Phoebe Bridgers Reflects On ‘Kyoto’ And Its Impact: ‘Forgiveness Is A Gift To Yourself’

As much as Phoebe Bridgers‘s brand is being sad online, two of her biggest songs delve directly into the red, venting anger and frustration. On 2017’s “Motion Sickness,” a track that helped establish her as a foremost singer-songwriter who can wring your heart with a nimble voice and a few guitar chords, it was about reflecting on bitterness. “‘Motion Sickness’ is almost ironically angry,” Bridgers tells MTV News correspondent Dometi Pongo. “I’m mad and I’m trying to get through it, or something, and it’s a lot about resentment.”

On last year’s “Kyoto,” though, the musical mood feels lighter, led by a bright trumpet melody and an an almost fizzy travelogue she recalls via the lyrics. Yet the tale itself is darker, drawing from Bridgers’s own unresolved relationship with her father, as she explains on the latest episode of the MTV News new documentary series “The Method.” “‘Kyoto’ is kind of like that sequel feeling, where I’m mad at my dad,” she laughs, “but then, kind of realizing that I’m also kind of over it. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself, and I totally feel like that. It sucks to walk around angry all the time.”

The power of “Kyoto” is palpable. It landed Bridgers her first-ever Grammy nominations — for Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance — and also netted her second LP, Punisher, a nod for Best Alternative Music Album. It also partly helped opened the lines of communication back up between her and her father “for the first time in a really long time,” during the past year, as the pandemic raged on. “Songs are great. They just kind of help you work through shit, like, kind of even before I feel it.” They talked about “Kyoto” a bit, too, though not up front. It took the song’s Grammy success to prompt that portion of the conversation, Bridgers says. “He was like, ‘Hey… that song that’s about me is nominated for a Grammy,’ and that’s the first time we talked about it. But yeah, I’m glad it was lighthearted of a conversation.”

Even as anger and sadness can be catalysts for Bridgers’s songwriting process, and even as her overall sound has come to be defined by an affinity for downbeat, atmospheric, emo-adjacent and confessional music, her aims have always been much loftier than making sad music for its own sake, as she explains: “Honestly, it’s like trauma representation. It’s like when I read a book that’s super dark, or something, there’s like a weight lifted because it’s just someone that you look up laying all this out that you relate to.”

Watch Bridgers dive into her career beginnings, what makes her excited to keep writing and pushing forward, and why she’s aligned her visual aesthetic with ghosts and skeletons in the full episode of “The Method” below. (And then, see previous episodes with Patientce Foster and Tayla Parx.)

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Serpentwithfeet’s Sonic Fellowship, Dayglow’s Weighty Temptation, And More Songs We Love

This week’s Bop Shop features key songs song Serpentwithfeet, Dayglow, Kinlaw, Arlo Parks, and more.

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Family Dinner Face-Off: Will JWOWW And Angelina Keep Peace On Jersey Shore?

One roommate (and a plate of pancakes) down, one to go for Angelina.

The latest Jersey Shore: Family Vacation saw JWOWW heading straight to the lion’s den Las Vegas for a little GTL with the fam following “a simple TMJ surgery” gone awry. Though “a little nervous” to run into her arch-nemesis Angelina, she was crystal clear that she wasn’t about to fly across the country to play a dramatic game of sitdown musical chairs.

“I’ll always be sorry for the speech because of the way I made her feel, but it doesn’t give my roommates the right to try and force us to try and have a conversation,” Jenni shared.

Angelina, on the other hand, was too busy basking in her recent heart-to-heart with a certain expectant meatball to worry about begging for anybody else’s friendship.

“I just had a great day with Deena, and I wanted to simmer in that for a while,” said the Staten Island native. “If [Jenni] comes in with no problems, then that’s fine. But I don’t know what’s she’s gonna do. She’s unpredictable. Last time there were almost bottles thrown.”

And while Ron encouraged Ang to “take the initiative and be the bigger person,” the not-so-newlywed made it clear she’s not exactly over it.

