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Bop Shop Holiday Edition: Songs From Big Freedia, Girl In Red, Black Pumas, And More

Celebrating Hanukkah, making the yuletide gay, and plenty of comfort and joy

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. And this week, in honor of the holidays, we've compiled some of our favorite festive tunes to soundtrack all your snowy seasonal needs.

Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.

  • Girl in Red: “Two Queens in a King Sized Bed”

    Yes, I listen to Girl in Red, and you should, too. The Norwegian indie-rock ingenue is keeping the sapphics fed with “Two Queens in a King Sized Bed,” her Christmas-themed new cut. It’s a tender profession of love with earnest lyrics that conjure up the coziest of winter imagery (“Two queens in a king sized bed / like angels in the snow”). And that surrealist music video? Making the yuletide gay, indeed. —Sam Manzella

  • The Beths: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

    The best holiday song is also the most melancholy, and Kiwi outfit The Beths capture both the seasonal cheer and the wistfulness in their 2018 cover. Singer Elizabeth Stokes’s voice is as wam and mournful as a snow-capped morning when you realize the car actually won’t start. “Someday soon, we all will be together / If the fates allow” really hits different this year; if you can’t physically be with the people you love this month, know that you will be — someday soon. —Patrick Hosken

  • Big Freedia ft: Flo Milli: “Better Be”

    The bounce queen of New Orleans came to sleigh when she dropped her sizzling 2016 EP A Very Big Freedia Christmas and declared that "Santa Is a Gay Man." Now, like the ghost of dance halls past, Big Freedia’s back with her signature brand of bass-heavy, high-speed rap to make bells and car keys jingle with the booty-shaking holiday single, "Better Be." Joined by Flo Milli, she’s got a bad case of the "gimme gimmes" as she breaks down her Christmas list over an icy steel drum. "Better be big, better be new / Better be red bottom shoes," Freedia clarifies on the refrain. —Coco Romack

  • Taylor Swift: “‘Tis the Damn Season”

    If you ever needed a song to describe the very niche experience of hooking up with your high school boyfriend after seeing each other at your hometown bar around the holidays, Taylor Swift’s “‘Tis the Damn Season” is that song. “We could call it even / You could call me babe for the weekend / ’Tis the damn season” is nothing short of a read. However, in signature Swift fashion, she is able to find the humanity in moments that many would hope to forget and reflects on them in a sonically gorgeous, extremely raw, and a little melancholy way. The most specific songs are oftentimes the ones most universally felt. “‘Tis the Damn Season” is definitely one of them. —Sarina Bhutani

  • Tori Amos: “Christmastide”

    Taylor Swift, you think you were the first witch to traverse through a snowy forest bathed in moonlight? Tori Amos’s music was made to be played on the winter solstice, a fact she cemented with her 2009 holiday album, Midwinter Graces. Now the piano siren has gifted us another present, Christmastide, a new four-track EP that says “’tis the season” with Tori’s signature emotional piano playing. The title track is the perfect Tori song: powerful and dramatic, yet soothing, reassuring us with lyrics like, “We all need to shine, and wake this Christmastide, side by side.” After a year like this, I would gladly sail away on a calm Christmastide. Tori, take the wheel! —Chris Rudolph

  • Sufjan Stevens: “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella”

    At the end of a hard year, let Sufjan Stevens’s take on this traditional French carol peacefully lull you into the long winter’s nap “Twas The Night Before Christmas” promised us. Stevens’s soft rasp and gentle guitar strumming invite you to get cozy, and it’s best enjoyed wrapped in a blanket, in a room lit only by twinkle lights, while sipping a warm beverage in an oversized mug. —Christina Beale

  • Paige Gold: “What Christmas Means”

    Whether or not you’ve got a holiday hookup this Christmas, 17-year-old Paige Gold has a bop to put a little romance back in your season with “What Christmas Means.” After posting a short snippet of the optimistic tune to TikTok, she quickly garnered over 2 million views and knew she had to deliver with a full-length song. Normally, this kind of track would have you dancing around the mall while shopping, slipping a little something into your hot cocoa, or cozying up to someone new under the mistletoe. While we can’t do all that right now, thanks to a festive chorus of piano plunks, handclaps, jingle bells, and Gold’s soulful voice, there’s still some tidings of comfort and joy to go around. —Carson Mlnarik

  • Adam Sandler: “The Chanukah Song”

    Honestly, every Hanukkah song is my favorite Hanukkah song: from the short number Haim tweeted a few years ago, to Daveed Diggs’s extremely catchy “Puppy for Hanukkah,” to Sharon Jones & the Dap-King’s brassy and joyful “8 Days (Of Hanukkah),” and especially Too $hort’s Hanukkah song. But Adam Sandler’s original ode to the Festival of Lights holds a special, sentimental place in my heart, as it really was the first non-traditional song about the holiday: the shamash candle that helped light the way for so many more tunes, if you will. —Rya Backer

  • Black Pumas: “Christmas Will Really Be Christmas” (Lou Rawls cover)

    After a hellacious year, Black Pumas understand that the holidays might not feel the same in 2020. “Christmas will really be Christmas,” Eric Burton sings, “when folks are happy everywhere.” That might not be until 2021 (or 2022, or even later), but in the meantime, we’ve got this song, a cover of the Lou Rawls soul classic, to share. —Patrick Hosken

  • Cher ft. Rosie O’Donnell: “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Darlene Love cover)

    This is a campy Christmas classic for every playlist to make the yuletides gay. Yes, you're reading that correctly: Cher and Rosie O’Donnell recorded a Christmas song together, and we're still singing "Joy to the World" about it. Part of Rosie’s 1999 album A Rosie Christmas, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" wants you to snuggle up by the fire — and under a disco ball. —Zach O’Connor

  • Charly Bliss ft. Pup: “It’s Christmas and I Fucking Miss You”

    What more needs to be said? —Patrick Hosken