Bop Shop: Songs From SZA, Rini, &Team, And More

Learn a new 'Love Language'

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.

SZA: “Love Language”

Following up on her instant-classic 2017 debut album Ctrl has been a long, laborious process, but creativity can't be rushed, especially at SZA's level. Her sophomore album, SOS, is finally out today (December 9). With new collaborations from Don Toliver, Phoebe Bridgers, Travis Scott, and Ol' Dirty Bastard, the album also features production from Babyface, Jay Versace, Benny Blanco, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, and more. Along with previous releases like "Good Days," "Shirt," and "I Hate U," the album also features anthem-worthy tracks such as "Love Language," which samples SZA and Ty Dolla $ign's 2020 banger "Hit Different" and seems to interpolate Aaliyah's song "I Don't Wanna." The talent that SZA possesses is evident on SOS. The album, consisting of 23 tracks at just over an hour, conveys SZA's most intimate feelings and pushes the boundaries of narrative music and storytelling. Like on Ctrl, her songs on SOS are vulnerable and intense; she tackles mental health, love, and sex in an open, raw, and accessible approach. In a world that scurries, it's bold to hold off on releasing an album for five years.

Nevertheless, SOS makes it feel like it's been a minute. You're reminded that SZA is the only one who does it as she does. My love for SZA's music and voice makes me confident that those hungry for a new album will be satisfied. Always bad bitch but occasional sad bitch, her varying takes on life still resonate. There's passion, dynamism, and genuine artistic expression and authenticity throughout the entire album. —Sunni Anderson

Rachel Bobbitt: “More” (demo)

As the lead-off track on her 2022 EP The Ceiling Could Collapse, “More” finds Rachel Bobbitt down in a sonic hole — but her voice grants the song a floating ease, even as she examines the heaviness of, as she says, “navigating the medical system as a woman whose pain is often disregarded as inevitable.” The demo, released this week, is even more haunting, bereft of the slick guitar lines that lend the final version a polish. All that’s left is the ache. But through Bobbitt’s beautiful recitation, the song still takes flight. —Patrick Hosken

&Team: “Scent of You”

Officially making their debut this week, HYBE Japan’s first-ever boy group, &Team, makes a bold statement with “Scent of You,” a retro, R&B-inspired track bound to get stuck in your head. As the lead single off their new EP, First Howling: Me, it combines layers of groovy synth with full-bodied bass and twinkly textures to create a song that feels simultaneously vintage and fresh. Accompanied by an energetic, multi-colored music video, filled with perpetually moving camera angles to show off the group’s intensely skilled footwork (literally), “Scent of You” is a strong and confident start for the debutants. This is only the beginning of what seems like a bright and prosperous future, so we can’t wait to see what the group has coming down the pipeline. I’m sure it won’t disappoint. —Sarina Bhutani

Chad Tepper & Lit: “777”

Behind the grungy gravel of his vocals and all the tattoos, Chad Tepper conveys a sweetness and authenticity on “777” that makes him a one-of-a-kind rocker. The charismatic Los Angeles artist teams up with ‘90s alt-rock legends Lit for a romantic love song that pairs modern distorted guitars with a rockabilly swing. “I wanted to write a song about someone that took me from the worst place in my life to the best place in my life,'' Tepper says. “It's that feeling of going from a literal living hell with depression and all the mental battles we fight through and then meeting her and having my life flipped around where I'm on Cloud 9.” —Farah Zermane

Xavier Omär ft. Alex Isley: “Peppermint Tea”

Looking to take a sip of a soothing track this holiday season? Xavier and Alex have delivered this Christmas delight hot and ready to warm your heart right up. It’s a tranquil duet about togetherness as the world chills over once again. Like a mint tea, it brings about languid behavior with its leisurely ingestion, but it’s also got that freshness that keeps you awake and engaged. This is definitely a gentle tune to be played around a fireplace cuddled up with the one(s) you love. —Gwyn Cutler

Rebecca Black: “Look At You”

Rebecca Black picks right up from last month’s “Let Her Burn,” but she drifts in a sorrowful direction on this melancholy new single, expressing her disheartened emotions and empathy over how a girl she cares about is struggling. “People see you on the screen and think you're make believe / But I tell them you're better in person,” Black reassures in the first verse. “You got that kind of confidence that makes everyone obsessed / But be honest, I know that you're hurting.” Her tender vocals accompanied with gentle synths and America’s Got Talent rock star Bonavega’s bass chords culminate into a beautiful track worth listening to. —Athena Serrano

The Go! Team: “Whammy O”

The Go! Team have dropped three striking singles in the past three months, each with its own distinctive vibe and value they represent. Their most recent, “Whammy O,” embraces freeform movement of all varieties with its ‘90s-inspired vibrations and VHS visuals. Each pumped-up power bop is coupled with what they call a “mixed media meteor shower” — an effective edit of archival videos stitched together to excite their audience and incite them to mobilize, whether it's to dance or to protest. Watch, listen, and learn from their hits “Divebomb” and “A Bee Without Its Sting” for some quality revolutionist content. All the best art compels us to act. —Gwyn Cutler

Rini: “Strawberry Blossom”

Fresh and spritely off the Filipino star’s new album Ultraviolet is this soft and steamy jam that’ll have you swayed — physically and mentally. Rini implements an enticing combination of bass and strings that pulls the body into fluid motion. Not only that, but his alluring vocals and assertive lyrics are extremely attractive. In the song’s refrain, he couples two self-proclaimed nicknames: “flower killer” and “thriller from Manila.” Though a bit campy, it could very well be an overt understatement. Time will tell how this luminary blooms. —Gwyn Cutler

Paramore: “The News”

“The News,” the second single from Paramore’s upcoming album This is Why, belongs in a time capsule. It perfectly illustrates the exhaustion we’re all feeling from the relentless news cycle of the last few years and how it can leave us feeling frustrated, helpless, and heartbroken. The track also includes some biting (but necessary) commentary on the media industry as a whole, calling out its exploitative and performative tendencies. “It's the balance between apathy and the righteous rage that motivates you to action,'' frontwoman Hayley Williams told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “And I think in between there is wherever your own mental boundary is to protect your own energy.” Well said. —Farah Zermane

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