“For my mental health, I don’t want to be around this girl,” Angelina shared before bursting into tears.

As the fateful family dinner drew closer, it became evident that neither cast member really wanted to talk about it and were cool sitting at opposite ends of the table, albeit for the first time in 10 months.

“I don’t have any feelings toward her, so I don’t give a sh*t,” JWOWW told the guys.

But just in case the chairs and chicken cutlets fly, Angelina’s husband Chris was flown in to serve as a buffer. Cue Ang: “Jenni will not come at me the way she normally would if she knows my husband’s sitting next to me.”

Now that both girls are sitting down and making zero eye contact, we have one question: Will there be bruschetta to help smooth things over? Sound off with your thoughts, and catch their confrontation next Thursday at 8/7c!

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Bad Blood: Can Cory And Zach Move On From Their Teen Mom OG Beef?

Cheyenne’s quarantine has been “full of surprises” — and Ryder’s mom disclosed during the Teen Mom OG season premiere that there was a new (but familiar) romance in her life.

“I’ve dated Zach on and off for years, and we were together when Ryder was born,” Chey stated, as old footage of the two of them played. “Things were pretty serious between us, but once Cory came into the picture, our relationship got complicated.”

Cheyenne tried to make her romance and co-parenting work simultaneously, but ultimately it proved to be too difficult, so she split with Zach (they have known each other since she was 16).

“He went through mom and dad’s divorce, we’ve lived together, he went through Ryder’s whole pregnancy with me. He was there when Ryder came home from the hospital. He’s been there for monumental days,” Chey told her mom Margaret and sister R Kyle Lynn after she broke the news that they had reunited. “It’s not like Zach is new to our lives.”

Will history repeat itself between Cory and Zach? Times are certainly different, and Cheyenne and Cory have a routine and schedule set in place. But Cheyenne still wasn’t ready to tell Cory about Zach — at least, not until she was certain Zach could move on from his previous issues with Ryder’s father.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as complicated as it was in the past,” Zach assured Cheyenne. “I have more [of an] understanding of what you were trying to do, what your goals are now.”

“Of course my goal would be that you and Cory got along,” Chey told Zach. “I just think it’s healthy.”

Zach agreed. And when he asked if she wanted to commit, Cheyenne answered that she was a “commitment type of girl” — as Zach burped. “Oh my God” is right, Chey!

Belching aside, can Cory and Zach bury the hatchet and start over fresh? Or will the tension resurface? Keep watching Teen Mom OG every Tuesday at 8/7c.

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MTV’s Ghosted To Return For Special ‘Love Gone Wrong’ Week

It’s almost time for Valentine’s Day, and MTV is commemorating the holiday with a ghost-filled special celebration.

MTV’s Ghosted: Love Gone Missing will return nightly, with five all-new episodes, as part of a “Love Gone Wrong” week leading up to February 14. The weeklong event — beginning February 8 — will also feature romantic comedy movies such as Couples Retreat, Just Friends, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Break-Up, and The Wedding Singer, along with the most heartbreaking episodes of Catfish: The TV Show. Three words: Love can suck.

More on the installments of Ghosted: Co-hosts Rachel Lindsay and Travis Mills are back to put their Internet sleuthing to the ultimate test in an entirely socially distanced setting to help obsessed individuals track down their ghosts, confront them virtually, and finally get the closure that they need. “Oh my god” sounds accurate, Travis.

Watch an extended look at the brand-new Ghosted episodes above, and do not miss “Love Gone Wrong” week kicking off on Monday, February 8 at 7/6c!

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Ariana Grande’s ’34+35′ Meaning Surprised Tayla Parx, Her Co-Writer, Too

For Tayla Parx, everything is about the music. “When you start adding ego into [it], saying, ‘Well, I have to write this,’ that’s not about the song, then. That’s about you,” she tells MTV News correspondent Dometi Pongo. And she would know.

