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.
Taylor Swift: "Lover"
Taylor Swift hasn’t named an album after a song since 2012’s “Red,” so to say “Lover,” the title track from her seventh album out next week, had big shoes to fill would be an understatement. She’s been teasing the song with Easter eggs since the “ME!” music video, and no surprise here: she delivered.
“Lover” finds Taylor at perhaps her softest yet, with an atmospheric production reminiscent of an empty bar, or club. She’s serenading her lover with a vow of dedication that feels and sounds timeless. Her high notes are whispered secrets under the covers, the drum is a steady heartbeat. Her most confessional moments spill out through one-liners in true Swiftian fashion, as she wonders aloud, “Have I known you 20 seconds or 20 years?” The absolute highlight is the bridge, where Swift herself said she “was really able to go to Bridge City.” “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue / All’s well that ends well to end up with you,” she sings. Her emotions feel big, even when her voice gets small. In a way, she sounds like she never has before, but she’s never been in love like this. – Carson Mlnarik
Miley Cyrus: "Slide Away"
Miley surprised fans with a new single at midnight today (August 16) that seems to be telling her side of the story about her relationship and recent split with Liam Hemsworth. The song is saying goodbye to someone who, according to the lyrics, she’s grown out of. “Slide Away” is 2019’s version of Miley’s 2008 “Bottom of the Ocean,” and the heartbreak is just as real. Miley sings over a somber, melodic, vibey beat, “So won't you slide away / back to the ocean / I’ll go back to the city lights,” a far cry from her 2017 “Malibu” lyrics that read, “I never came to the beach or stood by the ocean / I never sat by the shore under the sun with my feet in the sand / but you brought me here and I'm happy that you did.”
Miley’s vocals are smooth and silvery but strong and passionate, kind of reminiscent of her sound on her 2010 album, Can’t Be Tamed. “Slide Away” is deep, sad and definitive. It’s the kind of bop that you passionately sing over your steering wheel in the car when you’re in your feelings. So let it out! Miley, we’re with you. – Alissa Godwin
Alessia Cara: "Rooting For You"
There’s certainly no shortage of songs about true love and heartbreak, but what about songs that sit in that awkward, in-between space when you’ve just realized that the person you like is actually, well, a total jerk? Look no further than Alessia Cara’s “Rooting For You” — a sassy new single that fearlessly calls out her summer fling for making her feel “like the elephant in every room” she walks into. “Damn, why you gotta be so cold in the summertime? / I was really rooting for you / We were really rooting for you," she sings in the chorus. And yeah, we’ve all been there.
The truth is, we’ve all rooted for people who’ve later proven themselves to be unworthy of our time and effort. And while we may (or may not) have called out that particular person for their wrongdoings IRL, Cara simply articulates it better than we ever could in this nearly three-minute-long bop. Whether she’s clapping back at their blatant phoniness in lines like “Now I see you’re havin’ so much fun with everyone / You had so much fun makin’ fun of,” or being vulnerable by admitting that she’s heartbroken, but “a little disappointed,” the bouncy track makes it crystal clear that, although it may sometimes seem like it, we’re not the only ones who’ve wasted energy on those who are undeserving of it. – Jordyn Tilchen
30H Black: "All Talk"
At two minutes and 47 seconds into the video for "All Talk," 3OH Black leans out of a kitchen in a goofy slow-motion maneuver, holding a pistol. You know what comes next. There are four people intruding on his personal space. After the crackle of a gunshot, he says, "Now there's just three." Another crackle. "Now there's just two." Another two crackles. "Now it's just me." This 11-second moment has been memed to oblivion. It's been used to describe everything from innocent situations like teaching kids about math, to odder ones like simulating a similar animation from V.A.T.S. But aside from this brief laugh, many, including myself, wondered if the song had any real value or if it was, yet another, viral moment throwaway.
It turns out that yes, "All Talk" is more than the clip suggests. 3OH Black isn't a punchline purist or a melody-obsessed rapper like many of his rising peers. He's a relaxed lyricist whose energy and style make up for any other artistic shortcomings. And it works. Especially because "All Talk" feels like a continuous build-up; there are more spaces between words at the start of the song than compared to the end that sees it become a frantic storm of trap lyricism. It's always hard to top viral moments, especially clips that become your tagline, but 30H Black's skillset should see him outlive his hilarious countdown from four. – Trey Alston
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour: "Heart Attack"
Let's get one thing straight: Every single song The Asteroids Galaxy Tour puts out is a certified banger. But I've been feeling this one ever since I first heard it, like many of you likely did, in the Netflix pic The Kissing Booth. This colorful, psychedelic bop plays on exactly how it feels to be "head over heels," as the song says, for that certain someone in your life. Its raucous, manic energy surrounds you and lifts you to heights you never thought you could reach, and then hits you like a brick with a staccato chorus. Oh, and you won't be able to get it out of your head. Sorry, not sorry for getting it buried in there for the next week or so. – Brittany Vincent
BODEGA: "Shiny New Model"
Brooklyn-based post-punkers BODEGA are back with a catchy new bop that finds the band evolving from their lo-fi roots to polished pop-rock, all the while keeping the group's trademark cynical outlook on modern life. Between the infectious hooks of "Shiny New Model" is an allegory about the concepts of disposability and conspicuous consumption, all from the perspective of walking around in an actual bodega. (Which is another name for a convenience store, for those of you who live outside of New York City.) The band's new EP, also titled Shiny New Model, is out on October 11. – Bob Marshall
RALPH: “No Muss No Fuss”
Before she heads out on tour with Carly Rae Jepsen this fall, Toronto singer RALPH has a few things to get off her (fabulously vintage-clothed) chest. Namely, why do ex-boyfriends seem to have a sixth sense that moves them closer to you just as you’re finally pulling away? That’s the question at the heart of her new single “No Muss No Fuss,” but make no mistake: There will be no mulligans here. “I wish you well / But there’s no chance in hell,” she confidently coos over a bubbly dance beat. It’s a sassy dance-pop earworm with a sprinkle of “thank u, next”-style graciousness, and a must-hear for anyone whose ex is threatening their hot girl summer vibes. Say it with me now: “I want no muss, no fuss, no us.” – Madeline Roth
Bootychaaain ft. Sickboyrari: "4L"
Bootychaaain and Sickboyrari are a match made in an alien and alarming netherworld. Finding information about the two rappers is next to impossible; Bootychaaain has no visible Internet trail aside from her SoundCloud releases; the sole nugget of Sickboyrari information resides on Genius, where he's simply listed as a rapper from Richmond, Virginia. It's rumored that the pair have been dating for the last few years, which may explain their dizzying and intense artistry. Abstract rap might be the best way to describe it, gothic and dark while not necessarily angry, but mysteriously subtle.
On "4L," their new collaboration, the two rappers dive in murky pools of melody that sound like the end credits of a hellish nightmare. Sickboyrari's stretched out voice sounds like it's yawning, as he stumbles through the chorus and first verse, while Bootychaaain cleans up with an impish delivery, rapping about murder as if she's biting her lip while she's doing it. They're a couple in sync on the mic and off, and possibly two of the scariest artists you'll listen to today. – Trey Alston