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.
Syd: "Fast Car"
Syd's "Fast Car," while not a Tracy Chapman cover, may yet become likewise iconic. Its steamy video opens with Syd and a partner acting out the lyrics — getting romantic in the front seat — even as fellow travelers in traffic stare. "Hope they're all watching / Help me take my seatbelt off," Syd sings, "We gon' piss some people off / But right now that's where we belong." Much like its 1988 namesake, "Fast Car" revels in its title location as a shelter, a safe haven, and a powerful place; where Chapman "had a feeling that [she] belonged," Syd repeats a simple desire: "Take me there." That hazy sense of desire is echoed by Syd's scorching guitar squalls that resound through the nighttime California sky. —Patrick Hosken
Jamila Woods: "Fast Car" (Tracy Chapman cover)
Here's an actual Tracy Chapman cover — a heart-swelling take on the folk-pop hit that subs out sighing acoustic guitar for wounded keyboard. Jamila Woods, the Chicago artist known for her neo-soul explorations, keeps the urgency of the original intact; she repeats the chorus-ending "be someone" multiple times, upping the drama, even as the general vibe remains sedate. It's a fitting tribute to Chapman's legacy and appears on the upcoming Join the Ritual album honoring the artists that inspired the Jagjaguwar label, out in September. —Patrick Hosken
Tanerélle: “Good Good”
If a song is like a tapestry, Tanerélle's voice is the silk that weaves notes and lyrics together. Her latest track "Good Good" is a slow and mellow mood-setter about catering to a partner. With a steady bass accompanied by simple chords, she lays out the blueprint for prioritizing your significant other, maximizing pleasure, and making them "feel good." She sings, "Let's wash off your day and get right," and later adds, "Take a hit of me and get high." And we are floating on cloud nine, somewhere between the airy chorus and the passion of summer. —Virginia Lowman
BTS: “I’ll Be Missing You” (Puff Daddy, Faith Evans, 112 cover)
With their cover of the 1998 classic “I’ll Be Missing You,” international superstars BTS leave an emotional mark on the BBC Live Lounge. With a song so emotionally charged (penned in remembrance of legendary rapper Biggie Smalls) and wholeheartedly beloved by a generation, the Bangtan Boys had the eyes of the world on their stage. But as expected, the group delivered a riveting performance expertly executed. While still paying homage to the original, the addition of rappers Suga and J-Hope’s Korean verses, as well as Jimin’s angelic vocals, added some artistic flair to the performance, while fellow members RM, Jin, V, and Jungkook held it down with the English rap, melody, and ad-libs. Touching the hearts of music-lovers around the world, BTS’s performance further proves that music is universal and knows no bounds, borders, or language. —Sarina Bhutani
Leadr: “I’m Alright”
After surviving a toxic relationship, queer Vietnamese-American singer Leadr is here to take back their control with this empowering breakup anthem. “You pushed me in the deep end / And I found mysеlf there / I didn’t drown,” he sings. Despite the hurt from the abuse, they have something to say to their ex-partner: “Your words, they try to burn me / Never did you wrong / You gave me many reasons / Taught me how to move on.” In the end, Leadr is completely all right and better off with a more mature mindset. If you’re going through the end of a terrible relationship, this is the perfect song for you. —Athena Serrano
Miss Madeline: “Bad Girls”
“I found God in the basement of a rave,” proclaims Miss Madeline on this heavenly hyperpop cut. For one of the “Bad Girls,” the Slayyyter-approved pop singer paints a damn good picture of a sexy post-vax night out. Press play to be instantly transported to your dimly lit dance floor of choice, no clubbing attire or $50 Uber ride home required. —Sam Manzella
Will Joseph Cook ft. Chloe Moriondo: “Be Around Me”