With dozens of songwriting credits to her name, as well as a pair of emotionally probing albums of her own, the singer-songwriter has fortified herself as one of the premier musical minds of her generation. On the latest episode of “The Method,” a new MTV News documentary series highlighting the creative forces that power and motivate some of today’s top artists and creative minds, Parx went deep inside her process to share what makes a song like Ariana Grande’s “34+35,” for example, hang together so well — and how she made it a priority to preserve the song’s winking title while also building up a foundation around that. “It was just a matter of being like, OK, how do we make sure this is said in the right way?”

On Grande’s 2020 Positions album, Parx co-wrote five of the tracks, continuing her longstanding relationship with the pop star that dates back to the swaggering Thank U, Next. She worked alongside fellow trusted inner circle members Victoria Monét and Tommy Brown to shape the tunes remotely, as the bulk of them were created during quarantine. Still, the feeling of togetherness, even while remote, came easily for Parx and Grande, who first met on a Nickelodeon set years ago.

“We saw Ariana really really take the driver’s seat this record as well, which was obviously something that we knew because we know her and we know those capabilities,” Parx says, detailing how her and Ariana’s similar performance backgrounds help them get into the mindset of writing together. The rest of it? That’s “method acting,” as Parx says, though the success of other songs she’s helped pen — Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes,” Fifth Harmony’s “Boss” — would suggest her methods are proven. “Longevity is the thing that anybody in our industry should be seeking.”

To that end, Parx has made a point to tell her own stories, too. Her latest LP, Coping Mechanisms, finds her fully in control of the narrative, spinning tales of love, heartbreak, and healing from her own life. “I show people who I am in every little thing there is, just because I feel like, what’s the point?” she says. “I’m honest about the fact that it changes over time. I’m gonna be evolving anyway, and you might as well be a part of that.” Find out more about Parx’s rise, her dedication, and what she thought the first time she realized what “34+35” meant by watching “The Method” below.

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Halsey Announces Pregnancy With Stunning Photo Shoot: ‘Surprise!’

Some big news for Halsey: She’s going to be mom!

The 26-year-old singer from New Jersey announced her pregnancy on Wednesday (January 27) with a colorful photo shoot shared to Instagram. A carousel of three glamorous images captured outdoors by the photographer Sam Dameshek showed off Halsey’s burgeoning baby bump. The post was simply captioned, “Surprise,” followed by the bottle, rainbow, and angel emojis. She also tagged her boyfriend, the screenwriter Alev Aydin, whom Us Weekly confirmed to be the father of the child.

Aydin reposted a photo to his Instagram Story, adding three red-heart emojis. He left a sweet note in the comments of Halsey’s original post  — “Heart so full, I love you sweetness” — to which the singer replied, “I love you!!!!! And I love this mini human already!”

This will be Halsey’s first child, but her road to motherhood has been an especially difficult one. The “Be Kind” singer, who has sought treatment for her endometriosis, once suffered a miscarriage during a live performance, opening about the painful experience during a 2018 segment on the daytime show The Doctors. “I was on tour, I found out I was pregnant,” she said. “And before I could really figure out what that meant to me and what that meant for my future… the next thing I knew I was on stage miscarrying in the middle of my concert.”

Since then, her prognosis has seemed favorable, telling the Guardian in 2020 that becoming a mother was “looking like something that’s gonna happen for me. That’s a miracle.” It looks like something paid off along the way, and we couldn’t be happier for her. Congrats to Halsey!

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Amanda Gorman To Perform At Super Bowl LV Pregame

Amanda Gorman captured the hearts of people throughout the United States with her passionate performance at President Joe Biden’s inauguration last week. Now, the rising star is taking that explosive success all the way to the Super Bowl.

The NFL announced on Wednesday (January 27) that Gorman is scheduled to recite an original poem ahead of Super Bowl LV during the pregame ceremony. Her piece will recognize three honorary game captains who were each selected by the League for their commitment to supporting their communities throughout the coronavirus pandemic. They include the Los Angeles educator Trimaine Davis, Tampa nurse Suzie Dorner, and Marine veteran James Martin.

