Bop Shop: Songs From Linkin Park, Jessie Ware, Turhan James And Maanu, And More

A 'lost' masterpiece, an East-meets-West banger, and more

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.

Linkin Park: “Lost”

It was always about the work. Part of what made Linkin Park’s 2003 album Meteora so massive — a No. 1 debut, seven-times platinum — was its studious attention to detail. Like street artist Delta couching with a spray paint can on its cover, Mike Shinoda reworked the musical canvas, adding and removing layers until what was left was a heavy sonic sheen. With Chester Bennington’s gale-force vocals and swirling electronic textures, the result was singular and unmistakable — and the legacy speaks for itself. That’s why listening to “Lost,” a discovery from a hard drive in Shinoda’s collection from that era, feels like intruding on the process. It’s a finished song, and every part sounds fully in place here. But it lacks that final compressed coat of paint that the rest of the album got, making it crackle to life with pure unexpected energy. Bennington has never sounded better, alternately roaring and wounded, and his 2017 passing meant there would be no re-recording here. What’s “Lost” is now found. What a blessing to be able to hear those final brushstrokes applied. Find “Lost” and two other unheard tracks on the 20th anniversary release of Meteora out April 7. —Patrick Hosken

Turhan James, Maanu: “Saaye”

Producer Turhan James brings Pakistani EDM to the world with “Saaye,” a lo-fi love song for the modern millennial. Featuring a combination of Urdu and English vocals from Lahore-based singer Maanu, the culturally blended single is a clear byproduct of its creator’s own experience as a South Asian expat, layering both Eastern and Western production elements — think 808 drums alongside a tabla — to create a sound completely its own. James’s self-composed track is gentle and unpretentious, allowing for Maanu’s emotionally vulnerable lyrics to sonically soar. It reaches a peak with its nominative hook: “Mere dil pe tere saaye (Your shadow’s on my heart).” Recently hitting a million digital streams, the collaboration is an example of the breadth of talent that exists within Pakistan’s underground EDM scene, which is seemingly (and hopefully) getting closer to the light every day. May 2023 be the year it finally breaks through. —Sarina Bhutani

Michael Minelli: “Overthinking”

"I'm overthinking ‘bout overthinking" is a line from Michael Minelli's recent bop "Overthinking”' that has an uncomfortable amount of potential to be my new bio on Instagram, or at the very least, my next caption. The Connecticut-based artist fuses soulful R&B ballads with pop music, producing a sound that manages to be upbeat despite sometimes tackling complex topics like anxiety and self-doubt. Who knew you could vibe out to a song that addresses the pressure to feel like you should be doing more? This is the magic of Minelli, who I first discovered three years ago after he posted a video performing his song "Stay for the Weekend" on a Brooklyn subway platform. In an age where we are simultaneously hyperactive and functioning on autopilot, music that makes conversations about mental health approachable is a balm. —Virginia Lowman

Wale the Sage: “Don’t Remind Me”

We’ve got another no-skips album on our hands, folks! Out now is Wale the Sage’s full EP Running From Time, and it’s back-to-back dynamic bars. The star record is “Don’t Remind Me,” a tough tune that transitions midway with both ends of the song jam-packed with powerful personal and political imagery. Every element is extraordinary and the epitome of Black excellence, but especially his lyrics. Wale the Sage genuinely conveys the rage, hopelessness and torturous awareness of the violence against Black and Brown bodies. While there continues to be no solution nor even effort made by our leaders to end this inhumanity, there shouldn’t be blame cast on those affected as they seek to escape this brutal reality. —Gwyn Cutler

Jessie Ware: “Pearls”

Following her 2020 album What’s Your Pleasure? and last year’s “Free Yourself,” Jessie Ware delivers another decadent dance daydream with “Pearls.” The track was co-written by Stuart Price (the prolific producer behind Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor and Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite), Clarence Coffee Jr., and Sarah Hudson — and it sparkles like a dazzling disco gemstone. Ware said the song was inspired by disco divas like Donna Summer, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Teena Marie, and Chaka Khan — and you can hear their influence, especially when Ware sings that she just wants to “shake it until the pearls fall off.” If your pearls are clutched, get ready to shimmy them to the dance floor as Ware’s latest shoots you into the stratosphere. —Chris Rudolph

