Zayn’s Bare Hymn, Kota The Friend’s Brooklyn Bop, And More Songs We Love

Zayn’s Bare Hymn, Kota The Friend’s Brooklyn Bop, And More Songs We Love

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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.

  • Zayn: “River Road”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nA6j3a10X8

    Never has Zayn’s most valuable asset — his voice — been laid as bare as on his tremendous third album, Nobody Is Listening. Across 11 scaled-back tracks, Z wisely leaves behind the cloudiness of his past to let his athletic tenor lead, only occasionally accompanied by simple guitar lines, moody keyboards, and minimal beats. But that noise is in service of the sound originating in his throat, which sounds best on the barebones closer, “River Road,” a hymn with shades of Jeff Buckley that sees Zayn arriving at a transcendent and optimistic image: “Breeze outside my window turn to color / Know that I will see the sun again.” —Patrick Hosken

  • Coin: “Let It All Out (10:05)”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPYhGRaDtO0

    Lately, I identify with lyrics that speak to coming of age, to those moments when you realize something inside of you is no longer the same, though perhaps you don’t know why. “When you love something but you’ve had enough” is the opening line and the emotional nexus of what’s happening here: Coin’s “Let It All Out” starts as a quiet moment of realization that builds into an anthemic release. There, the band finally gives into nagging doubt and comes to grips with the end of a relationship. —Terron Moore

  • Samia: “Big Wheel (Palehound Remix)”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLOnRpoQAkk

    24-year-old indie-rocker Samia dropped her debut studio album The Baby last August, so the title is hardly a misnomer. But it’s a new year now. The Baby has to make room for its younger sibling The Baby Reimagined, a new collection of remixes from 11 different artists. Palehound’s spacey, slowed-down take on “Big Wheel” is a standout. Added guitars and warped vocals create the perfect backdrop for her simmering frustration. “God, I’m really gonna blow with all this empathetic shit,” she sings. “I understand the thing you did and every reason you did it.” Also of note: The “lover in my bedroom” here is a “she,” not a “he.” I got good news, and I didn’t fight! —Sam Manzella

  • Kid Hastings: “Call Me Up”
    https://youtu.be/ZdBTNaD3-Rg

    Sexy and silly. Jazz and pop. Here, but gone. Kid Hastings plays both sides of the coin in “Call Me Up,” his first single in over a year. While the theatrical visual harkens back to The Cure and The Killers, the synth-heavy track is a mix of electronic acceleration and heavenly vocals, showcasing Hastings as an artist entirely of his own making. I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see what he does next. —Carson Mlnarik

  • Kota the Friend: “Clinton Hill”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p0CbgyM-W0

    Fresh from his 2020 album aptly titled Everything — and featuring appearances from Lupita Nyong’o, Lakeith Stanfield, Joey Badass, and more — Brooklyn rapper Kota the Friend is here to catch you up. He does it on 10 songs in 15 minutes on his new mixtape Lyrics to Go, Vol. 2 and even pauses to reflect on what’s happening in his home borough: “A lot of kids in Clinton Hill right now living through me / They see me in the street, take a pic, and then peace.” —Patrick Hosken

  • Lisa Remar: “Fell Into”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3VOXP72Cnc

    We always assume romance is going to feel magical, but you fall in love for a reason. New York indie-pop singer Lisa Remar takes a closer look at the more distressing aspects of pursuing a relationship with “Fell Into,” a sweeping, psychedelic slow jam. “Fell into the wrong hands / When it rains it pours,” she sings with a sobering voice and an especially heavy heart. The track’s trippy visual was filmed in Japan and provides a glistening background for getting lost in your thoughts. —Carson Mlnarik

  • New Radicals: “Someday We’ll Know”
    https://youtu.be/bDmA8qQKhMY

    Bucket hats are back! For ’90s kids, it was a blast from the past seeing the New Radicals reunite to perform for President Joe Biden’s inauguration celebration. The group had a big hit in 1998 with “You Only Get What You Give,” but their album Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too is filled to the brim with alt-rock gems, including the second single, “Someday We’ll Know.” It’s a somber, mid-tempo ballad for the brokenhearted, all about having faith in the future, making it a perfect soundtrack to the political moment. —Chris Rudolph

  • The Obsessives: “Lala”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7-2kFMCVGc&feature=youtu.be

    A shimmering slice of sunshine from Washington, D.C. band The Obsessives, “Lala” will stay in your head long after its three minutes are up. You’ll be doing the dishes, and without warning, your brain will summon its powerful chorus: “Everyone get down onto your hands and knees.” —Patrick Hosken

  • Guccihighwaters ft. Powfu and Sarcastic Sounds: “Hold Somebody”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BK_JvJG3dQ

    With bold swagger and a mouthful of a moniker, Guccihighwaters has carved out space for himself with sad-boy anthems like “I’m so Sick of This” and “Oh Fuck I’m Drunk.” His latest effort, featuring Powfu and Sarcastic Sounds, is another lo-fi bop centered around late-night desperation. There’s no easy fix for this kind of heartbreak, but between finger snaps and low-key drums, it’s nice to feel a little less alone. —Carson Mlnarik