Bop Shop: Songs From Ratboys, Miley Cyrus, Cravity, And More

Eight minutes in the eye of a storm, and more jams

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.

Ratboys: “Black Earth, WI”

More songs should be nine minutes long. Wild Pink know this. Their buds in Ratboys, Chicago’s post-country troubadours, also know; their latest single, “Black Earth, WI,” embraces the long game, unraveling two luxurious chords like asphalt on a desert highway. Its willingness to stretch on indefinitely recalls the title track of 2020’s Printer’s Devil, but they’ve significantly upped the twang here so it’s more in line with their excellent 2017 album, GN. With a guitar solo reaching two minutes and an unbeatable chanted melody to close out the affair, “Black Earth, WI” sounds far warmer than its metal-as-hell name suggests. I’d like to visit the place for, say, nine minutes or so. —Patrick Hosken

Emotional Oranges: “Bounce”

There are very few groups who can catch a vibe as well as Emotional Oranges. On “Bounce,” lead singers A and V get the party started with their signature R&B groove then keep it going with their playful, yet sincere lyrics. As the duo reflects on their journey to success, singing about past lives and setting trends, the track comes to a real head at its undeniably catchy and captivating chorus, featuring an edgier, distorted version of A’s typically honeyed vocals. “I said bounce / (What?),” he declares. “I need cash in large amounts.” Similar to that of preceding single “Make Me Wanna,” “Bounce” is accompanied by a warm-toned visual shot simply on an iPhone camera, letting the song speak for itself, but this time through V’s point of view. Even after five years, Emotional Oranges continue to keep a low public profile, still performing behind dark sunglasses and presenting under their pseudonyms. However, as with “Bounce,” their truths and revelations have and seemingly always will come through in their music. —Sarina Bhutani

Miley Cyrus: “River”

Miley Cyrus’ long-awaited eighth studio album, Endless Summer Vacation, is finally here, and so is the second single from the project. “River” has an upbeat electro ‘80s feel that will have you on the dance floor instantly, which is what Cyrus intended. As for the song’s message, it’s sexual, it’s romantic, and as the pop star says, it’s "nasty." The music video finds Cyrus showcasing how you should look and feel when listening to it — radiant, free, and powerful. While dancing among a sea of shirtless men in a downpour, she sings, “I feel you everywhere / Your face is all in my hair / Covered up in your sweat / It turns me on that you care, baby / Your love, it flows just like a river.” The single, the video, the album, and a concert special on Disney+ are all out today, so you can say March 10 is a real celebration of Miley Cyrus. As it should be. —Alissa Godwin

Chiiild: “(Running Out of) Hallelujahs”

Chiiild’s album Better Luck in the Next Life has arrived, and it’s for the aching souls seeking ambient serenity. Throughout the album, the soul singer generates emotive atmospheres of echoing vocals, and you’re sensitive to each soundwave surging forward and submerged in the feeling. With its recurrent switch from drums to strumming to sustain the beat, “(Running Out of) Hallelujahs'' is undeniably reminiscent of late ‘90s early 2000s alt-rock, honoring the era that introduced me to music. It’s also entirely relatable with its confessions of melancholic thought deterring a spiritual mindset: “Can't kill my midnight disillusions / It’s been a fight that I’ve been losing / They say all things can happen through you / But I’m running out of hallelujahs.” —Gwyn Cutler

Superviolet: “Overrater”

When the great Ohio band The Sidekicks announced they had called it quits last year, leader Steve Ciolek had already been working on his own solo project. Now, it’s here. It’s called Superviolet (he styles in all lowercase), and it rocks. “Overrater,” the first taste from Ciolek’s new venture, begins slowly, almost pointing in an ambient or electronic direction before blooming into the kind of hook-laden shout-along opus he can write with the best of them. It’s impossible to be sad about The Sidekicks’ end now that we have “Overrater” — a great way to look forward into a bold new future, both for Ciolek’s great musical career and your own life. —Patrick Hosken

Grandson: “Eulogy”

Artists often talk about songwriting being a form of therapy as they express their feelings through metaphor and nuance. In Grandson's “Eulogy,” nothing is left to interpretation, making it easy to see why fans (whom the artist affectionately refers to as “grandkids”) are drawn to his honesty and vulnerability. The Canadian-American alt-rock/hip-hop maestro known for his hard-hitting policial protest songs has turned inward on his latest release confessing feelings of hopelessness and suicidal ideation. Lyrics also contemplate social-media overstimulation, anxiety, depression, and burnout. “It’s easy to feel nihilistic or cynical about the future, and there’s a strange comfort in indulging in the depressing absurdity of day to day life with the only people in the world that understand you,” Grandson says of the track. We are currently facing an unprecedented youth mental health crisis, and songs like “Eulogy” remind us that we are not alone. —Farah Zermane

