speed. Which is already a fantastic thing to hear, as the last updates given on Epic Universe had the world thinking that construction wouldn’t be restarting for years on this particular front.
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Awards Season is in full swing, and last weekend’s Golden Globe Awards officially kicked things off. One of the big winners of the night was Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, taking home Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director. This is obviously a major honor for director/writer Zhao, who also recently helmed Eternals for Marvel Studios. And she recently explained why she snuck an Avengers reference into Nomadland.
Well, there you have it. The Daily Bugle is officially in the MCU canon, and it looks like J. Jonah Jameson’s online publication will continue to factor into Spider-Man 3. Flash Thompson’s post revealed that Peter Parker is going to be “missing” from the public eye in the next film, seemingly going into hiding after his identity as Spider-Man was revealed.
Over the past few years, Miley Cyrus has established herself as a queen of covers. No one else in the mainstream pop realm has done what she has, reclaiming her energy through the lens of the past and making it new. On Plastic Hearts, that meant including her takes on “Zombie” and “Heart of Glass” as well as invited Billy Idol and Joan Jett to sing with her.
On Sunday (February 7) ahead of Super Bowl LV, Miley once again cemented her status, bringing out Idol for a super-charged “Night Crawling” in front of a vaccinated crowd of 7,500 frontline workers. As part of the TikTok Tailgate party ahead of the kickoff, Miley and Idol naturally segued into Idol’s own “White Wedding” in the sunshine of Tampa, Florida.
Cyrus brought her spirit via her cheerleader outfit, a look she teased on Instagram in the lead-up to the pregame celebration. “Been working my ass off on this set list! I think you’re gonna DIG IT! ☠️,” she wrote in the caption.
That lengthy setlist included plenty of Plastic Hearts cuts and — of course — several covers. She kicked off with Toni Basil’s “Mickey” (fitting given her outfit) and also belted out cuts from Dolly Parton and Nine Inch Nails, alongside her 2018 Mark Ronson collab “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart.”
By the time she wrapped, she’d also welcomed another guest to the stage — Jett herself, who sang with Cyrus on “Bad Reputation” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” in addition to their Plastic Hearts team-up, “Bad Karma.” Cyrus finished by covering Bikini Kill and even bringing it back to 2013 with “We Can’t Stop.” All this, and she can still absolutely nail a tune from Hole or Chris Cornell when called upon, too. What can’t Miley sing?
Check out Miley’s performances and get ready for the Super Bowl halftime show later tonight, featuring a sure-to-be-dynamic performance from The Weeknd.
2020 is dead, long live 2021! Cardi B dropped her latest music video for her new single “Up” at midnight on Friday (February 5), and with it, a eulogy for a bum year. The follow-up to the record-breaking smash collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion, “WAP“, which released seven months prior in August, she’s put the past behind her and is looking toward the sky — or at least toward an album release, set to arrive in the coming months.
“Up” is a bumping bop that riffs from the catchy refrain: “If it’s up, then it’s up, then it’s up, then it’s stuck.” The video kicks off with Cardi twerking in a graveyard over a crypt marked “R.I.P. 2020” in full, chandelier crystal-encrusted funeral attire, complete with a fishnet veil and signature red-bottom shoes. From there, the visuals whip through a dizzying montage of sex and glamour. At one moment, Cardi’s ghost-riding as the blinged-out trophy on the hood of a Bentley. In another scene, she’s whipping out a vibrator in a pearly, all-girl ménage à trois inside the mouth of an oyster. In Cardi’s quintessentially provocative fashion, there are some truly mind-boggling WTF moments, too: Are those barbie doll heads really singing from inside her curls?
Ahead of the video’s release, Cardi said in a YouTube livestream, that she hoped the song would sound more “hood” than previous releases. “I wanted to do something more gangsta, more cocky,” she said, per Rolling Stone. And things are already looking for the rapper this year: In just hours after its release, the “Up” video had already topped 3 million streams on YouTube alone.
