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.
Jimmy Eat World: "All The Way (Stay)"
Legendary emo veterans Jimmy Eat World just announced a new album, and with it comes a single that would make Bruce Springsteen blush. The Boss is all over "All The Way (Stay)," from lyrics that wax poetic about finding romance in bars to the mid-tempo, shout-along chorus to the truly incredible sax solo that ends the track on a literal high note. And just like Bruce, frontman Jim Adkins is working on confronting aging head on, singing, "It doesn't matter how often or how old / It starts with an awkward beginning / I believe that what I've learned has worth / And what I choose to do means something." Surviving, the band's tenth (!) studio album is out October 18. —Bob Marshall
Sasha Sloan: "Smiling When I Die"
It's easy to fall into the same old monotonous patterns. But time passes whether we like it or not, something Sasha Sloan understands so well on "Smiling When I Die." Despite her otherworldly voice, which coats the track like a warm blanket, the lyrics burn. Her words are a reminder that while childhood friends are having kids and cheers-ing on island vacations, you’ve settled nicely into the status quo.
"Yesterday felt like my first day working / Now I'm not the youngest on the clock," Sloan sings, realizing that time has somehow slipped through her fingertips. "Been a while since days were just for burning / It's been a while since I threw back a shot." But Sloan does more than just sulk about the passage of time. On the chorus, she creates a bucket list: "I'ma call my mother / It's been a while since I've been home / Take a trip in the summer / See all the lights in Tokyo." The song is a wake-up call, and if the lyrics are any indication, Sloan has woken up. —Jordyn Tilchen
K.Flay is already one of my favorite artists, partly because she sounds so much unlike any other female artist on the radio — or anywhere else, for that matter. This tune is a plea to another friend to be her "sister," or her girlfriend to lean on in her time of need. I don't have many close friends, and often find it difficult to commiserate with other women my age, and I know the one person I consider my "sister" in the way this song suggests is the same kind of friend K.Flay had in mind when she wrote this song. When I first heard it, I immediately sent it to my best friend, smiling to myself. I hope she knows how much she means to me, because I'd do all the things in the song for her and more. —Brittany Vincent
Kaleb Mitchell: "Get It"
Growing up, before Pokémon Go, Gatorade commercials were the key to getting our generation up and going. On top of athletes glowing with colorful sweat, these black-and-white mini flicks were always scored with songs that exploded with exercising energy. Ten years later, they're still on my gym playlist. In another 10 years, even if it doesn’t end up in a Gatorade commercial, I imagine I'll be listening to Kaleb Mitchell's "Get It." There's so much panting, breathing, screaming, and confidence patched together that the track feels like a volcano ready to erupt. Over and over, Mitchell threatens the microphone: "I've got to get up and get it!" and you shrink into the shadows, surprised at his animosity towards the idea of failure. LeBron James could stretch on the sidelines in slow motion to it, but yet it's easy to imagine someone smashing ceramic vases with huge sledgehammers with this playing in the background. Is that versatility? While I ponder that, I'm going to listen to this and go get this set of lifts in. —Trey Alston
Drop everything because MIKA IS BACK WITH NEW MUSIC!!!!! It's been four long years since we were sonically blessed with No Place in Heaven, but Mika has finally returned and is dropping bop after bop leading up to the release of his newest, My Name Is Michael Holbrook. His latest, "Tomorrow," is a gorgeous pop ballad that puts a modern spin on a thematically classic song. Lyrically, Mika perfectly describes the tropes of millennial overthinking in dating, late-night hangouts, deciphering emoji nuance, and more. He sadly hits the nail on the head, and the song might be too relatable when he sings, "Oh, who gives a shit about tomorrow?"
In typical Mika fashion, "Tomorrow" makes a perfect storm of a song, finding just the right balance between emotion and entertainment. If you're not already excited for the album (it's fine — you're entitled to your [wrong] opinion), this song may just change your mind. My Name Is Michael Holbrook drops October 4. —Sarina Bhutani
"EndFormat" is a near-perfect R&B bop and dance-floor banger hybrid, and once you listen through it, you'll probably find yourself playing it again. It's the final track on the new EP InFormat from David Halsey, a.k.a. Petticoat, and Halsey tells V magazine that there's a good reason he sequenced his project the way he did. "I needed to balance the cynicism and the celebration of the 21st-century sentiment on the EP with another happy and hopeful song," he says. "[It] ends the project on a light and hopeful note." —Bob Marshall
Sabrina Claudio: "Truth Is"
On the heels of the Bonnie and Clyde-style love story "Holding the Gun," Sabrina Claudio has slowed down and opened up for her latest drop. On "Truth Is," the title track to her upcoming album, she whispers her feelings like a warmly guarded secret: "Truth is I'm dishonest / 'Cause I'm always scared to get too deep / Truth is that I want this / 'Cause I always see you in my sleep." The intimacy is dialed up a notch in the accompanying, self-shot lyric video, which zeroes in on Claudio’s face (so much so, that it'll make you want her to drop that skincare routine along with the album). None of this striking vulnerability comes as a surprise, though, since the tune was co-written by Julia Michaels, noted queen of confessional bops. Truth is, I can't stop listening. —Madeline Roth
Haim: "Panini" (Lil Nas X Cover)
Danielle Haim could probably scream at you for 30 minutes, but her voice is so soft that all you would probably feel is a slight itch. When she teamed up with her two sisters for a cover of Lil Nas X's "Panini" on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge this week, her timid timbre clung to the crashing percussion for dear life. It's nothing to be scared about; Haim's music is built upon this quiet shuffle between whispers, folk-like sonic mythos, and balance. But here, the three crafted a masterpiece. The trap drums and focus on percussion provided a welcome change-up to their formula, indicating some serious sonic flexibility. The magic continued throughout the cover when the drums explod into the foreground, switching the dynamic of the tune. Add in a quick ode to "In Bloom" by Nirvana, which "Panini" interpolates, and you have the recipe for a cover that's definitely as good as the original. —Trey Alston