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.
Ed Sheeran & Elton John: “Merry Christmas”
Ed Sheeran needed some convincing from his friend and fellow Englishman Elton John to make his first Christmas song. But he wisely realized you don’t say no to a living legend. What resulted is a new Yuletide classic destined to appear on holiday playlists and music charts for years to come. The catchy tune comes with a festive video that is jam-packed with references to iconic videos of years past from Wham!, Mariah Carey, and more. —Farah Zermane
Nnena ft. Westside Boogie: "Come Again"
This unsteady cut from Cleveland's Nnena has two important distinctions. The first is that its entire orbit is wobbly, seemingly unsteady on its feet, and completely unpredictable. That special musicality makes for otherworldly R&B that permeates her entire new EP ...Just Cause, on which the vibe is mellow but gripping. The second distinction comes from guest Westside Boogie, whose breakneck verse adds to the atmosphere of controlled chaos. "Come Again" checks pretty much every box while still sounding completely novel. —Patrick Hosken
Payday: “Big Boy”
Payday packs a ton of words, and punches, into the two-minute runtime of sardonic banger “Big Boy,” which appeared on her 2021 mixtape House Of P.U.K.E. She uses sexism in the industry as the fodder for a wildly original and funky track about double standards (“Boys rule, girls drool, that’s just the facts / And if you think any different then you’re gonna get smacked”) and staying true to herself (“I’m a girl, I know / But I got a big mouth and a big boy flow / Yeah, they only wanna listen when the bitches being hoes”). Though she spits her bars fast, she never loses her point of view, dropping each lyric like a truth bomb with a winking smile. —Carson Mlnarik
Broadside: “Silent Night”
Last year, as hopelessness and uncertainty loomed over the holiday season, pop-punk band Broadside gifted the scene with their spin on a centuries-old Christmas classic “Silent Night.” Oliver Baxxter’s vocals strike a peaceful, poignant tone that subtly modernizes one of the world’s most well-known carols. “Listen to our rendition while lying on [the] floor, gazing up at the ceiling fan, wondering ‘will things get better?’” the band wrote on Twitter, “and accepting that they will — with time.” —Farah Zermane
Best Coast ft. The Linda Lindas: "Leading"
After contributing some songs to Amy Poehler's film Moxie and going viral thanks to a fueled-up performance in a Los Angeles library, the great young punk band The Linda Lindas signed to Epitaph and have continued to rack up the collaborative opportunities. Their latest comes via Best Coast's "Leading," on which the group sing background harmonies. In the foreground, as ever, is Bethany Cosentino; here, she explores how "nostalgia's overrated, or maybe it's just complicated" over chugging power chords and a sugar-rush chorus — her specialty. The end result — looking forward, not backward — is a nice note to leave 2021 on. —Patrick Hosken
Kelly Rowland & Nova Wav: “Wonderful Time”
Have yourself a very Kelly Rowland Christmas! The holidays will feel a little brighter with Nova Wav’s update to the 1963 caroling tune. Wav and Rowland’s version of this classic transports us from Andy William’s original track on a grocery store playlist to what you want to hear pouring the egg nog with your bestie at those “gay happy meetings.” —Zach O’Connor
Hiss Golden Messenger: “O Come All Ye Faithful”
When all the old standbys and overplayed holidays ditties have grown stale, reach for something cozy and new. The carol “O Come All Ye Faithful” likely dates back to the 18th century, making it older than a lot of the so-called classics you hear in stores around this time of year. But North Carolina folk mainstays Hiss Golden Messenger have managed to make it new by scaling back and dialing in on what matters: a twinkling piano, fire-warm sax fills, and a generally sleepy disposition of endless good cheer. —Patrick Hosken
Attention, reader! Meet your newest girl-group obsession, Ive. The sextet recently exploded on the scene this month with one of the best debut tracks from a rookie K-pop group we've heard in a while. Their earworm single "Eleven" is filled with joy, electricity, and a touch of mystery. The pre-chorus slows down just a bit before bursting into the refrain with all the rapturous feels of a new crush. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. You make me feel like eleven!” We haven’t stopped counting since. —Daniel Head
Shygirl: “Cleo (At Abbey Road)”
With its cinematic orchestral introduction, the dance-pop track "Cleo," since it first dropped in October, always seemed primed for something grander than the nightclub. On this live version, backed by an 18-piece ensemble at London's hallowed Abbey Road Studios, the spitfire emcee Shygirl delivers an update fitting of the Egyptian queen after whom the song is named. Instead of a drop, there's a sonorous cello solo. Rather than calculated house beats, there are somber, whinnying strings. —Coco Romack
Kelly Clarkson: “Christmas Isn’t Canceled (Just You)”
Kelly Clarkson is coming for the holly crown with the release of her second holiday album When Christmas Comes Around…. Although the record boasts a variety of covers and originals, including a particularly inspired new jam featuring Ariana Grande, no track better sums up her resolve to make the yuletide gay than “Christmas Isn’t Canceled (Just You).” It’s no secret that the holidays can be a lonely time for the relationship-challenged, but Kelly is determined to enjoy every last snowflake, shopping trip, and Christmas tune, solitude be damned. “I’m gonna shout too much and dance in the snow / Drink just enough to let us go / Christmas isn’t canceled, just you,” she sings in the buoyant chorus before plotting a decadent New Year’s Eve to herself. Perhaps what we’ve all been missing is a certified holiday breakup bop. —Carson Mlnarik