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. This week, we're looking at songs that put us in a good mental space going into 2020, the start of a new decade that's unfolding all possibilities for us. The Bop Shop is now open for business.
Hailee Steinfeld: "Wrong Direction"
If you're currently dealing with the aftermath of a shitty relationship, Hailee Steinfeld is right there with you. On her heartbreaking new ballad "Wrong Direction" — rumored to be about none other than former beau Niall Horan — she comes down hard not on her ex, but on herself for not paying attention to the red flags.
"Couldn't even see you through the smoke," the Dickinson star sings on the pre-chorus. "Lookin' back, I probably should've known." But love has a way of clouding our judgment. And based on the track's chorus, her ex's gaslighting tactics tricked her into thinking they were happy. "Loved me with your worst intentions," she sings, accompanied by piano and violin. "Didn't even stop to question / Every time you burned me down / Don't know how; for a moment it felt like heaven." —Jordyn Tilchen
Girl Friday: "Decoration/Currency"
I showed this track from Los Angeles-based rockers Girl Friday to my buddy Alex, and he responded, "This makes me happy. I feel like everyone should be in a band, ya know?" And so I invite you, dear reader, to take the plunge this year. Yes, 2020 will be the year you finally start a band with your friends, and it will be the best decision you make for yourself. Never mind that in 2021 it will end in a dramatic and emotional breakup. Live in the now! —Bob Marshall
Travy Nostra: "Milano"
I'm starting off the decade in a happy place, ready to take over and do what needs to be done to make sure that the people that I love are cared about. What puts me in a jubilant state right now is "Milano" from Philadelphia/Maryland rapper Travy Nostra. He's been on a slow and consistent grind, putting in the work to care for those around him. With similar goals and a gritty sound wrapped in a loving and tender choice in instrumentals, how could I not go crazy over this? —Trey Alston
Harry Styles: "Treat People With Kindness"
Haters will call this corny, but maybe that's what we need in 2020. Styles is bopping into the new year with the reigning No. 1 album and the most hyped-up ode to altruism you've ever heard. "Treat People With Kindness" — or "TPWK," as it's commonly known — takes the rocker's go-to slogan and turns it into a theatrical, Queen-inspired anthem about being a decent human being. "Feeling good in my skin / I just keep on dancing," Styles declares over a groovy combo of handclaps and congas, before calling on a choir to take him even higher: "Maybe we can / Find a place to feel good!" And the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. –Madeline Roth
Alaina Castillo: "No Importa"
Houston-based YouTuber Alaina Castillo has built up her subscriber base over the past few years by uploading videos of herself singing Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande covers. With "No Importa," her second single off her new EP Antisocial Butterfly, Castillo proves herself capable of making R&B bangers of her own. Entirely sung in Spanish, the track is a defiant middle finger to haters and naysayers who stick their noses in her relationship. And honestly, what a good mantra to start out the year with! Do you have negative people in your life who spend their time criticizing your every move? Just remember: "No importa!" —Bob Marshall
Bring Me the Horizon ft. Halsey: "¿"
Right before 2020 hit, Halsey took us back to 2000. Again. One of pop's premier dark adventurers sounds completely in her element amid the industrial fog of "¿," her new collaboration with Bring Me the Horizon. And since genre matters less than ever here at the outset of the '20s, the breakbeat winks and Linkin Park echoes here are the perfect way to kick off an intrepid new decade. —Patrick Hosken
"Even an angel can end up falling / Don't you cry because you're crawling / Start again, it's a beautiful morning," asserts September over a soaring house techno melody. I've always seen this song as a reminder that even if you fail, you can get up and scrape your way to the top once more. And if it keeps happening, keep getting up. A very special person in my life once shared this song with me, likely unaware of the meaning it held, and for years I've listened when I needed an extra dose of "you can do this." As such, I recommend it for anyone starting 2020 feeling as though they're staring at a hill they're not so sure they can climb. Let this song be your anthem, and push through. Sometimes, all you have is yourself, and that's really all you need. —Brittany Vincent