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.
Olivia Rodrigo: “Drivers License”
There’s an ache on “Drivers License” that feels so real. The dreamy, Taylor Swift-approved cut from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star Olivia Rodrigo treads a trail previously trod by Lorde, on its helium-soaked bridge especially. But Rodrigo’s artfully constructed narrative feels all her own, masterfully threading a young person’s vehicular rite of passage with the echoes of heartbreak and suburban loneliness. Bet Rodrigo’s subject rues the day they kissed a writer in the dark. —Patrick Hosken
Taylor Swift: “Right Where You Left Me”
One of two bonus tracks on the deluxe edition of December’s Evermore, “Right Where You Left Me” transports listeners back to the fantastical forests of Folklore, Taylor Swift’s first foray into indie folk-pop. “Help, I’m still at the restaurant / Still sitting in a corner I haunt,” a forlorn Swift pleads in the pre-chorus, referencing a public breakup that left the song’s narrator permanently frozen in time. Folksy strings and self-aware lyrics underline tensions between the head and the heart, reality and fantasy, evolution and stagnation. It’s also a total earworm, which is to say: How dare you, Taylor! —Sam Manzella
Number One Popstar: “I Hate Running”
Becoming unhinged has never looked as fun as it does in Number One Popstar’s video for “I Hate Running.” It’s not surprising that the track and its visual go hand-in-hand, considering it’s Slut Island singer Kate Hollowell’s solo project, and that she’s put in the aesthetic work, having directed videos for Katy Perry and Sasami. Taking on the role of a self-help guru espousing the benefits of wellness – while wearing a cigarette crown – she preaches about working on “her fitness in a brand new way” over a throbbing disco beat and a spoken refrain: “Up, down, side to side / Nothing matters, we’re all gonna die.” It’s the kind of quirky pop that doesn’t take itself so seriously, though that doesn’t mean you won’t seriously love it. —Carson Mlnarik
Wild Pink: “Oversharers Anonymous”
“You’re a fucking baby,” John Ross sings, “but your pain is valid, too.” On a song the Wild Pink leader says is in part “loosely about the confusing nature of social media,” no better line could be evoked to encapsulate our digital selves and our endless gripes played to a legions of invisible followers. And yet, it’s just a tweet-sized moment in a grand heartland patchwork of a tune complete with sweeping violin and images of the open American west. —Patrick Hosken
As far as boy bands go, 19&You might have the most unique come-together story ever. The four-piece met when producer Noah Taylor flew to Australia to follow a girl and met bandmates Cameron Graves, Jackson Leitch, and Liam Wallis. The latest taste of their forthcoming debut EP is “Bored!,” a slick and catchy banger that finds its roots in today’s edgier pop and alternative sounds. There’s a bit of sass overcompensating for the track’s vulnerable heart, which questions whether a lover is in it for the long haul or just bored. Thankfully, this bop is thrilling the whole way through. —Carson Mlnarik
Hannah Hausman: “Will I Ever Feel Like This Again”
After a pre-COVID virus forced her to stay quiet following the viral success – no pun intended – of 2018’s “Lost in Brooklyn,” Hannah Hausman returns swinging with sugary but sad new single “Will I Ever Feel Like This Again.” Over introspective, echoing beats and synths connected to her heartstrings, the L.A.-based indie-pop singer lets her psyche wander around a relationship she has no business being in until her musings reach trippy proportions. Considering the subject matter, the track’s abrupt ending only adds meaning – and has us eagerly waiting for more. —Carson Mlnarik
MF Doom: “Gas Drawls”
It’s not the most infamous “Black Cow” sample — that one comes courtesy of Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz — but “Gas Drawls” still showcases how much cool oozes out of the Steely Dan catalog. That’s thanks to Doom, a master musician as much as a legendary New York MC, whose death was announced late last year. On this 1999 cut, he constructs a world of sleaze and intrigue around the original song’s breakdown, using his bars to shout out pizza, cash, and his Doctor Doom-inspired persona in a single couplet: “The supervillain cooler than a million, I be chillins / Still quick to slice squares like Sicilians.” It’s just one of the dozens of magisterial moments littered across his discography that’ll crash a big, dumb smile on your face. —Patrick Hosken