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.
Ed Sheeran ft. Yebba: "Best Part Of Me"
Longtime fans of Ed Sheeran have embraced "I Don't Care" (featuring Justin Bieber) and "Blow" (with Bruno Mars and Chris Stapleton), but that doesn't mean they haven't been yearning for more dreamy love ballads à la x's "Tenerife Sea" and "Thinking Out Loud." Fortunately, the singer came through with just that on "Best Part of Me," which serves as a reminder to us all that even at our most unloveable, there are people who love us wholeheartedly and without any conditions. "She loves me, she loves me / Why the hell she love me / When she could have anyone else?" he sings on the chorus before listing off several of his flaws, including his tendency of running late to his habit of misplacing his phone. But it's when Yebba chimes in with her smooth vocals midway through the track that we realize this is a story about imperfect people in a near-perfect relationship. Over angelic instrumentals, Sheeran and Yebba have managed to string together words that any self-deprecating individual can relate to: You are flawed, but you are so very loved. —Jordyn Tilchen
Oso Oso: "Impossible Game"
"Oso" might mean "bear" in Spanish, but Jade Lilitri has no explicitly ursine ambitions: He chose the name for his musical project simply because he likes the curves of the letters. Likewise, Oso Oso has amassed fiercely loyal fans who like the way Lilitri twists a guitar riff; they also see their own obsessive musical appetites reflected back in how he named the opener on his debut album "Track 1, Side A" (and followed up with The Yunahon Mixtape). On "Impossible Game," Lilitri wraps another tasty 2002 Vagrant riff around forlorn lyrics like "Well sometimes you get what you give / But most people just take it." It's not quite a bop, but it may just be another entry in the ever-growing collection of 2019 sad bangers. Oso Oso's third album, Basking in the Glow, is out August 16 on Triple Crown. —Patrick Hosken
Beyoncé is the perfect person to play Nala in the remake of The Lion King. Like the computer-generated lioness she portrays, Beyoncé is fierce yet gentle, able to assert her power over music as her own version of the Pride Lands. In addition to voicing the character, the singer has unveiled a rousing record, "Spirit," that channels the strength of a lion in a roar that can be heard from the tops of mountains to the bottom of the seas. It's gospel adjacent and mixes the call of Heaven with the soils of Earth for a mesmerizing experience brought forth through elements of African music.
It opens with the Swahili phrase "Uishi kwa mda mrefu mfalme," which roughly translates to "Long live the king." Piercing male voices, like the first rays of orange sunlight, open the song up, followed by Beyoncé's deep, windy voice. She delicately sings before a mix of drums, sleigh bells, and a chorus of voices come in leading to a booming refrain. If it feels larger than life, it's because the lyrics push for heavenly acceptance and endless optimism. "Watch the light lift your heart up / Burn your flame through the night," she sings like a divine matriarch. The slow-moving hymn is an indication that her accompanying album The Lion King: The Gift will be authentic representations of African music. How many tears will be shed in the theater? We'll find out when the film drops on July 18. —Trey Alston
Jaafar Jackson: "Got Me Singing"
If you didn't spend your summer weekends on the dance floor, did you really have a summer at all? Jaafar Jackson's first single, "Got Me Singing," was made for dancing to and, in this case, singing, too. Its hard-hitting percussion and Jackson's "doo-bop" vocal beat seem to convince your feet to move before your mind even has a chance to catch the rhythm. Produced by Hardy Indiigo, who has worked with Madonna and Carlos Santana, the song, like the video, has international flare and incorporates the irresistible musical heat from its genre inspiration: Brazilian baile funk paired with '90s house. It's an amalgamation of pop, R&B, and soul with Caribbean undertones that blend together seamlessly under the command of Jaafar's silky voice. Pack your bags and bring a fan and an extra pair of dancing shoes, because we're heading to Brazil! —Virginia Lowman
Bitch!! VINCINT is at it again with yet another certifiable bop. I want to bust through my non-existent French doors and sing this twirling around in an afternoon summer rain. "Say" is a pure pop plea to a lover to just say those "three little words." VINCINT assures his lover, "Promise baby that if you say it / I'll never let you go." And let me tell you the key change at that lyric (3:03 to be exact) SENT ME. Theses vocals, VINCINT!! Hell, I'm gonna fall in love with someone who has a problem saying "I love you" just so I can sing this to them. Jokes aside, you don't need a lover to twirl in your office chair or out in a park while blasting this nostalgic and infectious track. —Daniel Head
Lower Dens: "I Drive"
If Lower Dens's first two singles off their forthcoming fourth album The Competition are any indication, this new LP is going to be amazing. The second, "I Drive," is a propulsive synth-pop track that songwriter Jana Hunter says is inspired by family. "Like a lot of queer and trans people, I've learned that real family is made, and it isn't necessarily blood," Hunter says. "This song is about leaving behind obligations to people who don't love or care about you, being with and about people who do." The Competition is out September 6. —Bob Marshall
Catfish and the Bottlemen: "Longshot"
I never knew how much I loved this song until around the fourth time I heard it. "Every once in a while, the little things make me smile / As if one of our long shots paid off" is a sentiment that makes me want to get up and cheer every time I hear it. Though it was penned about taking a chance on something and having it pay off, it communicates so much more than that to me. There's a warmth and comfort in the song that radiates through the opening notes through the end when I stream it through my car speakers or belt it out on Rock Band. It feels like I'm immediately being transported somewhere deep, dank, and familiar – my favorite mall in the '90s or the K-Mart that hasn't closed in Ohio that found me lost in nostalgia for hours. Something about it takes me back to a time in my life when things were simpler. I can't explain why. I can say, however, that I absolutely love this song. —Brittany Vincent
Miller: "Drunken Butterflies"
Hot summer nights were made for lush, buttery songs like Miller's "Drunken Butterflies." The soft piano chords laced over sugary instrumentals and a steady bass lend themselves to a vibe that is nostalgic and almost dream-like. "Drunken butterflies in the sky / We ain't got no mission / But to live our best lives now," Miller croons over the beat, instantly evoking a carefree summer romance or, let's be honest, any of your undergrad years. As the mercury rises and summer gets into full swing, we're all on a mission to live our best lives, and who doesn't love to have a good time talking shit over drinks with your bae (or your besties, if you're partial to a #HotGirlSummer). One of seven tracks from the Houston native's first EP, Ellipses, "Drunken Butterflies" is all the inspiration you need to experience an unbridled summer, because as Miller reminds us, "We ain't lookin' for no one's permission. Don't need no one to show us how." —Virginia Lowman
Baekhyun: "UN Village"
Within the first 30 seconds of "UN Village," Korean crooner Baekhyun invites us into his exclusive world. Known primarily as a main vocalist of EXO — one of the most successful K-pop boy groups of all time — Baekhyun made his official solo debut this week with "UN Village," an enticingly smooth R&B track off his first EP City Lights. While B-sides like the sensual "Stay Up" (featuring rapper Beenzino) and the confident pop-R&B stand-out "Betcha" showcase his potential as a solo performer, "UN Village" is the perfect introduction to Baekhyun, not as a member of EXO but as a singular artist. It shows us a new side — a more relaxed side — of the singer, as he beckons his lover, almost teasingly, to lay with him under the moonlight on "Hannam-dong UN Village hill."
UN Village is a gated luxury community in Seoul, a place where famous people — some of them even K-pop idols — call home. So, essentially, he's inviting you over to "whisper love into your ears" while you both relax and chill under the stars. As far as debut songs go, it doesn't get more personal (or alluring) than that. And I, for one, would like to take him up on that offer. —Crystal Bell