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.
Tasha: “But There’s Still the Moon”
Maybe you’re bummed. Maybe it’s not a great idea to go outside. Maybe everything feels toxic. But there’s still the moon. That’s the message at the heart of Chicago artist Tasha’s song of the same name, where the lunar beacon is “reliable, beautiful, anchoring,” as she says in an accompanying statement. The grounded guitar strums here still gaze skyward, just as Tasha’s soaring voice drifts higher and higher. You want the moon? This optimistic bop gives it to you. All hail boptimism. —Patrick Hosken
Lennon Stella: “Fear of Being Alone”
If you’ve ever contemplated a breakup but couldn’t quite pull the trigger, perhaps it’s because, deep down, you really do love each other. Then again, if you’re being honest with yourself, maybe you just can’t stand the thought of being single. And no song understands that better than Lennon Stella’s “Fear of Being Alone.”
After singing about “lifeless” and “empty” kisses on the sultry first verse, Stella begins to come out of denial on the pre-chorus. “When I hold you, I get the feeling I don't know you,” she sings. “I get the feeling it's not love that keeps us holding on.” And by the time the chorus hits, she knows they’re not in love, they’re comfortable. “It's the fear of being alone / Got me staying when I know,” she sings in a perfect falsetto. “It’s the fear of being alone / Got me never letting go.” —Jordyn Tilchen
Jelani Aryeh: “Stella Brown”
I don’t know which I love more: “Stella Brown” or its quarantine-friendly new video. Jelani Aryeh’s new song about a fizzled-out relationship will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, as it sounds straight out of a late 2000s Michael Cera rom-com. His floating timbre hazily puffs out its lyrics as if he’s matching his lyrical annoyance with this mystery girl who isn’t entertaining to him anymore. In its accompanying video, he enlists friends who are locked down to have some fun doing whatever they want. Some pull out Nintendo Switches and wink knowingly at the camera while others get together as a family and prance around to the feel-good song. All around — except in its lyrics, of course — “Stella Brown” ensures that you smile. —Trey Alston
When you've fallen in love, you want your partner (and everyone else, for that matter) to know exactly how you feel all of the time. You want to be overwhelmed by that feeling, taking you over every single second. You want to, as Absofacto puts it, "dissolve slowly in a pool full of your love." But there's no way you can do that if there's trouble in paradise. This song is a ridiculously catchy ode to relationships that seem to be crumbling (and a TikTok anthem) that will "bubble up and cut right through" right into your psyche and bury itself there. You'll be singing the chorus for days. —Brittany Vincent
Fenix Flexin: “RIP Mac P Dawg”
Shoreline Mafia’s Mac P Dawg was shot and killed last week, stunning the hip-hop community. He was an integral piece of the group, bringing chilling bars about a gritty reality with his abnormally nimble tongue, words I’d roll over my tongue front and back, side to side. Fellow Shoreline Mafia member Fenix Flexin’s new heart-wrenching ode to the late rapper bounces and rolls as it reflects on his memory. It covers the journey from ditching school as kids to the group’s glamorous rise. Flexin is understandably angry, but he’s also just happy to have had his time with Mac P Dawg. You can feel the emotion radiating from each line. — Trey Alston
Cravity: “Break all the Rules”
The latest boy group to debut under Starship Entertainment, Cravity, have come out swinging with their debut album. The nine-member group, the little brothers of Monsta X, have burst onto the scene with reckless abandon leaving behind any rules that have held their predecessors — just as the title of their lead single suggests. This is a surprisingly strong showing from a new group. The track is an exciting anthem about breaking away from that lethargic temptation of being content which never does anyone good. This is what carving out your own space in a crowded market looks like. V excited for what these young men have in store for us. Watch this space. —Daniel Head
Retirement Party: “Runaway Dog”
Chicago’s Retirement Party are making their triumphant return with the title track for their forthcoming sophomore album. The indie rock banger crescendos throughout, marked by a persistent drone-y guitar riff at the beginning that the rest of the band builds off of. Vocalist Avery Springer begins apathetically, singing about how a lost dog is causing her to lose motivation, but it’s when the vocals give out after the first chorus that the song truly blooms into something stunning and powerful. Runaway Dog, the album, is out May 15. —Bob Marshall
Starley: "Call On Me" (Ryan Riback Remix)
Life’s a little strange at the moment, and I think we’re all trying to find a way to dance through, sleep through, or just maintain our sanity as we practice social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. An oldie but goodie, Starley’s “Call on Me” is the feel-good tune we relate to all too well now when we “need somebody to cling to” or if we simply “can’t stop the tears from falling down.” South African DJ Ryan Riback gave the bop a synth-pop refresh, elevating the song to ultimate club quarantine vibes that cater to the parts of you that miss your friends and the emotional space we’re all reserving to summon the carefree vibes that only summer can bring. So whether you’re kickin’ it at home alone, with your family, or learning to cohabitate with the roommates you barely knew three weeks ago, turn this beat all the way up and dance until you feel a release. Or better yet, Zoom your squad and dance together. —Virginia Lowman
Wiz Khalifa: “Mezmorized”
This week marked the 10-year anniversary of Kush & Orange Juice, the project that transformed Wiz Khalifa from a rising talent into a budding superstar. It’s how I first discovered the rapper’s straight-forward punchlines set to interstellar elevator music-type beats, and it soundtracked many of my high school endeavors. Songs like “Never Been” and “Up” showcase his range, from booming yelling to softly floating on marijuana clouds with all of the urgency of a sloth NASCAR driver. From top to bottom, the project created an intense fascination with Wiz that endures to this day, even as he’s grown from a rising superstar into a genre titan.
Today, the song that I’m stuck on is “Mezmorized,” one of the coolest tunes in rap history. If mirrors were made out of music, they’d sound like this — ethereal and silky, slightly familiar and just out of sanity’s reach. Wiz, sensing the epic feel of the Cardo-produced instrumental, imbues the song with equally cool energy due to bars detailing just how awesome his life is. “Ion love em, I chase em, I duck em,” was in every tweet and every bio in 2010. As great as this song is, it’s just one sliver of what makes Kush & OJ at large such an important piece of hip-hop culture. It’ll be a part of the genre’s DNA forever. —Trey Alston
Monsta X: “You Can’t Hold My Heart”
Monsta X is back with a brand new music video for their latest single, “You Can’t Hold My Heart,” off their English album All About Luv. In a dreamy Ariana Grande Vogue-esque video, the six members croon over a flush of red about how they need to let go of a toxic love. When I first listened to it, it gave me a sense of unexpected validation. Letting go isn't always the missed opportunity that everyone makes it seem like it is. Sometimes, it’s simply better to move on when there are no more words left to say. But don't take it from me: Take it from Joohoney, who looks great in the color cream, BTW. —Daniel Head