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Bop Shop: Songs From Thundercat, Melanie C, Masego, And More

A nostalgic funk banger, a song about extreme emotions, and more this week

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.

  • Fletcher: “Forever”

    If you're looking for a new pop bop to carry you through the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, look no further than Fletcher’s “Forever.” On it, the pop star’s heart is being pulled in two directions: to be single, or not to be single. "I've got a couple drunk kisses / I still need to get out my system," she admits. And though she’s sure she’s found The One, she’s not quite ready to sacrifice the freedom that comes with being on her own.

    "I wanna be young and party / Be dumb and never feel sorry," she shamelessly announces on the chorus, further proving that settling down just isn't on her to-do list. Still, she knows what she's giving up. "You the type I wanna spend my whole life with," she sings. "But not the one I'll spend tonight with." —Jordyn Tilchen

  • Thundercat ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Lil B: “Fair Chance”

    “This song is about Mac,” Thundercat wrote to unveil this gorgeous and subterranean track evoking his departed friend and collaborator Mac Miller. To do him justice, Thundercat enlisted some help — Ty’s moving baritone and Lil B talking about his “emo-o-o-tions” — and built an ecosystem of arpeggios. It’s a moving side of Thundercat, who can bound from wily to forlorn at the pop of a bass string. That depth is what It Is What It Is, out April 3, is all about. —Patrick Hosken

  • Masego: “King’s Rant”

    Master jazzmatician Masego’s “King’s Rant” is aptly named. It opens with a procession of horns along a royal walkway, but it quickly melts into a watery mix of melodies and confident lyricism. He’s tired of playing the background, so he’s stepped confidently to the front. He has the Drake effect when he guests on a track: That song becomes his. I love hearing him tackling shit like this, really stepping into the silk robe of a champion. The next leg of his post-Lady Lady career will be exciting to watch. —Trey Alston

  • Melanie C: "Who I Am"

    When the world feels overwhelming, I tend to lean on what's familiar to me. So when Mel C returned this week with a new single, hearing the voice of my badass, backflipping childhood hero felt like instant comfort. "Who I Am" is a sparkling synth-pop confessional about Mel's journey to self-acceptance that comes with a nostalgia-inducing video. In it, she visits a sort of "Mel C Museum" housing old versions of herself: everyone from her tracksuit-rocking Sporty Spice persona to the spiky-haired zen master of her Northern Star era. As hordes of people ogle her statues and portraits, she sings of feeling lost about who she thought she should be, before arriving at a hard-fought declaration of self: "That's who I am / No, I've got nothing left to hide ... You think you've known me all this time / But the real me is mine." It's a bright and forward-thinking illumination of an artist who so many of us have known for years and a reminder that she's still evolving. It's nice to know she's still taking us along for that ride. —Madeline Roth

  • Shura ft. Ivy Sole: “Elevator Girl”

    Back in the olden days (two weeks ago), elevators weren’t solely seen as a health hazard. In fact, as Shura’s latest single attests, they could be places for giddy anticipation as you ride upward toward christening a new relationship with that special someone. The steamy R&B track sizzles with lust, yearning for the promise of potential and the intoxicating delirium of a night just getting started. —Bob Marshall

  • James Vickery with SG Lewis: “Pressure”

    James Vickery’s new single might be called “Pressure,” but the South London R&B singer can dispel any kind of tension with his smooth and soulful voice alone. Over a head-bobbing beat and contemplative keys, James croons about a lover who’s “a vision of my design,” but who backtracks just as commitment comes through. The video is as much of a vibe as the track, showing James dripping in hues of color — pressure-free — as he rides through with his crew including collaborator SG Lewis, but finding himself coming back to a romance he just can’t quit. Judging by his Colors Studio performance which has over 17 million views, it seems this rising R&B star has the same effect on fans. His new EP, Overture, drops March 25. —Carson Mlnarik

  • Sueco the Child: “Dork”

    The mere mention of Danimals had me raring to go when it came to choosing a bop for this week. Sueco the Child's impeccable wordplay in this raunchy track had me cracking up the first time I heard it, and then vibing every time following that. It's now become an essential track when I'm trying to get work done, Luckily, it lead to me listening to the rest of his discography, which hasn't failed to thrill and delight me. I'm at Sueco's, bitch! —Brittany Vincent

  • Laura Stevenson: “Time Bandits”

    “Time Bandits” will make you cry. So will Laura Stevenson’s accompanying note that explains the song’s origins as well as her growing fears as she nears her due date. “I’m worried about my baby, I’m worried about my parents, I’m worried about everyone,” she wrote. You’re probably worried, too, and it’s OK to cry along. That’s what “Time Bandits” is for. —Patrick Hosken

  • Davie Jones: “Melodie$”

    It’s simple, it’s catchy, and you’ll damn sure want to run it back as soon as it’s done. This new single from Virginia rapper Davie Jones is about the constant allure of money and he uses its slick video to show what happens when you pursue it without using common sense. Jones moonwalks on the minimal instrumental, sometimes doubling over his voice for dramatic effect. You’ll hear “ring, ring, ring, ring, ring” in your head for the rest of the day after listening to it. —Trey Alston

  • Ginger Root: “Karaoke”

    You might find Ginger Root’s new music video particularly nostalgic, not only because it opens with some funky Windows 95 WordArt, but because it takes place at an office. Thankfully, their new music video for “Karaoke,” the first single off their upcoming album Rikki, is the perfect escape for the times. A mix of dreamy DIY, the ’70s, and Japanese city pop, the band is the brainchild of Cameron Lew, who not only has a hand in writing and producing their tracks, but in shooting and editing their videos. It’s hard to not crack a smile at his larger-than-life onscreen presence as he spends the video going from the bottom of the totem pole to office king, thanks to a mysterious karaoke VHS tape he finds on his car. A little quirky, a little retro, and completely addicting, this is one to watch. —Carson Mlnarik

  • Kaelyn Kastle: “2 Pretty”

    Kaelyn Kastle's “2 Pretty” feels like a mid-2000s early Rihanna jam. Kastle’s crisp vocals about not playing around with her love feel fresh, yet nostalgic — like someone paying homage to the era that they grew up in. She smooths over your ears while making a prickly declaration of problems for anyone willing to test her romantic mettle. Years down the line, we’ll probably be looking at the release of this as her “Pon De Replay” moment. —Trey Alston

  • The Strokes: “Alone Together”

    These days, aren’t we all? —Patrick Hosken