King x Nick Jonas: “Maan Meri Jaan (Afterlife)”

Hearing Nick Jonas sing in Hindi was definitely not on my 2023 bingo card, but in one of the most unexpected collaborations of the year, he joins rising Indian pop star King on a remix of his chart-topping single, “Maan Meri Jaan.” The upgraded track, which aptly adds the word “Afterlife” to its title, features a hauntingly moody melody filled with dark synth and dramatic, hip-hop inspired layers — contrasting the warm, sunny ambience of its source material. While King retains his initial sentiments through his heartfelt Hindi lyrics, Jonas contributes an edgy original verse and chorus in English before shockingly harmonizing with the South Asian superstar in his native tongue. Reaching out to fans around the world, “Maan Meri Jaan (Afterlife)” is yet another example of music as a connecting force that knows no bounds, borders, or language. —Sarina Bhutani

Jordan Ward: “0495”

The production and the use of personally sampled audio within Jordan Ward’s most recent album Forward elevates the intense emotion already laden in his lyrics. The song “0495” and my close second favorite “Bussdown” both blew me away with their sheer simplicity, which is a rare thing — to be floored by a song so purposefully understated yet perfectly succinct, which works wonders for Ward’s nostalgic expression of his youth. Other favorites like “Pricetag/Beverlywood” and “FamJam4000” grab my attention for the opposite reason: Ward’s portrayal of adult consequences within interpersonal and contractual relationships. Overall, Forward has spectacular tracks for various states of mind, all with an experimental element. It’s evident that Ward is thinking forward in addition to moving forward with his career. —Gwyn Cutler

Suki Waterhouse: “To Love”

As she said on TikTok, Suki Waterhouse has returned “to drop this love song after exclusively releasing sad girl break-up bops for the past seven years,” and she’s delivered. Singing from where her heart is right now, the British artist/actress’ new single, “To Love,” tells a story of finding someone at just the right time and realizing you were meant to love each other, despite tortured pasts or tragedies going on in the world. Waterhouse’s voice calmy glides throughout this sultry and moody bop until the bridge, arguably the best part, when the drums and melody ramp up and she shouts, “Now I found myself this kinda love, I can’t believe it / I’ll never leave it behind / I thought I’d never get to feel another fucking feeling, but I feel this love.” The track returns to its original tempo with a soothing “Oh how lucky we are,” which makes you feel complete as it comes to an end. —Alissa Godwin

Cravity: “Groovy”

There’s something about Cravity that just feels like sunshine on your skin. With “Groovy,” the lead single off their newest mini-album, Master : Piece, the K-pop rising stars kick off their new era with an unmatched level of spirit and energy. Layering a retro, electro-funk melody with the group’s youthful and uplifting lyrics, “Groovy” encourages fans to let go of their stressors and find freedom in love. —Sarina Bhutani

Strange Ranger: “Rain So Hard”

“Rain So Hard” is a film. The sparkly band Strange Ranger go full cinema on this four-minute, synth-heavy cut, which finds singer Fiona Woodman repeatedly asking, “How do I get out of this movie?” The panoramic sound, cresting waves of digital chords, and the drums that enter at the exactly right moments all make for something you’ll feel compelled to rate five stars on Letterboxd. I say all this about a song which contains a possible dig at my profession — “I heard you write about culture / What’s that mean? / Is it sort of like everything?” — so know that my recommendation comes from the heart. —Patrick Hosken

Cherise: “Secrets”

With open arms, Cherise declares she’s always available for vulnerability in the company of those she’s comfortable with. “Because my intuition sings to me / That you’re craving something real / Let your guard down, let me in / Give yourself this chance to feel,” belts the London-based R&B songwriter. The confidence with which she commands her voice is so exceptional that it’s shocking she’s only been putting out music these past few years. The three-minute mark, when she breaks down her bridge singing, “Won’t you open,” has me shaking my head with sweet satisfaction and shivering in goosebumps. —Gwyn Cutler

Twice: “Set Me Free”

There’s no season like a Twice comeback season. With the release of their 12th mini-album Ready To Be (out today), the members of K-pop’s most beloved girl group continue on their quest to dominate the scene and eventually the world. The project is led by “Set Me Free,” their disco-inspired title track that finds the nonet confessing to a soul-killing crush. “Cause I’ve been hiding how I feel for you forever,” Mina sings in the opening verse. “Now that it’s off my chest, there’s room for you and me.” Coming off the success of English pre-release single “Moonlight Sunrise,” fans see the group returning to their roots with “Set Me Free,” which features a majority of lyrics in their native Korean, as well as their signature combination of vocalists, Jihyo, Nayeon, and Jeongyeon, taking lead on the choruses. However, despite barriers such as language or orientation, Twice’s music is always true to them and their ethos as a powerhouse group. They’ll continue to be in a lane of their own, and “Set Me Free” proves that. —Sarina Bhutani

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