At 22, Gorman is the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. Her Inauguration Day reading of “The Hill We Climb” received widespread acclaim for its message of hope and reconciliation while addressing the fragile state of the country, particularly in the wake of the attack on the Capitol on January 6. Among the thousands of people who shared their praise on social media was former President Barack Obama, who tweeted that her piece “more than met the moment.” Oprah Winfrey added that she has “never been prouder to see another young woman rise!”

“We have to confront these realities if we’re going to move forward, so that’s also an important touchstone of the poem,” Gorman told The New York Times of the meaning behind her verse. “There is space for grief and horror and hope and unity, and I also hope that there is a breath for joy in the poem, because I do think we have a lot to celebrate at this inauguration.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Super Bowl will look a little different this year, with a smaller audience than in previous years. Slated for February 7, The Weeknd will light up the stage for the halftime show, while Miley Cyrus will headline a tailgate concert sponsored by TikTok. Jazmine Sullivan, Eric Church, and H.E.R. are also scheduled to perform.

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‘Our Marriage Is Finally Over’: Teen Mom OG’s Mackenzie And Josh Are Finished

Mackenzie has struggled to trust Josh through the years — and after the death of her mother Angie, the grief-stricken mother of three felt that her husband did not offer adequate support. But the plot thickened during the Teen Mom OG premiere: Mackenzie went through Josh’s phone and saw he was texting her cousin late at night, then posted about the correspondence on social media before confronting the two about the conversations.

“Josh and I got into a huge fight. He moved his stuff out and we haven’t talked since,” Mackenzie admitted.

Mackenzie revealed that Josh “has never been this mad at me” (the texts were a “misunderstanding”), and she told her sister Whitney that the “marriage is finally over.”

“We’re not together,” Mackenzie revealed. “I don’t know what Josh is going to do. I don’t know if he’s going to serve me with papers. But here I am — I’ve been with him for 12 years, and now I’m single.”

Mackenzie vowed that she needs to be the “best mom I can be” to her three kids. And sadly, the sisters’ candid chat grew even more emotional as they remembered their mother and how she would have reacted to this life-changing decision.

“She knows you fought hard, and I think she would be right with you right now supporting you,” Whitney stated, as they wiped away tears. “And helping you get through this.”

How will Mackenzie and Josh’s split affect their family? Keep watching Teen Mom OG every Tuesday at 8/7c.

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Zayn’s ‘Connexion’: How Zach & Roger Built The Track For Him

Zayn’s most valuable asset has always been his voice. Throughout his four albums with One Direction, his falsetto memorably crested key moments of some of the band’s biggest singles, and “Zayn high notes” remains a popular YouTube search, yielding multiple videos with millions (and millions) of views. His first solo album, 2016’s Mind of Mine, found him weaponizing that instrument on maximalist, slightly mechanized pop that nevertheless occasionally buried his pipes under layers of production sheen. It’s a trend the singer stepped away from on 2018’s Icarus Falls, though the more intimate sonic moments hid inside a labyrinthine 30-song tracklist that unspooled over a languid 90 minutes.

That’s why Nobody Is Listening, Zayn’s third and most accessible album yet, feels like such a gear shift. Where debut single “Pillowtalk” boasts stadium drums he seems to have to shout over, his latest, “Vibez,” utilizes a breezy backbeat that recalls ’90s R&B — and that’s one of the LP’s more produced tracks. A song like “Connexion,” on the other hand, leaves plenty of open space between its acoustic strums and gentle snaps, room where Zayn can lean in as he sings about taking off his lover’s clothes and contemplates their spark.

That instrumentation came courtesy of Brooklyn production duo Zach Seman and Roger Kleinman — known as Zach & Roger — who aimed to build the stripped-back tune using as few separate instrumental tracks as possible, partly inspired by “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. But it wasn’t fully complete without the finishing touches of Zayn himself. “In this particular case, we had an idea, and we sent it over to Zayn, and Zayn finished it and elevated it, added his magic, and then it was done,” Seman tells MTV News.