The Cuban-born actress seems to be doing just fine in light of the breakup and has her work cut out for her between all of the upcoming projects, three of which are expected for 2021. Deep Water with ex-boyfriend Ben Affleck is scheduled for this August. After that, she is set to appear in No Time to Die, which has recently been delayed to October, and she’s also playing Marilyn Monroe in Blonde by Andrew Dominik, which is also due for later this year.
By Candace McDuffie
Lil Skies sonically resides in a realm where raw and unfiltered emotion rules. The 22-year-old emcee made noise with his 2018 major-label mixtape, Life of a Dark Rose, which, on the surface, came across as part of the omnipresent emo rap that has permeated the music industry over the past five years. But upon further exploration, it is clear that the rapper born Kimetrius Foose — just like his mellifluous peers Lil Durk, Trippie Redd, and Lil Uzi Vert — is using his catalogue to process seemingly endless amounts of inner turmoil.
Songs like “Red Roses” and “Cloudy Skies” balance tender melodicism with cerebral unease; he’s obsessed with experiencing — and always expecting — worst-case scenarios. Whether it’s betrayal or abandonment from fraudulent friends and potential love interests, Life of a Dark Rose still manages to find beauty in solitude. His follow-up project, 2019’s Shelby, also examined these themes but felt more upbeat and polished, a quality he attributes to the dizzying nature of success.
“I was on the road a lot. I saw things I never got to see,” the rapper tells MTV News. “Seeing a bunch of fans and just going through the motions. I was dealing with things you deal with when people first get the fame, which is still true to this day.” Lil Skies’s second album, Unbothered, was released on January 22 and continues to map out progression on his own terms. He sat down with us to discuss his songwriting process, how he deals with unyielding depression, and how artists shouldn’t always be considered role models.
MTV News: Your music really appeals to young listeners, but after listening to Life of a Dark Rose, I realized that your lyrics actually are universal and don’t have an age limit. What do you think draws people to Lil Skies?
Lil Skies: I just keep it real on the songs, and I don’t be hiding nothing, even if it’s the ugly truth. I feel like my fans can kind of tell I put my all into the songs, maybe. I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure out that question myself. When I was making those songs [from Life of a Dark Rose], that was my early stages. I was just doing what I was doing best: making my music, going with the flow, and hoping that the people liked it. I just really kept dropping, and then it just got me where I’m at.
MTV News: To me, artists like you, Lil Uzi Vert, and Trippie Redd represent a noticeable change in hip-hop. From the emotional lyrics discussing sadness and angst to the edgy aesthetic, do you think this type of artistry was long overdue in rap?
Lil Skies: To me, I feel like hip-hop is different every period. Our generation, we don’t know how to explain it because we’re living in it. Even back then, when people would make hip-hop music, they didn’t even know how to explain it because that’s what it was at the time. Whether it was selling CDs or wearing those big-ass gold chains or doing shit like that, that was their generation. It’s just our generation. This is what we live, this is what we’re around, this is what our generation is going through. The majority of our generation is dealing with depression — now we’re just being more open about it in music. But in hip-hop people always were open about their struggles, it was just said in different ways, you know what I’m saying?
MTV News: When Life of a Dark Rose is compared to Shelby, you can hear the difference sonically. Shelby is a little refined, and I was wondering if you felt any pressure because it was your major-label debut.
Lil Skies: I always feel the pressure. There’s always pressure. If you care about what you do, you want it to be better than the last time. You want to keep elevating and keep going. What I normally do is I just record, pick my best songs, and just roll with it. That’s what I did with Life of a Dark Rose, that’s what I did with Shelby. You get to see where I’m at in my head and where I’m at in my life when an album drops. A lot of people nowadays want artists to make the same music and they want them to just do the same thing over and over again. I’m not trying to do that.
MTV News: This generation of rappers have experienced great loss over the last few years. We’ve seen what happened with Lil Peep, with Mac Miller, with Juice WRLD. With several prominent young artists dying from drugs, do you fear its toll on the industry?
