The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?
Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by genre and can include anything — it’s a snapshot of what’s on our minds and what sounds good. We’ll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too.
Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.
Taylor Swift: “Gold Rush”
Now that she’s found her Lover, Taylor Swift has been especially tight-lipped penning tracks about her personal life. They’re still there, but you just have to look a little closer, and her Evermore update seems to be Jack Antonoff co-write “Gold Rush.” While she evokes the same color used to tie herself to Joe Alwyn on Folklore’s “Invisible String,” Tay looks at gold through a different lens this time: jealousy. “I don’t like anticipating my face in a red flush / I don’t like that anyone would die to feel your touch,” she blurts, rushing through an upbeat chorus. Even in the hyper specificity of her “Eagles T-shirt hanging from the door” and her lover’s “contrarian” dinner party antics, she still finds a way to make overcoming the green-eyed monster feel relatable. And when she name-drops “folklore?” Chef’s kiss. —Carson Mlnarik
This one starts with a sharp exhale from Proper. vocalist Erik Garlington, who seconds later mentions Sandra Bland and poses a harrowing question: “If I was next, how long would you protest for me?” The music belies its inherent anger, nestled in warbling guitars and drowsy melodies that eventually yield to a rousing climax. But the sentiment is clear, as is Garlington’s exhaustion. “America is a fucked up place to live for those of us that aren’t straight, white men,” the singer wrote to accompany the song. “‘Don’t’ is about how Black people in this country lack that luxury, and realizing that we might never have it.” —Patrick Hosken
Hudi’s solid yet brief debut EP Tsar — seven songs at a total 14 minutes — successfully traverses a wide soundscape of emotional trap-influenced hip-hop through both song and rap. But the record’s most brutal moment is also its most thrilling: The bass on “Woodchuck!” hits and rattles while Hudi sets bars that snarl and drawl at all the right moments. It’s pure ear candy; it might be his least sentimental moment on the EP, but it’s by far the strongest showcase of his sticky flow and massive potential. —Terron Moore
Wolf: “High Waist Jeans”
Like you, Wolf is also sick of 2020’s ceaseless bullshit. The emerging alt-pop act (née Julia Wolf) soundtracks that frustration with enviable ease in “High Waist Jeans,” her hip-hop-inspired new single. Each dig at her mediocre ex is smarter and more scathing than the last, making for vibey diss track that’s as sophisticated as it is slick (“I’m am no Orpheus, I’m not looking back twice / I be heating up while you watchin from the side”). I see you, girl! —Sam Manzella
Troye Sivan, Kacey Musgraves (ft. Mark Ronson): “Easy”
2020 has been anything but “Easy,” but that doesn’t matter to Troye Sivan and Kacey Musgraves who have teamed up for a remix of the standout track from Troye’s 2020 EP, In a Dream. Hearing Kacey on a new song is always cause for a celebration, but instead of contributing her signature country flair, Kacey and Troye — with help of producer Mark Ronson — dial up the dreamy sad synth-pop vibes of the original. Their vocals meld perfectly, with Kacey sounding right at home, especially when she sings the word “darling” like a warm lullaby, briefly reminding you that it’ll all be alright. —Chris Rudolph
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
Rico Nasty: “Candy”
In a time when everything feels exhausting and discouraging, allow yourself the sheer sonic joy of hearing Rico Nasty’s voice crackle and stretch as it reaches its limits. “Can you feel me?” the visionary repeatedly asks to punctuate the opening track of her long-awaited debut, Nightmare Vacation. As her vocal cords fry under the strain, the message gets clearer and clear: Are you fucking listening? —Patrick Hosken
Capital Soirée: “Pop Band”
It’s hard not to immediately love a song so purely and wholly drenched in guitars and new wave synth, especially one as cooly earnest as this track from new band Capital Soirée. The song is filled with tongue-in-cheek references to the poor misfortune of being in a pop band, paired with a video wherein the lanky-limbed, long-haired trio owns their own lanky-limbed, long-haired coolness. —Terron Moore
Christian Blue: “Leave It Unlocked”
L.A. multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Christian Blue gives psychedelics a run for their money in his funky debut single, “Leave It Unlocked.” Bouncing between spitting bars and sticky melodies, and taking his voice high and low, not a second is wasted in the two-minute track. Matched in trippiness by its visual alone, the lyric “always break the box I’m locked in” feels oddly prescient considering this up-and-comer clearly refuses to box himself in. —Carson Mlnarik
Chicago’s Moontype, college pals who started a fuzzy three-piece together, take their time unspooling the action on “Ferry,” a sad song about the slow loss of a friendship. I like the crunch of the guitar, as ever, but I like the space even more, the lingering strums and snare hits that allow vocalist Margaret McCarthy’s moony (pun intended) intonations to take hold. —Patrick Hosken