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.
Ariana Grande: “Six Thirty”
The string pops that help give Ari’s new Positions album its intermittent bubbles are sprinkled across the LP like pixie dust. Opener “Shut Up” is a downright baroque affair, and the pizzicato plucks of “34+35” help redouble the playful sexuality of the lyrics. But on the lovesick and worried “Six Thirty,” the fluttering violins add a sweeping grandeur — the kind that makes a line like “And you wonder, baby, if I’m gonna stay / Even if one day you lose it and go crazy” hit like a pair of wings readying for takeoff. —Patrick Hosken
Julien Baker: “Faith Healer”
When Julien Baker sings, the people listen, and “Faith Healer” — the raspy-voiced indie rocker’s new single — is no exception. The soul-baring cut is as much a song about literal addiction as it is an ode to misplaced faith. “Faith healer, come put your hands on me,” Baker croons, her vocals tinged with desperation. We all want to believe in something or someone; it’s what or whom we choose to pour our faith into that separates us. Personally, I believe that Little Oblivions, Baker’s first full-length solo release since 2017’s Turn Out the Lights, will also deliver. —Sam Manzella
Kim Petras: “Party Till I Die”
Halloween is kind of a bummer this year. Costume parties? Canceled. Trick-or-treating? Canceled. Even It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on television has been effectively canceled. But if there’s one thing we can count on, even in 2020, it’s resident spooky-season pop queen Kim Petras. The aptly titled “Party Till I Die” was quietly added to her Halloween EP Turn Off the Light, further building on her reputation as the pop’s finest purveyor of bloodthirsty bops, ghostly glitches, and hellishly fabulous lyrics. She’s serving us death on the dance floor, sex in a coffin, and partying in a graveyard all in one. Thank goodness, because we’ve never needed it more. —Carson Mlnarik
“Got venom in my lyrics / Bodies drop when I spit it,” is how Australia-via-Fiji rapper Jesswar positions her talents on this stomping juggernaut of a tune. The blows exchanged throughout the video are only part of the assault here — the rest comes from her audacious and inspiring delivery. —Patrick Hosken
Serengeti (ft. Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier): “Wasps”
Remotely created collab projects are the norm in 2020 — but few manage to capture the actual electricity of IRL studio sessions as Serengeti’s latest, With Greg from Deerhoof. As advertised, it features the Chicago rapper spilling unfettered rhymes over wonky, baroque instrumentals created by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier. Serengeti apparently laid down his vocals as soon as the music hit his inbox, lending an urgency felt on the monochromatic sprawl of “Wasps.” —Patrick Hosken
Overcoats: “No Surprises” (Radiohead cover)
New York-based electro-pop duo Overcoats have not strayed away from the political, using their platform and folksy, minimalistic sound to bring awareness around voting and to throw support behind Joe Biden. It’s no mistake that their enchanting cover of “No Surprises” arrives just days before the 2020 election. The two build on Radiohead’s sparse production and softly spoken message, putting a dreamy pop spin on the tune while its powerful message remains. As they wrote on Instagram, lyrics like “Bring down the government / They don’t, they don’t speak for us,” feel especially poignant right now, and even more so powerful as their voices build to a warm chorus at the track’s conclusion. —Carson Mlnarik