Bop Shop: Songs From Cordae, Whee In, Uwade, And More

From a state of the union check-in to a lament about the algorithm, and everything between

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.

Cordae: "Chronicles" (ft. H.E.R. and Lil Durk)

Cordae sounds unmistakably warm on "Chronicles," in part due to the track's acoustic-on-the-beat foundation that sounds straight out of 2004. But even the quality of Cordae's voice emanates heat, one intensified when H.E.R. stops by for a glowing verse of her own. Lil Durk, meanwhile, brings the appropriate counterbalance — a slight rasp — making "Chronicles" a banquet of texture. It's a rainy-day tune that sounds like a sun shower. —Patrick Hosken

Whee In: "Make Me Happy"

It’s solo comeback season for the ladies of Mamamoo, and next up is everyone’s favorite vocalist, Whee In! As the first single off her sophomore mini-album Whee (and first single under new label The L1ve), “Make Me Happy” is the perfect introduction to the K-pop star’s new era. With a melodic piano and groovy bass adding texture to the track, and Whee In’s always gorgeous vocals taking center stage, “Make Me Happy” is the mid-tempo, jazz-pop song that she was destined to make. Accompanied by the vintage, floral-fantasy music video of your dreams, “Make Me Happy” is a clear expression of Whee In’s newfound creative freedom and displays a nearly palpable sense of self confidence, an aspect you see not only here, but throughout the album. “Make Me Happy” simply proves that Whee In is in control, and we truly love to see it. —Sarina Bhutani

Uwade: "Do You See the Light Around Me?"

On this extraordinarily gorgeous cut, Uwade explores an extremely ordinary human experience: having a crush on someone and not knowing if they like you back. Lush instrumentation and hypnotic vocal harmonies swirl in tandem, creating the perfect soundscape for the indie-folk singer-songwriter’s spiraling thoughts. “By your side / Inside your mind / I’ve been looking all my life / But the sun is setting on me,” she intones. At the end of the day, the most we can do is hope our feelings are requited. —Sam Manzella

Adele: "Love Is a Game"

Adele told us to listen to her new album 30 in sequence, and “Love Is A Game” is reason enough. What a way to end it. The jazzy melody that opens up the ballad makes you feel warm, like you’ve grown up hearing it at the end of your favorite movie or throughout your parents’ house during the special moments in your past. The overall melodic power of the song is so captivating that it almost causes you to miss how heartbreaking the lyrics are: "My heart speaks in puzzle and codes / I've been trying my whole life to solve / God only knows how I've cried / I can't take another defeat / A next time would be the ending of me." The emotion Adele conveys throughout nearly seven minutes only increases in power, and her cheeky background vocals make “Love Is a Game” sound all the more like a classic. Love is a game, and this song played with my emotions big time. —Alissa Godwin

Loud Urban Choir: "Bloody Samaritan"

I didn't forgo making a set of resolutions this year — I'm Type A, sorry not sorry — but in addition, I also picked a song that I wanted to represent my year. Loud Urban Choir's 2021 rendition of Ayra Starr's Afrobeats bop "Bloody Samaritan" is exactly the energy I want not only this year, but throughout my life. Lyrically, it's an elevated take on the popular idiom "good vibes only." Sonically, it's got a flow like water and manages to yield a sound that is mellow and tropically cool even though it opens with an orchestral base before the choir comes in on the down beat. Strong vocals, a synthesizer, keys, and simple drums carry the song to its climax: "I'm feeling vibes on vibes / I'm a ticking dynamite / I'll blow your candlelight / You know I'm just that type / No oh, dem fit kill my vibe (No, no) / Dem no fit kill my vibe.” Good vibes be damned — this is 59 seconds of "supreme vibes only." —Virginia Lowman

Nilüfer Yanya: "Midnight Sun"

Just as an actual midnight sun would be hypnotizing to gaze at, Nilüfer Yanya's song of the same name finds power in repetition. She uses a muted, circular electronic guitar line to begin the spell before switching it out for an earthy acoustic during most crucial moments of "Midnight Sun." Whatever her chosen method of communication, Yanya's hooks are always unforgettable. Your patience is greatly rewarded. —Patrick Hosken

Boston Manor: “Algorithm”

