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.
King Princess: “Pain”
Mikaela Strauss’s second single since the release of her debut album last year sounds delightfully out of sync. It intros with a nostalgic set of a cappella “do-do”s before sending the listener plummeting through a vortex of high-speed piano keying. The gummy plucking of a bass is all that keeps you from blasting off entirely. —Coco Romack
Phoebe Bridgers: “If We Make It Through December”
Another year, another charitable holiday release from Phoebe Bridgers. This time around, it’s a cover of Merle Haggard’s Christmas-themed “If We Make It Through December” benefiting the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles. Piano instrumentals and echo-y, layered background vocals make for a chillier take on the 1973 country classic. And Bridgers, who is bisexual, doesn’t change the pronouns in Haggard’s original lyrics, only swapping “daddy’s girl” for “my girl” in the second verse. I have no choice but to stan. —Sam Manzella
Iann Dior: “Holding On”
After conquering TikTok (and the world) with 24kGoldn on “Mood,” Iann Dior muses once again about heartbreak and lust on the quick-bite “Holding On.” Over another sticky Omer Fedi guitar line, Dior showcases the longing that’s made his tunes resonate and feel like, well, moods. —Patrick Hosken
Cautious Clay: “Dying in the Subtlety”
Cautious Clay got subtly sexy in his smooth breakout hit “Cold War,” which appeared in 2019’s Booksmart and was sampled by Taylor Swift. Now he’s struggling to manage the gray areas in “Dying in the Subtlety,” the latest single from his forthcoming debut album. The nuances of relationships – both good and bad – are put on trial as the Brooklyn-based singer contemplates his conscience and shreds on guitar. With a decidedly more alternative sound, his soulful voice sounds as comfortable weaving verbal poetry with lines like, “Love is just a passion with a four-letter name,” as it does shouting out Jason Statham. While he waves around a Guitar Hero axe, don’t be fooled: There’s nothing subtle about this multi-instrumentalist’s talent. —Carson Mlnarik
Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa: “Prisoner”
Considering the banner year nu-disco had in 2020 (see: Chromatica “Say So,” “Dynamite,” and more), it only makes sense that the year would close out with Dua and Miley leading us directly into the days of future past. In the case of “Prisoner,” it’s icy post-disco, a continuation of Lipa’s Future Nostalgia exploration, and dazzling new terrain for Cyrus. There’s plenty more where that came from on Plastic Hearts, the latter’s new album, out now. —Patrick Hosken
Big Thief: “Wolf”
“Has the feeling come to pass?” singer Adrianne Lenker questions over patient guitar. “Has the feeling come to stay?” Toward the end of Big Thief’s excellent indie album Two Hands sits this apprehensive little song about being in the calm, quiet breath of a new beginning, with no idea whether fortune or danger comes next. In the song, the titular animal plays both safe-keeper and beast, at one point rescuing its drowning prey by the mouth, blood dripping from its jaws. Like the song proves, love can be both soft and brutal. —Terron Moore
George Alice: “Teenager”
Teen angst has never sounded as smooth as it does on George Alice’s new single “Teenager.” Considering she’s 17 years old, the Australian pop newcomer is more than qualified to use the dreamy pop track to call out the “terrible solutions” dressed as “guidance” and adults who “pile on all the bullshit then tell me I’m important.” Don’t expect any big solutions, as she sardonically concludes that she’ll “just write it down on paper / I’m just a fucking teenager.” The sun-drenched visual takes us into the high school halls for tongue-in-cheek digs at out-of-touch teachers and issues that seem larger than life, making it clear this next-generationer is thinking past graduation. —Carson Mlnarik
Altın Gün: “Ordunun Dereleri”
A Turkish folk song gets re-envisioned as a sleek Michael Mann film soundtrack, thanks to Amsterdam’s Altın Gün. The band has made waves for its athletic, psych- and funk-inspired romps through music of the past, and on the ice-cold “Ordunun Dereleri,” they’ve never sounded cooler. —Patrick Hosken