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. And all March long, we’re celebrating Women’s History Month by spotlighting women making music that feels essential to right now.
Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.
St. Vincent: “Pay Your Way in Pain”
Pain never sounded quite as alluring as it does in this ‘70s-inspired single from St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark. A funky, sultry cut, “Pay Your Way in Pain” sounds the way indulging a forbidden fantasy feels. It also makes for a delectable first taste of Daddy’s Home, the Grammy-winning musician’s forthcoming new album. Don’t wait up for Daddy, though. She’s scheduled to arrive on May 14. —Sam Manzella
Chika: “My Future” (Billie Eilish Cover)
The “future’s looking dreamy” for the Alabama rapper Chika, who celebrated her Best New Artist Grammy nomination by covering a track by last year’s winner, Billie Eilish’s slow-burning “My Future.” Known for her viral freestyles, she put one of her signature quick-lipped verses where Eilish’s zonked, distorted musings once were for a jazzy, upbeat outlook on what’s to come. “My present is moving so fast that each passing moment is practically the future already,” Chika, whose EP Once Upon a Time is out today (March 12), said in a statement. “And I’m in love with the ride I’m on.” —Coco Romack
Rosé: “On the Ground”
It’s here! Finally! With her debut single, “On the Ground,” Blackpink’s Rosé taps into her acoustic roots, but with a modern, edgy twist, perfectly balancing her two worlds. Sonically gorgeous, Rosé challenges herself on this seemingly personal anthem about the ramifications of fame, love lost, and the realization that being humble and present is the most important thing, and that “everything [she] needs is on the ground.” Accompanied by an ultra-glam music video filled with luscious florals, beautiful looks (are we surprised?), and fireworks lighting up the sky, Rosé makes her presence known, proving that she can stand out among any industry competitor. For a solo project as highly anticipated as this one, Rosé does not disappoint. Blackpink is — and I cannot stress this enough — truly in your area. —Sarina Bhutani
Emily Vu: “Lila”
A follow-your-dreams anthem that comes with a video focusing on the struggles (and the cost) of actually chasing them, “Lila” boasts a chorus that’s as big as the will to thrive. Newcomer Emily Vu says the song is “about how shitty it’s been” living and grinding away in Los Angeles. For a few minutes, she makes it sound aspirational anyway. —Patrick Hosken
Allison Ponthier: “Cowboy”
Brooklyn-based singer Allison Ponthier is exploring the Wild West of her sexuality in the new cosmic country-pop track, “Cowboy,” from her forthcoming EP. With lyrics like “Saw the cutters through barbed wire / I didn’t know I could come out,” the Texas transplant adds to the canon of queer cowfolk tunes like Willie Nelson’s “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other.” As if that wasn’t enough to get your spurs spinning, the accompanying music video features Ponthier strumming through various desert landscapes before eventually being abducted by aliens, giving off major Madonna “Don’t Tell Me” vibes — if that video had been directed by B-movie maker Ed Wood. Giddy up, space cowboys! —Chris Rudolph
Horsegirl: “Ballroom Dance Scene”
Chicago teenage trio Horsegirl recall the early noisiness of Girlpool as much as the deliberate insularity of Belle and Sebastian, creating a forcefield of sound both intrusive and just out of focus. The music’s as impressionistic as its DIY abstract video, a fitting document for a band still defining itself. —Patrick Hosken
Sizzy Rocket: “The World Is Burning”
Static and a melancholic piano melody set the tone for “The World Is Burning,” the latest single from L.A.-based indie rocker Sizzy Rocket. “Don’t you know you’re killing me? / And the heartache is like a pill to me,” Rocket croons. “I’ll keep myself high for you.” She’s jaded, sure, but I think she might be onto something. Surrendering has a negative connotation; in love and romance, it’s sometimes “worth the hurting.” —Sam Manzella
Lexi Jayde: “Newbury Park”
A pastel sunset ride through SoCal, “Newbury Park” is less breezy than its title suggests, instead finding Lexi Jayde tending to a recent heartache. It’s dripping with Fleetwood Mac reverence, pop-culture nods (“you ruined Radiohead”), profane hooks (“fuck you for wasting my love”), and references to driving around — making it the kind of potent, shareable hit that shouts 2021. —Patrick Hosken
Lucy Dacus: “Thumbs”
Lucy Dacus began playing the devastating “Thumbs” live in late 2018. When she did, she’d ask the audience to please not film it; as such, it remained a fan-favorite communal song that existed only inside venue walls. Now, a recorded version is here, and Dacus has let those barriers fall. Listen, and you might discover why. —Patrick Hosken