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. And all March long, we’re celebrating Women’s History Month by spotlighting women making music that feels essential to right now.
Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.
Japanese Breakfast: “Be Sweet”
Do you hear this fucking bassline? After two albums spent amid dream-pop excavations of grief and longing, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner is bringing the joy — and it sounds infectious as hell. Her third album, Jubilee, is out in June, anchored by the delightful “Be Sweet” and its X-Files-style video co-starring Mannequin Pussy’s Marisa Dabice. —Patrick Hosken
Girl in Red: “Serotonin”
Of course I listen to Girl in Red… do you? For her latest single, “Serotonin,” the 22-year-old indie-pop act teamed up with Grammy-winning producer Finneas and Norwegian songwriter-composer Matias Tellez to put her mental health struggles to music. The result is a head-turning alt-pop banger that juxtaposes sped-up beats with jarring examples of Ulven’s intrusive thoughts (“Like cutting my hands off / Like jumping in front of a bus / Like how do I make this stop?”) I hesitate to describe a song about “running low on serotonin” as anthemic, but I’ll be real with you. It’s March 2021; I’ve been “capitulating / Crying like a fucking baby” on and off for the past year. If life in a pandemic had a soundtrack, it would surely feature this vulnerable cut. —Sam Manzella
Tinashe, Tokimonsta: “I’m Every Woman”
What better way to kick off Women’s History Month than with this uber sexy cover of Chaka Khan’s classic debut, “I’m Every Woman.” Tinashe and producer Tokimonsta have teamed up for an intimate rendition of the powerhouse disco hit where the former’s sultry vocals paired with a sweaty deep house mix completely wash over you. Please enjoy it with a towel and something to hydrate because this bassline will keep you bumping. It’s just a whole ass vibe. —Daniel Head
Jade Bird: “Open Up the Heavens”
Since dropping her excellent and rootsy 2019 self-titled LP, English singer Jade Bird has leaned all the way into her influences, heading to Nashville and letting a little room tone into her tracks. “Open Up the Heavens” is still anchored by her turbine-sized howl, but performed live at RCA Studios, the mud-toned guitar and big drums of her backing band give her voice a run for its money. Nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. —Patrick Hosken
Ava Max: “My Head & My Heart”
Welcome aboard the 2000s nostalgia train! The next stop is “My Head & My Heart,” Ava Max’s ode to ATC’s 2000 hit “Around the World (La La La La La).” The refreshed Eurodance homage gives millennials something to remember and brings zoomers a new dance challenge for TikTok after Max’s “Kings and Queens” went viral on the platform. “The interpolation of the ‘la la la’ was really fun to add in ’cause I grew up listening to that,” the pop singer told Stylecaster. “I wanted to go out and go clubbing. We’re all stuck in our homes, and I want to make people dance.” Amen to that! Here’s hoping that we can let loose to this club banger at a post-pandemic dance party as soon as possible. —Zach O’Connor
Propelled by the viral success of TikTok party anthem “Drugs,” Upsahl keeps the momentum going with her bombastic new single “Stop!” Within the first minute of its dazzling video, she’s spiking Slurpees and turning a suburban street into her own dance party. Still, it’s just a pregame for the track’s thumping and rocking chorus in which she proclaims that her “heart’s gonna beat so fast that it might stop,” before launching into a series of club-ready “Boom / boom / boom”s. Straddling the lines of rock and pop, this one is sure to get your heart racing. —Carson Mlnarik
Ray BLK ft. Giggs: “Games”
Now here’s an instrumental inside which you could build a summer home. Thanks to some airy, 40-recalling soundscapes, Nigerian-British voice Ray BLK is free to go off, eviscerating the titular games dudes can play (“Don’t trust the game, baby / Don’t fall in love”). With a little baritone help from Giggs, “Games” passes by in a flash, but when you’re in it, you feel like you could live here. —Patrick Hosken
Brijean: “Wifi Beach”
Put this track on spin, close your eyes, and you’re instantly transported to a 1970s hotel lounge, head bobbing and martini in hand, courtesy of groovy disco-pop duo Brijean. While their latest record Feelings is a hypnotizing and honey-hued joy ride, their latest single and video for “Wifi Beach” is particularly entrancing. From the visual’s trippy transitions to its impeccable color scheme, you’ll find yourself lost in disco drum kits and dizzying daydreams. —Carson Mlnarik
Natalie Bergman: “Shine Your Light On Me”
After suffering a family tragedy in 2019, Wild Belle singer Natalie Bergman retreated to a monastery in New Mexico’s Chama Valley, spending weeks in silence. Bergman’s stay there inspired her upcoming solo debut album, Mercy , including the latest single, “Shine Your Light on Me.” The hypnotic hymn wraps around you like a warm desert wind, serving as a psychedelic prayer for a more hopeful future. “I’ve been lost in the desert, won’t you lead me to green pastures?” Bergman sings, asking a higher power for help during dark times — something I think we can all relate to after this past year. —Chris Rudolph
CL: “Wish You Were Here”
After her mother passed, CL recorded this beautiful and touching tribute that feels as airy as her questions throughout: “Is heaven all we thought it’d be? Can you still hear my voice now?” On Instagram, the singer accompanied the song with a reminder. “If you love someone, tell them now.” —Patrick Hosken