British alternative rock band Boston Manor released “Algorithm” last September, a firsthand account of the pervasive pressures that artists face as the music industry continues its pivot to the ultra-demanding and fast-paced world of social media. This week, the five-piece group showcased its versatility by dropping an acoustic version of the song that feels more delicate and introspective than the original while the lyrics continue to deliver a powerful message. “I often feel pressured to be a person I’m not, and that sucks,” lead singer Henry Cox said of the lyrics. This impactful track should serve as a wakeup call for an industry that’s at risk of sacrificing art and authenticity in favor of “content.” —Farah Zermane

Grae: "Room in the Desert"

Alt-pop rising star Grae might hail from Canada, but she’s somewhere decidedly drier on dreamy new single “Room in the Desert.” The trippy track is an ode to empaths and the never-ending search for emotional solace — its suspenseful production builds bewitching feelings until she gives way to a chorus as smooth as the room she dreams of. Her otherworldly visual is nothing short of intriguing as she moves bathed in red light and the occasional gallon of sand. I’d also be remiss not to mention she’s in the running for most relatable lyric of 2022: “Is it bad I cry most days?” —Carson Mlnarik

Taeyeon: "Can't Control Myself"

Never in a million years did I expect to hear “Taeyeon” and “pop-punk” in the same sentence, but if the past few years have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. With the release of “Can’t Control Myself,” the Girls’ Generation superstar takes a calculated risk and explores the depth of her creativity and artistry as a soloist. Overlaying her emotional, self-written lyrics with a guitar-laden melody, Taeyeon continuously finds new and unique ways to express herself sonically, and further pushes the boundaries of what people expect from her. Released in tandem with a darker, more cinematic music video, “Can’t Control Myself” marks the start of an exciting and adventurous comeback, leaving fans in eager anticipation for TY3. —Sarina Bhutani

Marlon Craft: "State of the Union, Part II"

Rap has always been music's frontier for speaking truth to power, and rising stars like New York-bred rapper Marlon Craft are continuing that legacy. His latest project, “State of the Union,” is a two-part track to complement his 2021 release of the same name, which dropped ahead of Inauguration Day and opened with the hard-hitting line, "The state of the union is that there isn't one." A year later, Craft is back for part two, which tackles everything from failures in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial to the overhaul of women's rights and COVID-19 cases overwhelming our ICUs. Conscious rap rarely gets the mainstream attention it deserves, but there's a long legacy of rappers — Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), Queen Latifah, Common, KRS-1, A Tribe Called Quest, and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few — who convert economics and the social and political woes of our time to verse and lay it over an infectious beat. Craft is in good company. If headlines and news don’t appeal to you, perhaps rap will. —Virginia Lowman

Soul Glo: "Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((By the Future))"

"Living on Juice Wrld, Pop Smoke time / I'll be in my future, come try to remove it," Soul Glo vocalist Pierce Jordan exclaims on "Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((By the Future))," evoking two dead rappers to underscore how it feels like the clock is often against Black artists. Then, he goes deeper: "RIP Chynna, Ms. Taylor, and Mr. Arbery / What can activate the rage that we be harboring?" If it's your introduction to the Philadelphia hardcore band, get ready for a maelstrom of noise. Stick around and find yourself receiving the message. —Patrick Hosken

Mitski: "Love Me More"

Mitski has been teasing her forthcoming album Laurel Hell (out February 4) piece by piece, using each track to show us different facets of introspection since the release of lead single “Working for the Knife” in October. Her latest offering finds her at a more jubilant junction — at least on the surface — as she evokes ’80s sonic references to craft a dazzling plea for more affection. As she begs for “love enough to drown it out,” synthesizers take hold, almost literally drowning out her voice, and once again showing us why we’ve missed her so much. —Carson Mlnarik

"Weird Al" Yankovic: "Your Horoscope for Today"

When news landed this week that Daniel Radcliffe would portray "Weird Al" Yankovic in an upcoming Roku biopic, the first thing I did was exclaim, "Hell yeah." The second thing I did was watch "Eat It" and a few of Al's other iconic videos, and have a lot of fun mentally picturing Radcliffe embodying the parodist's idiosyncratic, impish spirit. I also listened to "Your Horoscope for Today," from 1999, and marveled at how, despite ostensibly being a style parody of third-wave ska acts from that era, it's so expertly done that it could sit alongside "Time Bomb" and "Sell Out" on any playlist. Whenever someone brings up astrology, I sing along in my head: "The stars predict tomorrow you'll wake up, do a bunch of stuff, and then go back to sleep." —Patrick Hosken

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