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Bop Shop: Songs From Stray Kids, Alana Springsteen, NLE Choppa, And More

Tunes about dealing with anxiety, wanting someone you can't have, pure pop escapism, and more

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.

  • The Aces: “Daydream”

    This glimmering mirage of a tune breezes by so quickly (and, at only 2:32, efficiently) that you’ll have to click repeat. It’s what we’ve come to expect from Utah foursome The Aces: expertly sticky songwriting coated in a sweet pop sheen. The accompanying desert-adventure video, written and directed by drummer Alisa Ramirez, makes good on the escapism of the song title. If it’s not advisable to take a road trip right now, at least you can watch The Aces have a dusty odyssey of their own. —Patrick Hosken

  • NLE Choppa ft. Roddy Ricch: “Walk Em Down”

    Watching NLE Choppa’s rise feels like Bow Wow’s back in the early 2000s. This boyishly charming teen’s knack for creating ear worms feels fresh, and there’s surely a legion of like-minded adolescents eager to break into his dance moves while reciting his songs. NLE Choppa’s latest catchy carol is “Walk Em Down,” a smashing good time with an infectious, “The Box”-like vocal effect that you’ll be humming endlessly after its over. Coincidentally, it features Roddy Ricch, who adds to the bold song with his quiet menace. “Walk Em Down” is a win all around. —Trey Alston

  • Your Neighbors: “1000”

    "All you fight is in your mind." Your Neighbors have cleverly hidden an uplifting message behind a funky ode to letting go and dealing with anxiety the best way you possibly can. Who has time to obsess over tiny details that terrify us when this song so succinctly reminds us how things don't even matter? "You get what everybody gets" at the end of it all. That's the only thing that really needs to be said at the end of the day. By the time any of it truly sinks in, we've already lost ourselves to the music. —Brittany Vincent

  • Mxmtoon: “Quiet Motions”

    Social distancing and quarantine bops? They’re already a thing, and they might just be the one thing keeping us sane. Case in point: bedroom pop singer Mxmtoon’s latest single “Quiet Motions,” a dreamy ode to keeping it cool in solitude. “Isn’t it nice to be all by yourself / Walls don’t say words / My secrets they won’t tell,” the 19-year-old singer and “unashamed introvert” hums over a production that’s nothing short of serene. Mxmtoon, also known to her YouTube following as Maia, hopes the track allows fans to find “comfort in your own company and [use] the solitary moments to recharge.” The track’s simple visual shows her finding peace with her routine — waking up, making eggs, reading, and washing her hands! We have to stan. —Carson Mlnarik

  • Dayglow: “Can I Call You Tonight?”

    Dayglow’s dreamy hit from his 2019 debut Fuzzybrain is total escapism, the kind of track that will instantly whisk you away to a world of crushes and uncertain longing. And the song now has a brand new video game lyric video, inspired no doubt by Donkey Kong, that sees Dayglow dodge monsters and attackers on his way to save a damsel in distress. Now if only they would actually release the game so I can play it! —Bob Marshall

  • Slimesito: “223s”

    The latest from Atlanta’s Slimesito continues in the line of dark and dreary trap bangers that he’s known for, each a little more blurry than the last. On “223s,” he strolls around the streets with his chest out high, like he’s invincible. This confidence permeates his soft-spoken raps that are heavier this time, his voice a bit sturdier than before. These parts come together for a trunk rattler that’ll be perfect this summer — if we can safely drive our cars. —Trey Alston

  • Alana Springsteen ft. Filmore: “Think About You”

    If you’ve ever felt the exquisite pain of wanting someone so unattainable, you’re not alone. To prove it, there’s Alana Springsteen’s “Think About You,” a soft piano ballad that reminds us it’s OK to think about the ones we love, even if they don’t love us back. “I hate the way you’re better without me,” Springsteen sings on the buttery smooth chorus. “But it don’t mean I can’t think about you.” By the time the second chorus rolls around, the song nearly takes on an entirely different meaning, with Springsteen and Filmore representing both sides of a former relationship. Could it be that the one you can’t stop thinking about can’t stop thinking about you, either? —Jordyn Tilchen

  • Stray Kids: "Mixtape : On Track"

    Stray Kids kicked off a new era last December with the release of "Gone Days," a mellow mix of trap and charisma — an otherwise offbeat entry in a discography pulsating with boisterous bops. But the Korean group's latest mixtape drop, "On Track," is more contemplative than uninhibited, keeping in tune with their uplifting and oftentimes hopeful message while also digging deeper. It's a song about losing your way and finding the courage to pursue a dream again — or a person, as hinted at by the central love triangle in the high school-set music video. Member Changbin, known for his biting flow and playful personality, contributed to the lyrics and composition of this soothing track. "Even a fool knows this," he sings. "You’re the best thing I’ve got / Once again towards you / One more step, I will never stop / I shouldn’t turn away."

    Those themes of perseverance and forging ahead are familiar territory for Stray Kids. It's where they feel most comfortable. Yet "On Track" also evokes a sense of longing and awareness that feels indicative of where they're going next. It's representative of their maturity as artists and young adults navigating their emotions the only way they know how: through music. Plus, it's perfect to listen to when you're stuck inside and in your feelings. —Crystal Bell

  • Grouplove: “Youth”

    If you could fuse anticipation and nostalgia into one bizarrely disparate feeling, it would sound like “Youth.” The endlessly cheery Grouplove breeze through a funky pop melody while chanting their freedom (“The night’s so young, let’s set it on fire!”), a groove that feels like that Uber ride through the city en route to a warm party with friends, and the memory of that night on the way home. It’s a song you want to attach to a dizzying, wonderful moment in your life and keep it there. —Terron Moore

  • Tory Lanez: “W”

    Confession: I think Tory Lanez is easily one of the best in R&B’s current generation of songwriters, vocalists, and performers. He brings such a high level of energy to each of his releases, and the fact that he’s also one of the hardest rappers in the game is nothing short of astonishing. “W” proves this. This one song takes a telescope into his mind to see what he obsesses over, what’s made him who he is today, and what he’s dealing with now, whether he likes it or not. It’s a chilly day, and Tory’s inside with his mind going crazy. At once, everything spills out of him in ways that make you wonder for the sake of his mental health. But Tory’s a trooper. He’s pulling through and taking the good with the bad in equal measure. —Trey Alston