Iyla ft. Symba: “Impala”

The crux of Iyla’s new record Appetite for Disaster wrestles with stomaching your own impulses that draw you to men doing you wrongly. On most of the EP — the third in a trilogy and easily the most aggressive — the solution is a brash sense of self-indulgence, an inflated ego that charges songs like “FOH” and “Sad Bitch Bad Bitch.” But “Impala” flows with a steady thump that takes a step back to ask what’s really happening here. She boasts about driving away from it all, but she’s also going back and forth with rapper Symba, each finally voicing their insecurities and fears. “I’m not afraid of your wounds,” she confesses. “I’m afraid of your flaws, and the pain that you carry.” It’s not the solution, but it could be the start of one. —Terron Moore

Kicksie: “You’re On”

I’ve always gotta put on for Toronto indie pop, and right now, Kicksie is one of the very best that scene has to offer. Giuliana Mormile, the creative force here, wraps guitar lines like decorative trim, and her voice is the bow on top. A simple refrain like “you’re on tonight” becomes a clarion call. The music blends shades of dreamy rock with a tinge of emo sadness, never tilting all the way in either direction. The fun continues on the new Kicksie record, Slouch, dropping on April 14. —Patrick Hosken

Rachel Chinouriri: “Maybe I’m Lonely”

Maybe this is Rachel Chinouriri’s best so far, though maybe I’m an isolated Scorpio like her who loves the idea of falling rather than actually opening up. It’s been quite a prolific few months for Chinouriri, who’s been generously doling out sentimental singles for us sad folks on various social media platforms. With soft vocals, tender strings, and a cathartic, collective cry near its conclusion, this song is for those who yearn for the right love, yet while waiting for it, the fear and loneliness devours the desire. If you’re kicking it solo this Valentine’s Day, especially to avoid the evident intimacy all around you, play this at your own discretion. “Why does it matter if the water is blue? If you are the ocean then the river will lead me to you.” —Gwyn Cutler

Portraits of Tracy: “The Party”

This new year has kicked off with two new hits from Portraits of Tracy, also known as Couren Bowman. He began with a bang, dropping his resilient hype track “En Garde.” Next, he drew me into “The Party”, his second release with an entrancing verse taken from Beach House’s “Master of None” and sampled in The Weeknd’s “The Party & The Afterparty,” which surprised me with sweet nostalgia. Both of Bowman’s songs have a distinct magnetism in their mixes where the rhythm is not interrupted but elevated by its following rendition. This Baton Rouge-based artist is entering his A-game with these inventive singles, and his upcoming third album, Drive Home, will solidify his success this summer. I can honestly hear “The Party” in a coming-of-age movie, specifically playing at the part where our lead characters scope out the party scene and get lost in its persuasion. —Gwyn Cutler

Lauren Spencer Smith: “Best Friend Breakup”

Anchored by a circular acoustic-guitar riff and rainy piano chords, “Best Friend Breakup” tells a familiar and uncomfortable tale: the split alluded to in its title. Canadian newcomer Lauren Spencer Smith’s grand voice sells the drama of a friendship gone wrong; what resounds on the booming chorus is the sting of loss. —Patrick Hosken

XG: “Shooting Star”

K-pop’s “year of the girl group” charges on in 2023 with debutants XG leading the pack. In their first comeback of the year, the J-pop/K-pop hybrid show off their strength as a team with “Shooting Star,” a dynamic and passionate anthem of self-confidence. Utilizing a combination of hip-hop and R&B production styles, the young starlets both rap and sing about their work ethic, dedication to each other, and resulting success, all of which come to a definitive head at its TikTok-viral chorus. The track is accompanied by an electrifying, Y2K-inspired music video, which features the group’s seven members in multiple sets and silhouettes before bringing them together for their famous head-bobbing choreography. “Shooting Star” marks the beginning of what will likely be a bright and exciting year for East Asia’s newest it-girls. —Sarina Bhutani

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