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.
Strange Ranger: “She’s on Fire”
Four years ago, Strange Ranger released a terrific indie-rock record called Remembering the Rockets. My favorite songs on it utilized digital drum tracks which, when blended with guitar sounds, created an uncanny mallcore sensation (in the best way). Now, the band have relocated from Philadelphia to New York, gone heavy on the synths, and brought an immense amount of drama. “She’s on Fire” sounds like a million bucks. It’s as cinematic as their last single while adding new layers. Pure Music, their new album, is out July 21. —Patrick Hosken
Cisco Swank, Yoshi T.: “No Funny”
It’s the best of both worlds when Cisco Swank and Yoshi T. get together. This delightfully confident collaboration is all about appreciating your growth and manifesting more. Its encouraging lyrics bolster its serene yet energizing beat until the status quo breaks down with my favorite disruption: freeform jazz. It’s absolutely genius to deconstruct your own song and reshape it into an audaciously amorphous version of itself. It kept me on my toes while maintaining its appeal, a challenging feat. That’s the beauty of teamwork; when diverse perspectives consider each other, you get a synthesis of innovative sound. —Gwyn Cutler
Tatsuro Yamashita: “Sparkle”
Tatsuro Yamashita, who has been called "the King of City Pop," frustrated fans last year when he confirmed his music would never be available on streaming. That's why it was a welcome surprise when a new music video for "Sparkle," the opening track off of his classic 1982 album For You, was recently uploaded to Yamashita's official YouTube account. The stunning visuals — starring The D Soraki and Misa Sugiyama — perfectly match the summery and colorful vibe of the song and breathe new life into a track that debuted more than 40 years ago. The video was released to celebrate Yamashita's RCA/AIR Years albums being re-released on vinyl and cassette, but we'll take any excuse to step back into the retro-tastic world of Yamashita's City Pop. —Chris Rudolph
Shallow Pools: “IHYK”
Shallow Pools’s most recent single is a sweet love letter to the support systems that have helped them through hardship. “Whether we’re feeling anxious, lonely or depressed, we always know they’ll be there for us,” the band says of the song. “‘IHYK’ is our way of showing how much we appreciate the love and support of those close to us.” The Boston quartet deliver a unique indie-pop track that’s refreshingly optimistic even when describing sadness and intrusive thoughts. After all, it’s in those difficult moments when we can most clearly see how loved we are. “IHYK” is about gratitude and serves as an important reminder to find comfort and healing in the people who surround us. Learn how to support the people in your life at MentalHealthIsHealth.us/ForAFriend. —Farah Zermane
Witch Prophet: “Fire”
In the words of Witch Prophet, we can feel the “temperature rising” as summer slowly approaches, but maybe it’s her bringing the heat with this fervent track off her new album Gateway Experience. The spiritual singer is no stranger to embodying the universe and its elements, so when she personifies fire, it’s just as intense as an ignited inferno. Flickers of intricate guitar plucks influence the melody, yet her scorching metaphors spark the song’s tangible passion. If you’re someone in tune with the Earth and the mystic nuances of our existence, Witch Prophet is another guide to abide by. —Gwyn Cutler
CNCO: “La Última Canción”
Last summer, CNCO called it quits — but not before saying they’d continue on for a farewell tour and a proper musical goodbye. Thus arrives “La Última Canción” (the last song), an emotional sendoff that comes with a tearjerker of a music video. (Think One Direction’s “History.”) Christopher, Erick, Richard, and Zabdiel spend the four minutes here singing their hearts out; the whole moment plays like a big thank you to their fans for an incredible eight-year run. —Patrick Hosken
Casper Sage: “Pseudo”
Being in between contact with someone you can’t let go of can leave you in relationship limbo. Casper Sage admits in his latest hit “Pseudo” that he still wants who he lost in his life, but he also requests a grace period to figure himself out. Among reverberating vocals and sullen strumming, we feel his dejection and self-isolation suffocating him; if you listen closely, the lyrics reveal his uncertainty on the relationship’s undoing. “Don't be pseudo / We ain't talk in too long and you know it / But who in the wrong? / Don't go there,” Sage proclaims. Here, his recounting stops short at the question of who’s at fault, hinting that the answer may be Sage himself. Is he reflecting to take responsibility or to dispute the way things went down? Either way, I’m intrigued. —Gwyn Cutler