Lil Skies: I do feel that way sometimes because we’re all living in this shit. When you’re a rapper nowadays, this is what your life is the majority of the time: in a studio environment creating. There’s a lot of smoking weed, there’s a lot of drugs. You have your bad days and you have your good days. Of course, you’re gonna think about that shit when other people are passing… you gotta know what you’re doing, pretty much. You gotta stay as safe as possible with whatever you’re doing. I don’t do hella drugs. I got my little certain things that I fuck with, though.
MTV News: Is that how you deal with your depression?
Lil Skies: I smoke a lot of weed. I get high. I self-medicate.
MTV News: With your visibility, a lot of young people look up to you. Do you believe that rappers should be perceived as role models?
Lil Skies: I get it, but at the same time artists are people, too. We go through things, too. We’re still human. We’re leaders to them but we can’t always be. It can’t always be, “Oh he’s doing this, so you gotta do it, too.” No. I don’t like to sit there and judge anybody doing anything because I don’t know the whole situation. You’re not going to know this whole situation. So before you judge, try to help. I know we influence certain shit, but we gotta live our own life, too. It’s not on some I don’t care-type shit, but I gotta do my own thing. I’m my own man. I’ve been living for a lot of people my whole life. But all of my responsibilities are taken care of, so at this point, I can’t let certain shit get to me.
MTV News: Is that why your latest record is called Unbothered? You’re just at the point where you’re becoming indifferent to the pressures and expectations of fame?
Lil Skies: It’s a note to myself. It’s me telling myself don’t pay attention to the hate and don’t pay attention to all the negative shit or whatever’s going on. Just stay focused, keep working, keep doing what you do. As long as you gave your best, that’s all that matters. With the album, I just want kids to know they should chase their dreams no matter what anybody tells you. That’s the biggest thing.
MTV News: What were some of your favorite songs to record for Unbothered?
Lil Skies: The first track, “Fade Away.” “Sky High,” “Ok,” “Havin My Way,” “Dead Broke,” “On Sight.” Now that I’m looking at the list, I fuck with them all [laughs].
MTV News: To those who aren’t as familiar with your music, what do you want them to take away from this project and from you as an artist?
Lil Skies: I just want to encourage people to follow your dreams. There’s going to be a lot of people talking and there’s going to be a lot of people trying to bring it down or whatever, but just stay focused and keep working towards your dreams. Never let nobody tell you that you can’t do something.
Again, there’s no word yet on if Hellboy 3 might get a second chance at life following the reboot’s failure, although it’s not hard to imagine Hollywood wanting to distance itself from the Dark Horse property for at least several years, if even return to it at all. That being said, if Hellboy 3 were to get off the ground, this wouldn’t be the first time the original continuity of a film series is re-explored following a reboot or two. 2018’s Halloween was a direct sequel to the 1978 original, and the same approach is being taken with upcoming features Ghostbusters: Afterlife and RoboCop Returns.
By Carson Mlnarik
Surprise — again! After dropping her record-breaking eighth album, Folklore, on a whim back in July, Taylor Swift repeated her antics today (December 11) with the release of her Evermore. Folklore’s sister record further mines Swift’s whimsical storytelling perspective alongside producers Jack Antonoff and The National’s Aaron Dessner, two great minds who helped hone her folksy alt-pop sound the last go-around.
Evermore is an equally experimental sequel, as the pop singer weaves scenes of heartbreak and outlaws on the run. “Champagne Problems” depicts the aftermath of turning down a proposal over sparse piano keys, while the Haim-assisted “No Body, No Crime” is a contemporary riff on a vintage murder ballad boasting plenty harmonicas. Even in her most escapist moments, Swift still finds ways to craft relatable lyrics and captivating characters, perhaps none more compelling than herself. “Gold Rush” calls back her signature color for boyfriend Joe Alwyn — also known as William Bowery, a co-writer on three of Evermore’s tracks — to espouse the jealousy and insecurity that come with falling hard. And “Long Story Short” announces a place of peace after years of “petty things” and “nemeses” in the limelight.
