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.
Silent Poets ft. Okay Kaya: "Almost Nothing"
At the end of a long, emotional journey comes overwhelming relief. That's exactly what this ethereal slow burn of a track offers, and after hearing it immediately after completing Hideo Kojima's latest masterpiece of a video game, Death Stranding, I fell in love. It's the beginning of something new, a reminder of everything you've ever gone through to arrive where you are today. Silent Poets's melancholy strings combine beautifully with Okay Kaya's gossamer vocals to offer a conclusion that will haunt you long after the game's credits have rolled. But you don't need to play Death Stranding to be touched by this beautiful track, and that should be immediately clear upon hearing it. Keep on keeping on. —Brittany Vincent
Ratboys: "Alien With a Sleep Mask On"
Julia and Dave from Chicago band Ratboys met in a college Facebook group, and they've played music together since. They stuffed their endearing 2017 album GN with rootsy travelogues, dead-pet odes, and fabled arctic expeditions — the whole enterprise felt cozy and homemade. But on the surging new "Alien With a Sleep Mask On," Ratboys have energetically reemerged as an unstoppable power-pop force with cinematic ambitions. Look no further than the spacey, excellently high-concept video directed by coool (John TerEick + Jake Nokovic), and the fact that Julia and Dave have muscled the band up to make Ratboys's new era one for the ages. Their new album Printer's Devil is out February 28. —Patrick Hosken
Khalid: "Up All Night"
After breaking up with my first girlfriend, I fell to pieces. Video games were my vice, and I also turned to social media for comfort. But I was hurt. I wanted to fix things immediately. That didn't happen. Eventually, I grew up and moved on. I had to realize that the situation was over and, in the long run, it helped me better process my emotions. Khalid's "Up All Night" takes me back to this time, before facial hair and any kind of bass in my voice.
Khalid's on the verge of maturing past what sounds like a rough breakup that has drained him mentally. He's much more mature than I was, though. He's "coping with the pain" and realizes that he's "only getting older." At one point, he even thinks about the idea of mortality and what happens in the future. That the song sounds so cheery and upbeat is at odds with its contemplative nature, and that's perhaps why I love it so much. If I would have heard this at 16, I would have immediately cheered right on up. —Trey Alston
Luke Combs: "All Over Again"
Relationships are really hard. And while we don't like to admit that we often fall into the same old patterns and routines when it comes to love, it's a much easier pill to swallow when it's being communicated via an upbeat, twangy country song. This week, that song is "All Over Again" by Luke Combs — a track that feels so much like a direct attack on our failed attempts at companionship that he might as well have @ replied us on Twitter.
After singing about "falling all over again" despite knowing "how this ends" on the chorus, Combs's lyrics feel almost too real. "I'll think you're out of my system / At least 'til I miss ya," he sings before totally nailing the timeline of when his ex will try to contact him again. "I'll start going through withdrawals / That's about the time you'll call," he croons. Ultimately, both parties know things won't work out — mostly because they've done this whole song and dance several times before. But as Combs so accurately put it, maybe this toxic cycle continues because "goodbye's just too tough." —Jordyn Tilchen
Panic! at the Disco: "Into the Unknown" (From Frozen 2)
"Into the Unknown" hits a very specific intersection of people who came of age in the '00s: emo theater kids. (There are more of us than you think.) The premiere single/earworm from Disney's Frozen 2 is a power ballad akin to "Let It Go" — it's sweeping and catchy and sure to become a staple in every Broadway hopeful's repertoire. I personally can't wait to hear children of all ages scream "INTO THE UNKNOOOOWN" on the streets of Manhattan. But this version of the track, as sung by Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie, is all powerhouse vocals and guitar riffs, which makes it the superior version. It also makes a case for why Disney should cast Urie in their next animated musical. He's the emo Disney Prince we've been waiting for. —Crystal Bell
Jessie Ware: "Mirage (Don't Stop)"
Along with Dua Lipa's undeniable bop "Don't Start Now," Jessie Ware's new track "Mirage (Don't Stop)" further solidifies November 2019 as the Month of Disco Pop. However, "Mirage" has a much darker feel to it, with Ware's voice barely rising above a whisper for most of the song. While "Don't Start Now" is for doing your thing in front of the DJ booth, "Mirage" better serves the shadowy corners at the edge of the dance floor where anything could happen, and likely already is. Jessie's fourth album is set to arrive sometime next year. —Bob Marshall
Tasha Angela: "Lost in Nostalgia"
The year is 1978. After grabbing some punch served by a guy with a shag haircut and thick Aviators, you hear the static of a microphone that lets you know they're about to announce the Prom King and Queen. Your heart races. And the award goes to... the star quarterback and the cheerleader that just transferred from out of state! You're bummed, but that person you have a crush on taps you from behind and blushingly asks you for a dance. Smiling, you head to the floor as this song comes on. This is the scenario I picture when I hear Tasha Angela's "Lost in Nostalgia," a soft disco song drenched in a warm, romantic glow.
Tasha's voice slides down the cosmic instrumental like rain traveling on a windshield; you're mesmerized by the way it connects to each note and forms another sliding droplet. The magic of the song is retained in the retro video that pays homage to the disco age with fuzzy filters, roller skates, and of course disco balls. Tasha isolates you from the surrounding world and draws you into this timeless realm where love is just a couple of revolutions around a skating rink away. It begins and ends with a few old-school piano textures. —Trey Alston
Ryan Beatty: "Powerslide"
You might remember 24-year-old Ryan Beatty from his YouTube channel back in 2011. After making the Radio Disney rounds and touring with the likes of Cody Simpson, the California singer took a step back into his own shoes. He came out in 2018 and released his debut album Boy in Jeans, a collection of bops you didn’t know you were missing. "Powerslide" is as breezy as they come, evoking the sun, the birds, and the bees while reminding us summer doesn't last forever. Ryan and his lover are suburban royalty for the season, and we skate along with them through cigarette smoke, backyard swimming pools, and powerslides — lots of skateboarding moves. (Yes, I'm gay and had to look that up.) With picturesque lyrics, a danceable beat, and Ryan's sliding vocals, it's a vibe... even when it's 40 degrees out. —Carson Mlnarik
Fly By Midnight ft. Betty Who: "Lovely"
Soft and serene, wise and warm, Fly By Midnight's new single is a soundtrack to lightly placing your lips on a lover's forehead. Betty Who balances the duo's coarse voices with a lighter, sweeter wind that sweeps through your hair and down through your bones. When I hear the cheery, romantic mix of instruments while Fly By Midnight and Betty Who match voices, I'm whisked away to a picnic with my girlfriend on top of an impossibly green field, laughing while we identify oddly shaped clouds in the sky. —Trey Alston