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.
Serpentwithfeet ft. Sampha, Lil Silva: “Fellowship”
One of the first images we hear on “Fellowship” is a “breezy Sunday afternoon,” and that’s the vibe Serpentwithfeet continues throughout the entire tune, culminating with the wonderful chanted refrain, “I’m thankful for the love I share with my friends.” As such, Sampha and Lil Silva are here, too, piling on the hook over a dreamy and lively instrumental. It’s the first taste of Deacon, Serpentwithfeet’s new album, due out March 26. “I wanted to create something that felt calm and restrained,” the artist said in a statement. “This was my way of tapping into the energy many deacons possess.” —Patrick Hosken
Dayglow: “Close to You”
Even in 2021, the fantasy of missed connections plays out in my mind constantly, with masked hotties I’ve projected my ideals upon at supermarkets, parks, outdoor restaurants, you name it. Nothing quite matches that nervous buzz of being just close enough to someone you admire to start a conversation, despite their complete nonchalance to your existence: “You just don’t seem to wonder what you’re doing when you’re close to me,” Dayglow’s Sloan Struble mourns over happily thumping drums. The result of this one-player mind game is a cool dance-floor bop channeling that internal muttering in your head to just say something to your crush; “Close to You” makes the weighty temptation feel as bouncy and delightful as actually falling for them. —Terron Moore
Blu DeTiger: “Vintage”
A gummy bass line takes lead on “Vintage,” the latest from 21-year-old New Yorker Blu DeTiger, whose skillful Fender-flicking flung her to TikTok superstardom with “Figure It Out” last year. The guitar gives the song a retro feeling, along with an almost analog-sounding, shout-singing choir on the refrain. That’s when DeTiger admits she’s got a passion for thrifting, recycling boys until she finds one that matches her silver Balenciaga boots. —Coco Romack
Brooklyn-based alt-pop act Kinlaw makes magic out of the mundane with “Haircut,” a sublime single off their forthcoming debut album The Tipping Point. “There’s a rule,” they muse airily, “that when you cut off your hair / You let the old things go.” But Kinlaw, a queer dancer and choreographer-turned-singer-songwriter, knows nothing in life is quite that simple — and that’s a good thing. Between the track’s ethereal instrumentals, introspective lyrics, and Kinlaw’s eerily beautiful interpretative dancing in its accompanying visuals, “Haircut” makes a strong case for entertaining the what-ifs. —Sam Manzella
Arlo Parks: “Bags” (Clairo cover)
Two years after its release, Clairo’s “Bags” remains a potent mining of inscrutable attraction and confusion, all beautifully sung by someone who’s ready to be vulnerable but also terrified at that very prospect. It’s also firmly sad in the indie-rock way, pulling from some emo hallmarks. That’s what makes Arlo Parks’s new take on the tune so invigorating — over a steady and calm backbeat, the British singer-songwriter unspools the song’s drama in a completely stripped-down, late-night, turntable-spinning way. As on her new single “Hope,” and across her impressive debut LP Collapsed in Sunbeams, Parks lets her voice lead, even as it’s swaddled in piano accompaniment. The result is almost meditative, something to soundtrack your own pondering. —Patrick Hosken
Murky Waters: “Alone”
It only took a few seconds for Murky Waters’s debut single to have me hooked. A string of curious piano plucks give way to a head-bobbing beat, and then of course, his voice comes in! The L.A.-based crooner has one of those instantly believable tones, carrying a weight that the listener can feel even on simple lyrics like “I’ve been lost all alone.” The somber single might be the product of a lonely daydream, but I’m along for the ride. —Carson Mlnarik
Elle Winter: “Sad Girl Heaven”
It looks like June 2021 might not be the Hot Girl Summer we were envisioning, but I’ll settle for “Sad Girl Heaven” if New York pop singer Elle Winter is there. In her first release since debut EP Yeah, No., Winter returns more theatrical and confident than ever. Make no mistake: This dramatic, string-driven bop is an unabashed ode to toxic relationships, but Elle makes it sound so damn fun. “I miss crying, it’s exciting / I’m high when I’m low,” she begins, and suddenly I’m way deep into some unhealthy Instagram stalking. —Carson Mlnarik
Deniz Love: “Talk to Me”
Houston indie-pop singer Deniz Love has an interesting story. After an injury brought his path to professional soccer to an abrupt end, he turned to music and spirituality to find healing. Perhaps that’s why his new single “Talk to Me” sounds so heavenly. With meditative lyrics and a dreamlike chorus, Deniz asks to listen — and to be heard. As he charts the same reflective waters on his forthcoming debut EP, I’m sure his impassioned pleas won’t fall on deaf ears. —Carson Mlnarik
Bonsai Mammal, Liz: “Supermodel” (RuPaul cover)
It do take nerve to cover a RuPaul song, but electropop producer Bonsai Mammal and vocalist Liz prove they’ve got the guts and more with their sexy take on the legendary queen’s 1993 breakthrough club smash “Supermodel.” The sultry remix turns down the lights with breathy vocals and elements of ’90s house, including a fierce saxophone that really gets the groove going. It’s a fabulous homage to Ru’s original cut primed for this moment of disco revival. Shantay you stay, Liz and Bonsai Mammal! —Zach O’Connor