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.
Normani ft. Cardi B: "Wild Side"
The longer Normani's path as a solo artist gets, the more the conversation turns to the question of her debut album. Namely, it's a question of when. But those anticipatory discussions miss the most fundamental element of Normani's power: She pretty much does it all. She's been sultry and explosive and playful. There's nothing left to prove, but "Wild Side," a star-affirming collab with Cardi B complete with one more blockbuster visual, shows yet another side. We'll see more when her album drops, of course. In the meantime, she invites you to take a walk on the wild side. —Patrick Hosken
Lil Mariko ft. Full Tac: “Boring”
Call it the lyric of the summer: "I'm not crazy, you're just boring." Lil Mariko tunes out the sound of dull men with this bombastic and ear-splitting track about unabashedly celebrating one's self-worth and dragging dudes who aren't worth your time. It's only fitting that she's the newest signee of Four Loko Records, and her self-awareness, sarcasm, and smirk hold their own against frequent collaborators like Dorian Electra and Rico Nasty. What starts as a hyperpop club-ready anthem transforms into screamo-level angst as the meme queen (who rose to viral fame with "Where's My Juul??") lets her quirks burst through beat by beat. —Carson Mlnarik
Ben Platt: “Happy to Be Sad”
Earnest piano ballads and rock-and-roll Lady Gaga covers aren’t all Ben Platt has up his sleeve. On his latest single, the Dear Evan Hansen star trades his Tony-winning Broadway belts for a more mellow, indie pop-inspired sound. The result is a little bit theater, a little bit “Merry Happy”-era Kate Nash, and a whole lotta bop. Peep the accompanying visuals for an appropriately fuzzy first look at Reverie, Platt’s sophomore album dropping in August. —Sam Manzella
Del Water Gap: “Hurting Kind”
“Hurting Kind” is an angst-ridden moment of realization, the minute of a new relationship in which you realize things might not end the way you hoped, that the love you’re trying to build may not stand on the sturdiest ground. Over scratching electric guitar, S. Holden Jaffe contemplates what to do about the potential — “If we ignore it, we can be fine,” he considers — ultimately giving in to this partnership’s treacherous slope: “If we learn our love is the hurting kind... I’ll let it devour me.” —Terron Moore
Porsh Bet$: “Whatever”
“I’ve made mistakes and I’ll be honest / Ain’t been the one to make a promise / But I’ll back for you in August / End of summer time.” On this indie-pop ballad, rising artist Porsh Bet$ sings about his regret in being dishonest and a bad partner. He says it’s alright to be called out if he ever messes up: “Whenever I’m wrong, you let me know.” At least the music video suggests a happy ending — they seem to get together again and drive off into the woods. —Athena Serrano
Calicoco: "Heal Me"
When Giana Caliolo declares an urge to be lobotomized, you listen. Recording and releasing music under the Calicoco moniker, the musician and songwriter based in Long Beach, New York (with Rochester roots) has spent a few years toying with tension and release — their 2018 album Float is littered with both. But new cut "Heal Me" amps up the anxiety and throws traditional song structure in the bin. The result is a frenzied series of commands over snakebite guitar fuzz that crashes to a halt without warning. How else could this have ended? —Patrick Hosken
Kim Woojin: “Still Dream”
Marking his first official comeback as a solo act, Kim Woojin makes a lasting impact with “Still Dream,” a lyrically vulnerable track aimed to tug right at your heart strings. Accompanied by an emotionally charged, choreography-heavy visual, “Still Dream” functions as Woojin’s true reintroduction to the spotlight, displaying both his personal and artistic growth since fans last heard from him in 2019. Beginning a new era, both sonically and visually, Woojin uses himself as an example for his fans, inspiring them to persevere in times of adversity and continue to chase their dreams. —Sarina Bhutani
Modernlove.: “Come Over X”
Irish indie-pop group Modernlove. brings vulnerability and longing with acoustic chords and ethereal sounds on “Come Over X.” Lead vocalist Barry Lally sings of a secret relationship and wanting to see his partner so badly: “Tiptoe to my room / I’m home, calling you / Keep it down, Dad’s here too / Just come around, I need to see you.” It’s clear Lally doesn’t want the relationship to always stay hidden from the world — along with his true self: “So why do I have to hide you? / So why do I have to hide?” —Athena Serrano
Dave ft. Snoh Aalegra: "Law of Attraction"
A quietly smoldering cut from London rapper Dave's excellent new album We're All Alone in This Together, "Law of Attraction" finds him trading his baritone rhymes with melodic interludes from Snoh Aalegra. The result is an intoxicating potion of push and pull, mirroring the forces of infatuation upon which the song builds its foundation. —Patrick Hosken
Julia Wolf: "Resting Bitch Face: Part 2"
If you were raised as a girl, you might relate to this pop anthem. Julia Wolf destroys the traditional expectations women must uphold to please men with her direct lyrics. She sings about how women are guilty of promoting these old standards: “Momma told me you better fix your face / You're never gonna find a nice guy that way." But she doesn’t give a fuck what her momma thinks. She doesn’t care if she has bad RBF; maybe one day she will meet someone who will completely love and accept her for her. —Athena Serrano
Shwayze: “Corona and Lime”
The King of Summer has returned with a remake of his 2008 iconic hit featuring new vocals from reggae artist Hirie. While the lyrics remain the same on this hip-hop track, the acoustic chords and percussions have a faster tempo than the original. COVID-19 may be still raging, but don’t be afraid to party on with your Corona and lime bae (and beer) with this nostalgic bop, as long as you’re both vaccinated. —Athena Serrano
Girlpuppy: "Miniature Furniture"
Atlanta's Girlpuppy, a.k.a. Becca Harvey, makes music that you could comfortably slot next to Snail Mail and Phoebe Bridgers — the latter's collaborator Marshall Vore even assists on Harvey's debut EP, Swan, out on August 20. On "Miniature Furniture," though, there's a lightness that puts her in her own league. When she sings, "Maybe move to somewhere bigger / Chicago, Pasadena / 'Cause I still can't stand the cold," doubled by her own close-tracked harmonies, it sounds as breezy as her appearance in the video: floating in a pool, unhurried, matching ennui with bright jangle. —Patrick Hosken