Will Joseph Cook and Chloe Moriondo are effortlessly effervescent from the start of their colorful collab “Be Around Me.” Over a drum beat that won’t quit, a sly bassline, and an assortment of handclaps, the duo take turns trading compliments, outdoing the other’s effusiveness line by line: “Oh my god, did you call me baby / Maybe / Oh / Is that OK? / Yeah it’s cool.” Though each lyric reads like a text you’d nervously send to a crush, the track’s addictively sweet chorus lingers long after the first listen. Sometimes it’s just as simple as “I’m around, be around / Come around, be around me.” —Carson Mlnarik
Kyle: “Love Me Like You Say You Love Me”
We’ve all had that moment when being in love seemed too hard but breaking up was even harder. If you’ve ever needed the right words to let that love go, Kyle has you covered with this melodic heartbreak single. Taking a step outside the box, the Los Angeles rapper tapped into his emotional side, recently mentioning he was “back at it again with the love songs.” —Taura J
Parisalexa: “...Better Than Being in Love”
Parisalexa throws it back to the ’90s with this confident R&B anthem. “I love me / Heard they don’t like me / Well I just don’t care, yeah,” she sings. Parisalexa is aware why she might have haters: “I understand why you act that way / And if I were you I’d be bitter too.” But really, she doesn’t give a damn that you’re mad at her because she loves herself — and has no time for you. Overall, Parisalexa brings an influential message that self-love is often better than being in love. —Athena Serrano
Drinking Boys and Girls Choir: "There Is No Spring"
In 2019, Daegu punk trio Drinking Boys and Girls Choir told MTV News that the freedom to play shows helped liberate them from the grueling churn of their day jobs. "If anybody listens to my song, and I can play, I'm just really happy," bassist and vocalist Meena said at the time. In fact, the band's rousing live shows are their cornerstone; when the pandemic took them away, DBGC instead suped up their studio sound on new album Marriage License, an exhilarating and elevated pop-punk masterstroke that's not afraid to get chunky. Standout "There Is No Spring" is melodious as an April breeze, arch and playful, and the exact amount of frenetic needed to sustain the energy and the accompanying freedom. —Patrick Hosken
Willow and Avril Lavigne ft. Travis Barker: “Grow”
Spanning bombastic pop and moody neo-soul, Willow has proven herself as a chameleonic artist. But her recent embrace of her mom’s rock roots on Lately I Feel Everything is perhaps her most interesting turn yet. Her voice sounds both wizened and authoritative on “Grow,” a drum-driven, 2000s pop-rock-inspired anthem that harkens back to a sound honed by the greats like Avril Lavigne. It’s only fitting that both Lavigne and Blink-182’s Travis Barker are featured on the track — which absolutely shreds. “I hope you know you’re not alone / Being confused ain’t right or wrong,” Willow sings, before asserting, “You’ll find that you’re your own best friend / And no, that ain’t a fuckin’ metaphor.” The track radiates the same inspiration and wisdom Jimmy Eat World espoused with “The Middle” 20 years ago this month, and it’s nice to hear it again through Willow’s modern lens. —Carson Mlnarik
Dirty Nice: “Tulips”
London alt-pop duo Dirty Nice deliver a whimsical, playful love song that is great to listen to with your summer fling. “We just wanna make it worth our while / Food stuck in our teeth when we smile,” vocalists Charlie Pelling and Mark Thompson sing. They know life flies by so fast, but they are eager to buy you some tulips and watch fond memories bloom. —Athena Serrano
Octavio the Dweeb: “Slow Drag”
“Stress is more dangerous than smoking that cig,” Octavio the Dweeb sings about a relationship that took a turn for the worst. He’s trying to take a breather to remind myself everything will be fine and he should find something to distract and heal from the breakup. Just take a slow drag and breathe out. —Athena Serrano
Indigo De Souza: "Hold U"
Asheville singer-songwriter Indigo De Souza grounded her 2018 debut, I Love My Mom, in confessional guitar tunes and an overall airiness. The result was a collection of memorable probes into her psyche. For her follow-up, Any Shape You Take (out August 27), she's bulked things up; on "Hold U," a kinetic rhythm runs throughout, changing slightly to match the unfolding intimacy of Indigo's lyrics. By the end, buried under layers of motion, the whole thing feels airy in a new way, and no less potent. —Patrick Hosken