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.
Doja Cat: "Game"
"Is it bad if I care for you? / You make it seem like it's a crime that I love you," Doja Cat croons in the intro to "Game," from her debut album, Amala. The endlessly talented rapper just released her second album, Hot Pink, and I'm absolutely loving the tracks I've heard thus far, but I had to throw it back this week to "Game," one of the first songs after "Tia Tamera" that really made me sit up and pay attention. It's a banger of a track that finds Doja reflecting on a relationship that her partner apparently never took seriously in the first place. Who hasn't been there? I felt it in my soul when she said "Act 17 when you're 32," the ultimate kiss-off line to any immature suitor who just can't quite get over their teenage years even well on into adulthood. I want to keep playing these games, Doja! —Brittany Vincent
HAIM: "Now I'm In It"
While HAIM's "Now I'm in It" might seem like a breakup song, one whose chorus declares a relationship over with no chance of reconciliation, it's actually a chaotic, uptempo pop track that encapsulates what it's like inside the mind of someone struggling with depression. From feeling totally out of control to not recognizing yourself in the mirror, the song's descriptions are not only relatable, but they mark an important shift in destigmatizing mental illness in pop music.
"I can't get a hold of myself, I can't get outta this situation," Danielle Haim sings on the first verse. But while the song understands the dark depths of mental illness, it also sees the light at the end of the tunnel. After "trying to find [her] way back for a minute" on the chorus, Danielle decides she's not going to give up. "Something in the way that I felt when I woke up / Told me that I shouldn't give in, give up hope," she sings in trademark harmony with her sisters. And sometimes, those words are all any of us need to make it through another day. —Jordyn Tilchen
It's no secret that melodic rap, thanks to artists like Travis Scott, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan, has become the most dominant form of hip-hop. For the last four years or so, the subgenre grew into the genre, with rappers often attempting to replicate more successful melody pushers to diminishing results. The kerfuffle around "mumble rap" never evolved into a discussion about this newer, more popular sound, probably because melodies drive radio, and artists like Juice WRLD have successfully blurred the line between melodic rap and singing in bold new ways. Outside of this longstanding bubble is RonSoCold, something of a singularity, who raps in melodies in a twisted way.
It's hard to explain his breathless chant and how his lines all end on the same note. His beat choice is stellar and random, finding perky, vibrant video game-recalling special effects sprinkled over pummeling 808s that box you into a corner. His latest release, "Sharktale," that picks you up and whisks you into a medieval, 2D-style dungeon crawler. This vast atmosphere underscores RonSoCold's unique take on melody every time he resets his register and goes on another run. It's something that you can sing in the shower guilt-free. —Trey Alston
Magdalena Bay: "Killshot"
L.A. duo Magdalena Bay have been on an absolute tear this year, releasing almost a dozen tracks alongside DIY-style videos. Their latest is "Killshot," a synthy, sexy tale of "twisted pleasure" that, appropriately, arrived right before Halloween. Verses about washing down "death kisses" with glasses of "sin and tonic" lead to a hook that's pure vintage pop: "Hit me with your killshot, baby," Mica sings, channeling early Britney Spears. It's spookier and more chaotic than the duo's usual fare, like bubblegum bop "Only If You Want To," but 'tis the season for wickedness. —Madeline Roth
Dua Lipa: "Don't Start Now"
Anyone who made their Songs of the Year list or, hell, even their Songs of the Decade list before Dua Lipa released "Don't Start Now" made a mistake. As our own Madeline Roth put it, "New era, new rules, new sound!" And what makes this new sound so, so special is Dua's ability to mix Kylie Minogue's disco swagger with a Robyn-style dance-floor confessional, a song that as much about dancing as it is about overcoming heartbreak. Add to that Lipa's jaw-dropping opening to the EMAs on November 4, and it's clear that the next decade already belongs to her. —Bob Marshall
Ashoka: "Regular Day"
A TED Talk over a beat. That must have been the pitch for Ashoka, a rapper and singer out of New York, heading into the studio to record what would become "Regular Day." It reminds me of Jerreau's "Really Got It" in the sense that it's a perfect pick-me-up for when you have to crank out an extra bicep-popping set of curls on the weight bench or study for an exam and all you want to do is play Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare instead. "Regular Day" uses to-the-point lyricism and some fluttering vocals to push you to get on your grind in the least corny way possible. It's an earworm that actually makes you listen to and believe in the lyrics instead of blindly reciting them. The path to the ever-elusive bag starts by memorizing "Regular Day." —Trey Alston