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.
Grace Cummings: "Storm Queen"
On her upcoming second LP Storm Queen, not much can compete with the immense voice of Grace Cummings. The title track, unveiled this week, finds a sneaky saxophone making a play for supremacy anyway. After a gripping opening line — “Townes Van Zandt took a hold of my hand / So I wouldn’t feel alone” — the tune finds its way around desert guitars and bold piano, but at heart, it’s a duet between Cummings and the horn. It’s not a competition, but anyway, guess who comes out on top? All hail. —Patrick Hosken
Kim Petras: "Coconuts"
My life can be divided into two distinct chapters: before I heard Kim Petras invite the world to put her coconuts "in your mouth," and after. The German-born pop singer's latest single is ridiculous but self-aware, with a winking Petras nicknaming the twins "Cart-i-er and Tiff-an-y" over a blissful, beachy beat. It takes on an additional layer of celebratory depth for fans who know Petras is a trans woman. Consider the rack-track market cornered. —Sam Manzella
Summer may be over, but if Kai says it's peach season, it's peach season. As the first single from his highly anticipated sophomore solo EP, EXO's Kai exceeds any and all expectations with "Peaches." Utilizing a traditional-turned-modern Korean melody overlaid with sweet, yet seductive lyrics, this comeback stays true to the Kai we know and love, yet continues to push his artistry forward and further establish him as a soloist. Accompanied by a bright and airy, pastel-hued visual filled with traditional Korean garb, complex choreo, and lots of peaches (literally), the track serves as the perfect start to this new era of Kai and leaves fans wanting more. —Sarina Bhutani
Normani ft. Kaytranada: "Wild Side (Kaytranada Remix)"
Under an interpolation of Aaliyah’s "One in a Million," Normani's original "Wild Side" is deeply sensual, but a tad too patient. Even in its overtly sexual demands, the BPM clips at a cautious pace; a request like "I wanna drive you crazy" feels honest, but not wholly commanding. Kaytranada's interpretation punches the song up with his trademark fusion of electronic synths with hip-hop percussion, purging Cardi's verse for a solo journey. This time, when she hits that same line, the floor of the beat gives out: The heavenly synth suddenly darkens into a freaky, vibrating slink of a groove. Here, she's more in control. —Terron Moore
Lady Pills: "My Weight"
I try not to let music videos sway my connection with songs too much, but man, Boston's Ella Boissonnault really did something here. The talented artist at the center of Lady Pills played every instrument on new album What I Want, and in the impressive and very charming video for "My Weight," Boissonnault also leads a gleeful choreographed street routine with some friends. Their collective pep matches the song's flirtatious beckoning ("C'mon, let's get closer / We'll do it right forever") and the playfulness on show throughout, which makes "My Weight" extremely infectious. —Patrick Hosken
Lolo Zouaï: "Scooter"
Electric scooters tend to evoke strong feelings from city dwellers for a multitude of reasons. But Lolo Zouaï’s catchy new bop “Scooter” has made them cool again. The French-Algerian-American R&B-pop singer continues to showcase her versatility by experimenting with her voice and beats. On “Scooter,” Zouaï delivers bars at half-whisper over a beat that was produced using sounds created from her voice rather than instruments. In the accompanying video, she rides through the streets of Paris on a fuzzy, fuchsia scooter with swagger as the chorus declares, “Everybody starin' / I don't care and I'm feeling great.” It’s that attitude and fearlessness that make this artist so fun to watch. —Farah Zermane
Few bands have evolved as gracefully as Girlpool. Their early punky energy gave way to more widescreen indie rock on the great albums Powerplant and What Chaos Is Imaginary, and last year's one-off "Like I'm Winning It" felt like a darker, more cerebral turn. With "Faultline," led by Harmony Tividad's gilded vocals, the duo (rounded out by Avery Tucker) face the light; it's not a sunny day by any means ("I live at this fault line / Between the edge of solitude and hope"), but Girlpool's latest showing still radiates with pure emotion. —Patrick Hosken
Carpetgarden make a bold statement at the beginning of their nihilistic, rousing, and rebelling new single: “My life’s a joke but at least it was pretty funny.” The lyric defines the L.A.-based alt-pop musician’s attitude for the rest of the track as they drop zingers like “My body’s vacant like a 100-year-old house” and “Worms in my brain and both my eyes are filled with daisies” over a grungy and swinging beat. Listen a little closer, though, and you’ll realize they’re not just shredding the system, but also the haters, affirming themselves and their identity with every triumphant "I don’t care!" —Carson Mlnarik
Jean Dawson ft. Mac DeMarco: "Menthol"
There's something inevitable about a team-up between Jean Dawson and Mac DeMarco. The latter has long mined watery guitar chords in service of increasingly more introspective songs, and while Dawson's music is inarguably more urgent, a song like "Clear Bones" is obviously born from a lot of rumination. "Menthol," on the other hand, dips far further into the chaotic, igniting a slew of guitar distortion and plenty of F-bombs to deliver a specific message that DeMarco helps out with: "Fuck out my face." —Patrick Hosken
Suzanna Son: "Bye Bye Bye" (NSYNC Cover)
Suzanna Son stars as Strawberry in A24’s Red Rocket (out today), and if the film’s director Sean Baker and lead actor Simon Rex — a former MTV VJ! — did not catch your attention, Son’s dramatic reinterpretation of this NSYNC classic for the soundtrack surely will. There are no frills or stylized synths backing up Son as she gives a theatrical rendition of the early aughts break-up anthem, finding the power in lines like “Now I really come to see / That life would be much better once you’re gone.” There’s an unsettling edge to the way she grips onto the words, begging the question: Is goodbye really good-“bye bye bye?” —Carson Mlnarik