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.
Ellise: “Did It Hurt”“Dark pop” has never been more in vogue, but few artists have ever channeled that darkness as efficiently as Ellise. The Los Angeles singer gathers a storm cloud as she sings “Did It Hurt,” a slithering ode dripping with sexuality and apocalyptic melodic turns. —Patrick Hosken
RM: “Wild Flower”RM has never been one to shy away from his feelings. Regardless of how intimate, cynical, or jarring they may be, the BTS frontman has always chosen the path of vulnerability and bared his soul through his music, a fact that rings even more true with Indigo, his debut album referred to as an “archive of [his] twenties.” The album is led by “Wild Flower,” an explosive expression of anxiety that compares RM’s life with that of a “flowerwork,” a term he invented to describe his life as a burst of petals in an open field. Featuring the vocal stylings of Youjeen, lead singer of the celebrated Korean rock band Cherry Filter, the semi-ballad “Wild Flower” simultaneously embraces elements of rock and rap, exuding a distinctly powerful energy that is not only heard, but deeply felt. The track is accompanied by a cinematic music video which artistically compares scenes of the rapper standing solitarily in a grassy meadow to those of him onstage in front of thousands. Opening with glittering gold fireworks, each vision that follows is a painting come to life. Though “Wild Flower” is personal to RM’s experiences as a superstar trying to maintain a sense of normalcy, its overall themes of self-exploration, confusion, and fear of the future are universal to any twentysomething — a result of his gift of the pen. Both “Wild Flower” and the rest of Indigo feel like a parting gift, or a goodbye for now, as a result of BTS’s impending military service. But what’s happening now is not a reflection of what will happen then, and the best is certainly yet to come. —Sarina Bhutani
Azanti: “Pressure”If you haven’t heard of Azanti yet, you’re bound to soon, because this Afropop king will reign over speakers in clubs everywhere. Producing at only 19 years old, this Nigerian prodigy made his mark this past summer with party banger “Gettin’ Hot.” He’s followed up with an infectious album with absolutely no skips. Heart Parts & Nostalgia is out now, and it’s an array of fun, sexy and soulful tunes for every playlist. —Gwyn Cutler
Ethel Cain: “Famous Last Words (An Ode to Eaters)”Now that it’s December, people’s brains are fixed on Christmas — but for Ethel Cain, it’s cannibalism. The “American Teenager” singer recently saw Bones and All, the new Luca Guadagnino film starring Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet as two cannibals traveling across America, and she was so captivated that she wrote a song inspired by the movie. The acoustic track is haunting and beautiful, which fans would expect from Cain. If the song had been included on the actual Bones and All soundtrack it could have given “Hold My Hand” a run for its money at next year’s Oscars. A mournful song about teen cannibals in love? ‘Tis the season! —Chris Rudolph
Tamera: “Insensitive”Tamera feels she’s been showing her partner insensitivity, but who can blame this authentic Aquarius? Especially when her latest single details how appreciative and unbreakable her adoration really is. She offers herself fully to the one she loves, showing off her sleek and sensual side in the music video. I’d love to know the inspiration behind its green-tinted aesthetics because of this fun fact: She uses her synaesthesia to add vibrance to her artistry! Another fun fact is that this British star had her debut on The X Factor UK, adding her to the growing list of contestants who’ve made it big. —Gwyn Cutler
The Men: “God Bless the USA”Brooklyn quartet The Men make the case for America on this barnburner, but it’s clear from the scuzzy guitars and yelled vocals that it’s not necessarily a glowing recommendation. As the first taste of their new album New York City, the song both rips and roars — and its garage-rock bliss will help you celebrate the U.S. men’s soccer team’s recent victory over Iran, even if it also reminds you of everything we’ve still got to clean up around here. —Patrick Hosken
P1Harmony: “Back Down”After teasing fans at KAMP LA in October with their new hair colors, the members of P1Harmony make their highly anticipated comeback with “Back Down,” a bold, performance-ready mid-tempo that exudes the group’s confidence and unwillingness to hold back. The track layers heavy 808s and stringy electronic elements with the members’ distinct vocals to create something uniquely theirs, adding another building block to their budding repertoire. Accompanied by an exciting, high-energy music video, which features the group showing off its incredibly in-sync choreography in numerous New York City-inspired locations, “Back Down” is, quite literally, a shock to the system and is the perfect way to end their incredible year. —Sarina Bhutani
Pierce the Veil: “Emergency Contact”Post-hardcore emo juggernauts Pierce the Veil returned in 2022 after a six-year hiatus with a new direction that’s sure to expand their already devoted fandom (the likes of which recently catapulted their decade-old hit “King for a Day” to the top of the Billboard Hard Rock Streaming Songs chart). “Emergency Contact,” the second single from their upcoming album The Jaws of Life, continues the band’s focus on mental health, but with a hopeful and matured tone with lyrics like, “Therapy is tiring / But so is hiding how you feel” and “There’s no greater vengeance / Than learning to enjoy again.” The track is a comforting reminder that we all experience emotional distress and that we can get through it — together. It also perfectly illustrates how Pierce the Veil became and continue to be a source of healing for their listeners. —Farah Zermane
Ukweli, Xenia Manasseh: “Love Me or Leave Me”Ukweli and Xenia have teamed up on an EP called Maybe, and it’s so cool and serene you may transcend space and time listening to it. It’s all about allowing love into your life after fear and heartbreak hamper that ability. Both artists hail from Nairobi, Kenya and have euphonic expertise that make their songs magic — Ukweli seamlessly melts soothing Afrobeats with Xenia’s angelic melodies. It’s a rare talent to orchestrate a sound that flows effortlessly when it’s got interwoven parts. This duo must’ve been born to create together. —Gwyn Cutler
Fleetwood Mac: “Warm Ways”In the wake of Christine McVie’s death this week, I’ve been listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac. Everyone has. Her delicate vocals and assured songwriting made her easily the heart of the band — and while “Don’t Stop” and “You Make Loving Fun” help keep Rumours timeless, I’ve been captivated by the depth of “Warm Ways,” from two years before, on the 1975 self-titled release. The song captures a particular mood of love, but it’s tinged with just the right amount of melancholy to make it simply irresistible, and tremendously addictive. That was McVie’s gift. It’ll live on forever. —Patrick Hosken