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.
In 2018, rising R&B star Iyla was a cautious lover on breakout single “Juice,” wherein over bouncy synths she accepts a new lover (“Oh no, you might be the one,” she coos). But “Strings,” the standout from her new EP, Other Ways to Vent, feels like its twisted sister: Now she’s being played like a puppet. Through a skittering, schizophrenic production (by Kadis, her mainstay producer) she both floats with airy consideration and dives into rage-by-the-syllable sass (“Why you over there lookin’ like a snack when I’m the whole dinner?” she demands), somehow unhinged and unbothered at the same damn time. —Terron Moore
Tony Santana: “Lift Me Up”
California rapper Tony Santana has a deep, drowning voice that depicts him struggling through quicksand whenever he raps. It’s an intense and anxious experience that continually draws me in whenever he drops. His latest is “Lift Me Up,” a spacey single that’s a personal note about decaying binds and lack of trust. Though it resides in darkness, Santana sends a prayer to the sky in hopes that he makes it through this tough time with a smile on his face. As the beat floats off into space, he leaves you with the idea that another grin is around the corner. —Trey Alston
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: “Cars in Space”
Melbourne, Australia quintet Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s newest single is a relentlessly upbeat piece of indie rock where guitars diverge and briefly intersect before splitting again. And though it’s immediately danceable (as the band demonstrates in the music video), singer Fran Keaney says the track is lyrically “the swirling words and thoughts before a breakup.” Over multiple layers of jangly riffs, he sings, “At the intersection / Waiting on the corner / Bottom of the freeway / Before it opens up.” —Bob Marshall
Tobe Nwigwe: “Slow Down”
We’ve all got songs that cater to our various moods, but there’s something special about a song that speaks to a void within you and doubles as therapy. Houston rapper Tobe Nwigwe, who strives to “make purpose popular,” has found the sweet spot in making music that’s honest and emotionally liberating while still maintaining the grittiness and rough edge that makes rap so alluring. Ethereal piano chords lay a lush foundation for his latest track “Slow Down,” which fuses storytelling with a mantra through verses about his own journey of maturity. “You must slow down and reconsider what you know now,” he says in an almost lullaby-like cadence. “I know life ain’t easy and it sure ain’t fair / But what got you here won’t take you there, so slow down” — a gentle reminder not to let your emotions get the best of you, to slow down, and remember who you are. —Virginia Lowman
Soupmakesitbetter ft. Dehem: “First Love”
On Valentine’s Day, Soupmakesitbetter dropped a four-track EP of liquid love called 4 Play where he explores attraction, lust, and love with silky raps delivered with a charismatic edge. One of its smoothest tracks is “First Love,” a warm ode to good sex with a good partner. Soupmakesitbetter’s careful choice of words gives you the blueprint on what to do if you want to be a cunning fox. —Trey Alston
Orville Peck: "Roses Are Falling"
What do you say to the one person in your world who makes you feel things no one else can? It might sound something like country crooner Orville Peck's longing "Roses Are Falling," a heartfelt rumination on a lover who "brings out the worst" in our mask-clad troubadour. "Sometimes when I'm around you, I feel like pure evil," he laments about a past love he just can't quite get over. During a previous performance, Peck once stated this particular track is a "love song about loving somebody so much that you kinda wanna kill 'em." This cowpoke couldn't have been more on the money. —Brittany Vincent
Beauty Queen: "Sweet Memory"
“Sweet Memory” sounds like a beach daydream, evoking waves, daytime drives, and salty anticipation all at once. It makes sense considering Beauty Queen, the moniker for singer-songwriter Katie Iannitello, is a Maui native. The track, produced by indie-pop pros Tennis, is a groovy, synth-driven rumination on a relationship that’s keeping our heartbroken heroine waiting. Her lyrics are observational — “Rounding the corner / You pushed past me / Are you a criminal / Or a sweet memory” — and her voice is dripping in charm, making its lo-fi music video feel like the best kind of fever dream. —Carson Mlnarik
Travy Nostra: “Bad for You”
Normally a bruiser with his street raps, Maryland's Travy Nostra gets emotional this time as he explores the fact that he’s not the best thing for a woman in his life. It’s a taxing listen for anyone who’s been in a toxic situation, and his range on it is clear. What strikes me the most is the bold honesty, even when it’s embarrassing and when it’s clear he overstepped his romantic boundaries. No matter how young or old you are, you’ll get a new understanding of love after this goes off. —Trey Alston