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.
“Sorry,” the captivating new song from R&B artist Tierra Umi Wilson — who goes by Umi — is light as a feather. Until it’s not. And when it gets heavier, it’s thanks to a well-placed beat drop, which provide a counterpoint to the gorgeous affirmations Umi sings across the track. Among the vows to have a chauffeur, snag a Grammy, and get drunk on the beach are familial manifestations (“I wanna be cool with my motherfucking dad / Is that too much to ask for? Shit, my bad”) and ultimately, on the song she describes as “an anthem for self-forgiveness,” radical acceptance of who she is. Umi’s debut album, Forest in the City, is out soon. —Patrick Hosken
There’s a reason why Kihyun is Monsta X’s main vocalist, and he makes that abundantly clear on his debut solo single, “Voyager.” As the title track of his new EP, “Voyager” takes listeners on a journey to paradise. Lyrically, Kihyun dreams of escape from his sometimes burdensome reality. “This relaxed feeling in my busy life,” he sings. “The thrill I’ve forgotten, I can feel it.” Alongside Kihyun’s powerhouse vocals, the track features a perfectly on-trend pop-rock melody, creating a real song of the times. “Voyager” is accompanied by an elevated, multi-dimensional music video that features the K-pop star in multiple sets and silhouettes, including an unforgettable olive green suit. With “Voyager,” Kihyun starts his comeback off with a bang and shows fans his unique charisma and capabilities as a soloist. —Sarina Bhutani
Muna: “Anything But Me”
Muna is the moment. On the heels of “Silk Chiffon”’s massive success (I’m not saying the lyrics “Life’s so fun, life’s so fun / Got my miniskirt and my rollerblades on” cured my seasonal depression, but it certainly didn’t hurt), the Los Angeles indie-pop trio have delivered an equally infectious follow-up: “Anything But Me,” a synth-backed, self-assured cut about knowing your worth and ending a relationship where “everything feels wrong.” Of course, it’s “not all so black and white,” lead singer Katie Gavin qualifies on the chorus. “But it’s all love and it’s no regrets, you can call me if / There’s anything you need / Anything, anything but” — cue a burst of twinkling keys — “Me, me yeah.” If this bop (and its Western-themed music video) is any indication, Muna’s forthcoming self-titled album, out in June, will be the soundtrack of every sapphic’s summer 2022. —Sam Manzella
Rex Orange County featuring Tyler, the Creator: “Open a Window”
With his buttery yet matter-of-fact vocals and buoyant beats, Rex Orange County has the rare ability to make any song sound like sunshine. So it’s only fitting that he collaborated with the similarly talented Tyler, the Creator — whom he’s worked with before on Tyler’s Flower Boy — for a new track that plays to both of their strengths as artists. Over strings, a tambourine, and a slick bass lick, the duo try to maintain their optimism while admitting they “can barely take it anymore.” It’s a daydream of a team-up, using its short but sweet runtime to sweep you up and let you drift in the wind. —Carson Mlnarik
Mod Sun: “Rich Kids Ruin Everything”
“This one’s for the kids who grew up broke and didn’t have shit.” Alt rocker Mod Sun’s latest release is a rich-kid dis track. And if you have to stop and wonder if he’s singing about you, he probably is. “Rich Kids Ruin Everything” is a pop-punk anthem packed with sarcasm and disdain for consumerism and unoriginality. “I’m trying to let people know that there’s more to this world than what’s currently popular,” Mod said in a statement. The music video strays far from the conventional rock clip and instead employs impressive choreography in what the artist calls a “shopping cart musical.” “My goal is always to push the boundaries of not repeating myself. I’ve never had a video with dancing and choreography before and I think this is the perfect song for it.” —Farah Zermane
Joyce Wrice and Kaytranada: “Iced Tea”
When Joyce Wrice and Kaytranada link up, good things happen. Most recently, it’s on “Iced Tea,” an exquisitely nocturnal song that’s best listened to in the dark. There is sensuality, sure, and sweetness abounds — “Lemon slice in your sugar iced tea,” Wrice sings — but the electricity Kaytranada creates here allows everything Wrice sings to reverberate into the night air, pinging glowing skyscrapers as it disappears back into the ether. It’s less hectic and even more spirited than their past collab. But both are worth your time. —Patrick Hosken
Miranda Lambert: “Strange”
From calling out no-good cheating exes to embracing the messy contradictions within herself, country singer and songwriting icon Miranda Lambert is no stranger to using her musical gifts to sit in life’s more uncomfortable moments. Her new single off her forthcoming album Palomino (due out in April) is no exception as she tries to make sense of listlessness in a world that keeps spinning. Her prescription for these trying times is decidedly country — “Have a smoke, buy a round” and “Do anything to keep you sane” — but it feels authentic, thanks to the track’s relatively barebones production and Miranda’s wizened delivery. It may not be a cure-all, but sometimes it’s just about naming a feeling, and she makes some points when declaring, “Times like these make me feel strange.” —Carson Mlnarik
The first thing Flasher’s “Sideways” will make you want to do is dance. The second thing you’ll want to do is read all about this great bicoastal band made up of Taylor Mulitz and Emma Baker and how they’re able to lock into great grooves, exciting post-punk energy, and gorgeous melodicism all at once. The third thing is to dance again. The final thing (for now) is to listen to “Sideways” on repeat until the release of Flasher’s new album, Love Is Yours, on June 17. —Patrick Hosken