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.
Lana Del Rey: "Doin Time"
"Doin' Time" is the best possible Sublime song for Lana to cover, and she takes the breezy, surrealistic anthem and makes it her own. Her signature style is all over the track, imbuing the verses and chorus with a yearning and bittersweet swagger that replicates the feeling of the original, retaining the unique musical hook without relying on samples to bring it to life. It wouldn't have been out of place on one of Lana's albums, and if you told a new fan it was her writing and composition alone, they'd almost certainly believe you. Lana did it again, kids, and now I find myself trying to figure out which version of the song I like better. I'm just glad she didn't bother with the edited "Summertime" instead. —Brittany Vincent
5 Seconds of Summer: "Easier"
"Charlie Puth doing Nine Inch Nails karaoke," is one way to sell you on 5SOS's latest. ("A cave-pop summer stomp" is another — you choose.) You can hear so much of Puth, who gets a writing credit here alongside Ryan Tedder and some Youngblood collaborators, in frontman Luke Hemmings's gilded falsetto. Meanwhile, drummer Ashton Irwin stomps out a beat recalling Trent Reznor's eternally dark and sexy "Closer," which the band said served as sonic inspiration. The video makes things explicit: Hemmings is bound as he delivers the song's fragile questions, "Is it easier to stay? Is it easier to go?" It's a little more complicated than Reznor's unvarnished desire to "fuck you like an animal," but it'll do. —Patrick Hosken
Steve Lacy: "Playground"
Steve Lacy's colorful world of funk is timeless; you can almost hear Prince's voice egging on the young guitarist to lose himself in the moment and float towards the purple clouds. "Playground" is loose and runny like eggs over easy eggs and at the same time, its warmth scrambles it. It's definitely influenced by the waters of Lake Minnetonka, something that Lacy himself revealed in a recent interview with Zane Lowe. Where Prince zoomed out with his music's increasingly zany spaces, Lacy finds a pathway and dissects it, tightening his song's focus like strings on a hoodie. Lacy's vocals are harsh at junctures, but that's the point. It's about the energy that the collective instrument – the music and the vocals – brings. Everything, from the thwap of the cheery snares to the windy guitars in the back, sits perfectly. "Playground" is the final single from Lacy's debut studio album, Apollo XXI, out today. It's just a piece of this funk that the LP will zoom in and focus on. —Trey Alston
That feeling you get when you're driving around with your hand out the window doing that little wavy thing as the wind blows against it? I have no idea what it's called, but somehow Australian singer-songwriter Harriette Pilbeam, a.k.a. Hatchie, has captured it on "Obsessed." The breezy dream-pop track, my vote for Song of Spring 2019, gets even cuter when backed by its music video, which follows Hatchie and her bandmates through the ups, downs, and shenanigans of touring. Hatchie's debut album, Keepsake, is out June 21. —Bob Marshall
Ty Dolla $ign ft. J. Cole: "Purple Emoji"
People forget about J. Cole’s desperate verse on Miguel's 2011 heartbreak anthem "All I Want Is You," where he made real what Miguel hinted at. He was desperate for another chance to make a fed-up partner happy. His words were crisp, not flowery, and clever. Yet when the announcement that Ty Dolla $ign's new single, "Purple Emoji," would have J. Cole on it, jokes flew about what kind of overly serious themes he'd bring to Ty's presumed world of sex. If you hadn't heard "All I Want Is You," you'd be forgiven in thinking that Cole would muddle the message of "Purple Emoji."
It's a good thing that "Purple Emoji" isn't actually about sex – it's about true love. And it's also equally good that J. Cole channels his fascination with the subject matter instead of going for the thematic jugular, making his verse a personal look at his own relationship. "Purple Emoji" is a soulful, sample-driven win, one where the honesty in the vocals reflects the sheer warmth of the disembodied, friendly moans. Ty and Cole paint loving pictures of not just what love looks like, but respect, too. Cole is blessed for his black angel and the fact that she gave birth to one of his kids. He's ready for another. And you'll shed a tear listening to it. —Trey Alston
A.C.E: "Under Cover"
After last summer's "Take Me Higher," I was expecting something similarly soft and colorful from A.C.E. for their latest single. In retrospect, I should have seen "Under Cover" coming. After all, this is a K-pop group that swung for the fences — in hot pants! — with their hardstyle debut song "Cactus." Somehow, "Under Cover" goes even harder; it pushes those boundaries even more. It's an in-your-face assortment of genres with hip-hop-driven verses, heavy electric guitars, and an electrifying chorus that completely knocks you out. The members are equally as confident in the music video, blurring antiquated gender lines in heavy makeup, crop tops, pigtails, and glitter brows. "Under Cover" is a perfect example of what can make K-pop so thrilling: It's a song that's completely unafraid to be a million things at once. And the same can even be said for A.C.E, a group that's gotten this far by being unabashedly themselves. — Crystal Bell
Bryce Vine ft. YG: "La La Land"
Chill vibes, sunlit orange-hued days, and nothing to do but waste time – California isn't a vacation destination as much as it's a state of mind in this new track from Bryce Vine. Since appearing on The Glee Project in 2011, the singer has grown into his own. You probably already recognize his deep vocals and meditative beats from last year's viral hit "Drew Barrymore."
"La La Land" finds Bryce at his all-time catchiest. His soft whispered invitation to "waste your time with me in California" will stay with you long after the first listen – I heard the tail end of track for the first time in an Uber Pool and was obsessively searching the line a minute later – and his ringing chorus of la la las just sound like a lazy afternoon on Venice Beach. In the verses, Bryce admires a lover living the luxe life with shout outs to the richer side of Cali livin', and YG adds a bit of bounce with a verse about some noncommittal fun — because if we're just wasting time, why not? Press play and close your eyes. That Cali vacay is just 3:11 away. —Carson Mlnarik
Emotional Oranges: "Corners of My Mind"
Emotional Oranges credit themselves with making music that comes from a real place. Their music is a subtle mix of lo-fi and Jazz, and if the pleasant buzz you feel when you're slightly tipsy had a sound, their music would be it. "Corners of My Mind" is a breakup song that makes a soft break from the "undone" mold typically found in songs about love and loss. The mellow groove that takes the listener through the self-care aspect of a breakup is the search for peace and the desire to reset; the loss of control you experience in the shadow of a love gone awry. Ultimately, the song reaches a point of resolve that reveals how moving on is a necessary albeit difficult choice: "Can't let you dim my light, got control of it this time," the chorus crescendos. In a refreshing twist, the song doesn't dismiss the failed love completely. It simply succumbs to the notion that some love affairs never leave you completely — they just find a new home in the corners of the mind. —Virginia Lowman