Throughout the turmoil and controversy that embroiled many of his fellow child stars, Jesse McCartney has managed to remain a beautiful soul.

The early aughts pop star recently got engaged to actress Katie Peterson, and the two have lived a relatively tame life together. The pair has spent the entirety of the coronavirus quarantine together, and to kill time they've crafted a series of hilarious Instagram skits called "The Quarantined Couple." They also have occasionally hosted an Instagram Live game show together. It's all incredibly pure. "It keeps us relatively sane," the singer joked, "[and] helps to fill our time productively." They've also been hosting Instagram livestreams together with their fans, all in an attempt to stay connected while COVID-19 ensnares California. "She's a natural comedic actress and writer so she's a great partner."

Prior to quarantine, Jesse McCartney recorded a new album, his first since 2014. During his five year absence, he released two singles: "Better With You" and "Wasted," the former an ode to his fiancé and the latter an ode to the toxic shenanigans he used to be a part of. His latest single, "Yours," which comes out this morning, ties McCartney's two identities together as he tackles the next chapter of his life. "It's about all the different personas I've taken on in the past," McCartney said. "But now I've finally found my place in life; [I belong] to one special person."

Inspired by the R&B jams of the '90s and 2000s, "Yours" is an infectious return to form for McCartney. "Getting engaged was a big life transition for me," he admitted. "So it's a little bit of a look backward at my life." But at the end of the day, the album is about his love for what lies ahead. "It's about me looking ahead to my future."

But what we all want to know: Does he still perform "Beautiful Soul?"

"I will never get tired of performing 'Beautiful Soul,'" he said in closing. "The reaction is always so charged up. I get this incredible energy from the audience. It's the song that started it all!"

Check out the new single below:

Yours

Music Lists

12 Black Indie Musicians to Support on Bandcamp Today

Bandcamp is waiving revenue shares today, and you should support POC artists.

Today is another Bandcamp Friday, meaning until midnight tonight, the platform will be waiving revenue shares and letting artists take 100 percent of profits.

Now more than ever, as Black Lives Matter protests occur around the world, it's extremely important to lift marginalized voices. The music industry has repeatedly erased Black voices throughout history, despite the fact that most mainstream genres were invented by Black people.


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CULTURE

New "Final Fantasy 7 Remake" Trailer Makes It Hard to Decide Whether You Should Cheer or Cry

From Red XIII to Cross-Dressing Cloud to the best Nobuo Uematsu theme song in ages, the newest FF7 Remake trailer has everything.

Square Enix

To say that Final Fantasy fans are hyped for the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake would be the understatement of the century.

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The newest Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer is a master class in video game marketing, hitting literally every note that a fan could ask for in preparation for the game's long-awaited April 10th release. But first, some history:

The original Final Fantasy VII, which came out for Playstation 1 in 1997, was a generation-defining game. For many kids growing up in the '90s, Final Fantasy VII was their first exposure to a truly epic story-based game, a 40+ hour experience that played out across three entire discs. Combining cinematic visuals, deep gameplay mechanics, and unforgettable story beats, Final Fantasy VII captivated imaginations and solidified JRPGs (Japanese Role-Playing Games) as a go-to genre in the Western hemisphere.

Not everything stands the test of time, though. While the original Final Fantasy VII's game play and narrative are still just as rich as ever, its visuals are not nearly as impressive in 2020 as they were in 1997, with the polygonal in-game character models frequently positioned as the butt of ridicule within the gaming community. That's not to say the polygon models don't have a certain charm (they absolutely do), but it's impossible to detach affection from nostalgia.

Regardless, if any game in the history of the medium has ever deserved a modern update, it's Final Fantasy VII. So, when after nearly a decade of fan demand, the Final Fantasy VII Remake was officially announced at E3 2015 with a gorgeous cinematic trailer, it seemed impossible for excitement to grow higher. Unlike many modern updates to classic games, Final Fantasy VII Remake wasn't just set to be a prettier re-skin, but rather an entirely new game built from the ground up.

It's been five long years of waiting since then––a relatively long time for game development––but anticipation has only continued to mount. Ramping up to the game's launch over the past year, Square Enix has slowly rolled out trailers revealing everything from new gameplay elements to updated designs of beloved characters like Tifa, Aerith, and Sephiroth. Each trailer has evoked the same response: "How could this possibly get any better?"

Red XIII Square Enix

Now, this newest trailer answers that question once again: "Like this."

The new trailer introduces us to many of the members of the Shinra Electric Power Company, the corrupt megacorporation responsible for much of the sociopolitical oppression in the world of Final Fantasy VII. We get the first official reveal of fan favorite character Red XIII, the talking lion-like creature who Cloud and co. rescue from the Shinra lab. We get the promise of fresh storylines with Roche, a new character who seems to view Cloud as a rival. We get summon clips of Leviathan and Chocobo. We even get an extended clip of cross-dressing Cloud, one of the original game's sillier story beats that many fans worried wouldn't translate well into the modern era. And more surprising than its inclusion, it actually seems to work within a progressive context, with Cloud's makeup artist saying, "True beauty is an expression of the heart. A thing without shame, to which notions of gender don't apply."

Oh, and let's not forget legendary Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu's new theme song for the game. "Hollow," with its downbeat tune and haunting vocals by Yosh from the band Survive Said The Prophet, imbues the entire trailer with a deep sense of sad nostalgia––a feeling that any fan of the original game will recognize as emotionally spot-on.

After every new Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer, it's hard to say whether the proper response should be cheering or crying. But that's the beauty of this game, just like its predecessor in 1997. We can do both.