It’s clear Evermore is a continuation of the Folklore era, with the visual for “Willow” finding Swift descending into the same piano from the “Cardigan” music video. Fans will find that not only does Taylor still have a song for every mood, but by straddling the lines of fact and fiction, she’s charting new emotional territory. Wondering where to start? Don’t worry, we’re breaking it down track-by-track.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: hopelessly romantic.
Key lyric: “Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind / But I come back stronger than a ’90s trend”
Spoiler alert: Taylor is a bit of a romantic. As the song’s accompanying video shows, she’s still a heartfelt believer in true love, and she’s crafted the perfect soundtrack to underscore any slow dance, intimate car ride home, or huge reminder that you’re single.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like you’re just not built to be in a relationship.
Key lyric: “One for the money, two for the show / I never was ready so I let you go”
While this song, written by Swift and Bowery, tells the tale of two college sweethearts who had very different visions of where their relationship was going, it’ll strike a chord with anyone who’s had their heart — or their expectations — broken. You think you’re in distress? Just wait until the expletive-heavy bridge when things get completely unhinged.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: just a teensy bit jealous.
Key lyric: “I don’t like that falling feels like flying ’til the bone crush”
Jealousy may be a green-eyed monster, but Taylor is seeing a gold rush in this upbeat daydream of a tune detailing her insecurities about having a lover whom everyone else is attracted to. Her attempts at level-headedness come with an air of desperation as she can’t help but imagine “padding across your wooden floors / With my Eagles T-shirt hanging from the door.” If you’ve got a guarded heart that’s afraid to take a relationship to the next level, you’ll feel this one.
“’Tis The Damn Season”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like making the same old mistakes.
Key lyric: “I’m staying at my parents’ house / And the road not taken looks real good now”
With a title like “’Tis the Damn Season,” Taylor’s not exactly setting the table for a cheery Christmas soirée. Through the story of aspiring actress Dorothea — more on her later — returning home, Swift crafts a fitting ode to indulging in a holiday fling with the one that got away. We’re not advising you to send any “Are you back in town?” texts, but if you do, here’s a primer.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: underappreciated, especially for your table-setting skills.
Key lyric: “I know my love should be celebrated / But you tolerate it”
Every Swiftie knows that Taylor reserves track No. 5 for her most exhaustively raw and confessional moments (see “All Too Well,” “My Tears Ricochet,” and “The Archer”) and she continues to deliver the emotional punches here, whether setting the table with “fancy shit” to “begging for footnotes” in her lover’s life. When you’re feeling gaslit or ignored in a relationship, this one is here with a nice warm hug and soul-crushing bridge.
“No Body, No Crime (ft. Haim)”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like taking vengeance into your own hands.
Key lyric: “She says, ‘That ain’t my Merlot on his mouth / That ain’t my jewelry on our joint account’”
Any true-crime podcast or documentary fan is going to be all about Tay’s first team-up with her friends in Haim. Este has gone missing — she didn’t show up to her Tuesday night shift at Olive Garden — and her cheating husband is the prime suspect. Thankfully, Taylor knows enough about a crime scene to take justice into her own hands, à la The Chick’s “Goodbye Earl.” When you want a taste of revenge, give this one a spin.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: wistful about what you can’t change.
Key lyric: “And in the disbelief, I can’t face reinvention / I haven’t met the new me yet”
What, were you expecting a song called “Happiness” to be happy? Over haunting synths and delicate plucking, Swift struggles to maintain a sense of optimism navigating the complexities of a breakup, resolving that “there’ll be happiness after you” even though “there was happiness because of you, too.” Save this one for your rainy-day walks or late-night feels.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like the lonely city lights might not be worth it.