Much like Zayn himself, Zach & Roger have been making music together for 10 years, both as musicians and producers, and they’ve also dipped into scoring films, including the upcoming artist doc Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide. That kind of attention to atmospheric detail, all in service of the emotion of a scene, makes their work on the minimal “Connexion” a logical fit. So does the fact that, as Kleinman says, “pop music has changed since 2016.” Instead of bombastic, they scaled back to fit a quieter, more subdued soundscape — one that allows for, to use an extremely recent example, a nearly a cappella team-up between Billie Eilish and Rosalía, two of pop’s biggest stars, spotted with shades of ASMR. “How can we make something that’s a little bit smaller but still gets the point across, and [where] an artist can really get on a song and make it their own?”

That song was “Connexion,” based around an acoustic pattern played by Kleinman and pushed forward with a “driving subtle loop” that eventually allowed Zayn ample space to bring the emotionality of his voice. The only discernible element separating the airy track’s sections is Zayn’s singing, though Seman mentions some “background ghosts” they placed in the music for reference as well. On the tune’s post-chorus, Zayn’s recognizable timbre sinks under intentional digitally processing and comes to resemble a billowy trumpet, as he sings about the ways he’s connecting with his lover.

“It is really a true collaboration in that, with our friend [songwriter] Talay Riley, we made basically the first half of that song and then gave it to Zayn, and he finished it as if we were all in the room together,” Kleinman says. “We obviously weren’t, but I think that that’s rare, especially with these big pop artists, that he really did take it and totally put life into it.” The two have, in fact, never been in a room with Zayn, in keeping with making music in the age of both COVID-19 and the prevalence of digital file-sharing technology. They likewise had no clue if their song would make the final Nobody Is Listening tracklist until the album was officially released.

“The way this business works is we’re not totally sure we’re even included until the album comes out,” Seman says. “I felt like, Thursday night, we’re taking in the fact that it’s actually on the album. We’re taking in the fact that it seems to be being pushed as a single because it was on [Spotify’s] New Music Friday, and we’re taking in the fact that Zayn did such an incredible job delivering on it.”

As the sixth song of 11 on Nobody Is Listening, “Connexion” marks a midpoint while also typifying the artist’s latest era, one of optimism and confidence as he settles into his new role as a father. Much has been about his sexual lyrics, and as one-half of a celebrity couple, scrutiny and intrigue come with the territory. But by the time Nobody Is Listening finishes, Zayn has embraced his roots, interpolating an Urdu sample and closing on a hymn-like meditation about love and its potential disappearance — all while staying front and center on his own album, often accompanied only with a guitar for color. Though “Connexion” is the only song on the album that Zach & Roger worked on, its ethos can be felt throughout the LP’s 35-minute runtime.

The ethos of its producers, meanwhile, will soon be felt elsewhere, namely on the glimmering “Cuff Your Jeans,” a bright and propulsive pop-rock tune from rising artist Claud, whose highly anticipated debut is out February 12. Zach & Roger produced that track, and compared to “Connexion,” it’s essentially Phil Spector, humming with glossy lead guitar parts and voices stacked atop each other. But what works for Claud wouldn’t necessarily work for Zayn, and vice versa. Amid all the production, you can still hear its acoustic bones.

“A timeless song is good if it can be stripped down to just someone playing it on the guitar or the piano,” Kleinman says. “With ‘Connexion,’ that is the song. You can imagine someone just playing the guitar, sitting with Zayn while he sings it. There isn’t much going on that is outside the realm of the imagination of the listener, whereas a song like ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry is so much programming and production and everything. There are a million things happening — drums, guitar, bass, synths, everything.”

“This is obviously not that. This is the opposite of that sort of production,” Seman adds. “It’s the opposite of a Dr. Luke, maxed-out-your-computer’s-tracks [song]. This is a much different way of thinking about it.”

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