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.
Pronoun: "I Wanna Die But I Can't (Cuz I Gotta Keep Living)"
Existing at the frail midpoint between "I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)" and a lonely bathroom mirror, Alyse Vellturo's latest mini-opus as Pronoun is the cheery-sounding yet harrowing "I Wanna Die But I Can't (Cuz I Gotta Keep Living)." Vellturo plays every instrument here, crunching buzzsaw guitars and crisp snare pops into a relentlessly sticky emo-pop cocktail recalling Now, Now as much as Third Eye Blind (again). In light of this, I must re-up my modest request that Eric Valentine produce the next Pronoun album. I will accept no substitutes. —Patrick Hosken
Nez ft. Duckwrth and Saint Bodhi: “Work”
Some songs just sound like sweat. The rumbling, crackling tension of “Work” feels like animals snarling in dimly lit corners, evokes that imagery of bodies thrashing together in dark ecstasy. The production is just that good. Nez and Saint Bodhi trade typical dance-floor callouts, anchored by a slick Duckwrth middle verse that raises your blood pressure by the syllable. —Terron Moore
Orla Gartland: “Zombie!”
For her latest single, Irish singer-songwriter Orla Gartland drew inspiration from an unlikely source: toxic masculinity. “Zombie!” cleverly juxtaposes lyrics about testosterone-fueled monsters with lilting harmonies, imparting an important message about repressed male rage without sacrificing Gartland’s inspired indie-pop sound. Hit play on the music video to watch a water gun-toting Gartland fend off a hoard of zombified dude-bros. —Sam Manzella
Iann Dior ft. Trippie Redd: “Shots in the Dark”
On the heels of “Mood,” his massive chart-topping collab with 24KGoldn, Iann Dior is back with another downbeat banger featuring rapper Trippie Redd. A spiritual sequel to the duo’s last collab, “Gone Girl,” the track is an emo-tinged joyride through heartbreak as the two reflect on a romance that’s left them desperate. Dior’s anthemic vocals are the perfect complement to Trippie’s smooth yet scratchy bars, but while the song finds two at their lowest points, the visual is four-and-a-half minutes of fun. We’ve got aliens, we’ve got car chases, and we’ve got a fight scene at an intergalactic bar. How’s that for shot in the dark? —Carson Mlnarik
Rina Sawayama: "XS" (Tiny Desk Home version)
With a moat of metallic blasts circling an infectious R&B-pop castle, Rina Sawayama's "XS" remains a stately standout of her excellent 2020 debut album. Since she couldn't tour behind the release, her new rendition of the tune for NPR Music's Tiny Desk concert series is doubly thrilling. Flanked by a string section to bring the tune's drama to dazzling life, Sawayama's powerful vocals transform the intimate performance into an arena-ready, star-making moment. —Patrick Hosken
k.d. lang: “Miss Chatelaine” (St. Tropez Mix)
When you think “dance-floor divas” your mind automatically goes to Madonna, Kylie, Gaga... k.d. lang?! That’s right: Next month, the “Constant Craving” crooner is releasing makeover, a collection compiling dance remixes of some of her most popular songs. The first single is a “St. Tropez Mix” of her 1992 song “Miss Chatelaine,” and the St. Tropez location is appropriate because once you hear this Latin-influenced lounge track, you will wish you were sipping on a cocktail and shimmying poolside in the French Riviera. While we sadly won’t be jetting off to our French summer chateau anytime soon, the next best thing will be listening to this sun-soaked remix on repeat. —Chris Rudolph
Cody Lovaas: “Rocket”
From Pat Benatar to Jordin Sparks, we’ve often heard that love is a battlefield, but for California singer-songwriter Cody Lovaas, it’s a rocket. His new single strikes the perfect juxtaposition between peaceful feelings at the start of a relationship and the moment chaos ensues. While his effortless vocals soar contentedly over acoustic guitars and serene synths, the video showcases romance’s wilder side as Lovaas charts a journey into the galaxy of love. Jets and flames aside, he shows us that giving into vulnerability is perhaps the most reckless thing we can do, giving away his time and vowing to “tie my heart to a rocket for as long as you’re mine.” —Carson Mlnarik
Vetta Borne: “Kissing Strangers”
These days, good disco pop doesn’t need much: a clean four-on-the-floor, some funky guitar, and jazzy synths. And great disco pop can match that sound with blissful chants that channel love, lust, or freedom. But the best disco pop — Whitney, Robyn, Dua, Carly — warps the sound’s very essence. Classics like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “Dancing on My Own” lyrically pull from our most deepest fears: that no one will love us, that we’ll always be alone. That you don’t realize how painfully sad the words are is the whole point. “Kissing Strangers” fits this mold, an infectious dance-floor number wherein Vetta Borne regrets a breakup that she initiated. “I swear I really loved her,” she mourns, but maybe she’s smiling the whole time; for all the shame and hurt, the sound refuses to let you feel it. —Terron Moore
Kero Kero Bonito: “21/04/20”
There’s something immaculately analog about the sound of Kero Kero Bonito’s new EP, Civilisation II, one the band actually built using “vintage hardware.” Yet the synthesizers have an undeniable warmth, thanks to Sarah Midori Perry’s gilded vocals gliding over “21/04/20,” a perfect slice of springtime after an interminable winter. —Patrick Hosken