Key lyric: “It’s never too late to come back to my side”
Move over, Betty! There’s a new girl in town. According to Evermore’s liner notes, Dorothea is a “girl who left her small town to chase down Hollywood dreams,” and this swinging slow jam is a reminder that she’s always got someone in her hometown. Here’s a shiny ditty to remind you that you’re never truly alone.
“Coney Island (ft. The National)”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: nostalgic.
Key lyric: “The fast times, the bright lights, the merry go / Sorry for not making you my centerfold”
After working with Aaron Dessner and his brother Bryce on Folklore, Taylor takes it to the next level in her first collaboration with their band The National. This one might be called “Coney Island,” but it’s a cloudy day at the theme park as Swift and Matt Berninger swap verses about a bitter romance where they both made mistakes. When you’re wondering what went wrong, this one will hit home.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: at a crossroads.
Key lyric: “Oh, goddamn / My pain fits in the palm of your freezing hand”
Infidelity has never sounded so sweet! In this breezy charmer, Swift imagines falling in love with someone who puts “roots in [her] dreamland” even though her heart’s been promised to another. When one option looks better than the other and you’re stuck, perhaps this will help make up your mind.
“Cowboy Like Me”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: ready for a risqué romance.
Key lyric: “We could be the way forward / And I know I’ll pay for it”
It’s official! Despite being the one to typically ride off into the sun, Taylor says she’s met her match in this slow, country-tinged swinger about a renegade romance. Throw in some not-so-sneaky background vocals from Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons, and like the narrator, we’re caught hook, line, and sinker.
“Long Story Short”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: at peace.
Key lyric: “If the shoe fits, walk in it ’til your high heels break”
Did Taylor Swift just explain 2020 in a nutshell with the lyric, “Long story short, it was a bad time?” This brisk, fast-paced tune recalls Swift’s ’80s-pop influences to sum up her fall from grace, resulting in public feuds, and how she’s come to terms with it, thanks to love. Play this one when you’re finally over the drama.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: reflective.
Key lyric: “I should’ve asked you questions / I should’ve asked you how to be / Asked you to write it down for me”
After paying tribute to her grandfather on Folklore’s “Epiphany,” Swift dedicates this song to her late grandmother Marjorie Finlay, an opera singer who encouraged her passion for music. When you’re trying to remember those you’ve lost, try this heavenly track — and make sure you’ve got Kleenex if you’re watching the archival footage in its accompanying lyric video.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: perfectly fine with being bitter, thank you very much.
Key lyric: “I’m fine with my spite / And my tears, and my beers and my candles”
A rogue drum machine leads this otherwise soft ballad astray as Taylor reflects on closure, which is never quite as clean as it sounds. Some ends are better left broken, especially when you’re still spiteful and “staying friends would iron it out so nice.” Here’s your soundtrack for no longer giving someone the time of day.
“Evermore (ft. Bon Iver)”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like you need a little extra light.
Key lyric: “I rewind the tape but all it does is pause / On the very moment, all was lost”
In the album’s somber yet hopeful closer, Swift, Justin Vernon, and Bowery have penned a tune that speaks to the cycles of depression and anxiety, especially as they’ve affected people this year. If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air, let this be your reminder that “this pain wouldn’t be forevermore.”
Ovy on the Drums ft. Karol G & Danny Ocean: “Miedito o Que?”
O-O-Ovy on the Drums! The Latin Grammy-nominated reggaeton producer is back with a new single to round out another wildly successful year for the genre. “Miedito o Que?” can only be described as sonic sunshine, so tangible you can almost feel the warmth on your skin. On this perfect summertime hit, Ovy is accompanied by longtime collaborator Karol G, whose brings her signature style and flair, as well as Venezuelan artist Danny Ocean. “Miedito o Que?” transports you to an alternate reality of the summer that couldn’t be, reminding listeners of the good times yet to be had in swimming pools and under palm trees. There’s something interesting about listening to a summer bop in the dead of winter, but if anyone can convince you to play along, it’s Ovy, Karol, and Danny. —Sarina Bhutani