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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.
Something is frayed on “Sencillo,” the wonderfully languid latest effort from self-described “anti-boy band” Aquihayaquihay. As much as Steve Aoki’s label signees sound embattled as they sing in Spanish, the sounds themselves direct the song’s emotionality toward hope. Embracing both modern bedroom-production hallmarks and an exploration of past R&B-pop sounds, “Sencillo” plays like a completely welcome meeting of past and present while also pointing to a sunny future. —Patrick Hosken
Trixie Mattel: “Video Games”
Trixie Mattel opened up a beer and said, “Get over here and play my ‘Video Games.'” The RuPaul’s Drag Race legend takes her body to Pioneertown and gives Lana Del Rey’s 2011 melancholy single an Old West country-music twist. The dramatic cover features Trixie strumming her trusty autoharp, but it also serves cowboy shootout realness with some ominous desert outlaw whistles. We hope you like the bad girls, honey, because Trixie really brought it with this cover. Lana Del Rey? More like Lana Del SLAY. —Chris Rudolph
Kristen Ford: “Stick Shift Corolla”
Nashville-based alt rocker Kristen Ford piles on the breakup feels in this moody track from No Plans, her new EP. Tension grows verse by angst-fueled verse. “I don’t want you back / Time don’t work like that,” Ford insists, although if the explosive guitar and drums punctuating the final verse are any indication, that realization doesn’t undo the hurt that’s been done. —Sam Manzella
Lulu Simon: “Strangers”
Pop music has a new rising star, and she comes from a pretty impressive pedigree. On her new single “Strangers,” Lulu Simon, daughter of Paul Simon and Edie Brickell, gets breezily bitter about an ex who can’t quite accept that a relationship has met its expiration. Over a stacked production of ’80s synths and electronica pops, Simon’s lyrics read like a diary or a heated string of texts — you know, the unhinged ones you send in quick succession to a friend when you’ve got some feelings and you’ve got to get them out. Considering that her sarcastic yet sweet debut “Wasted” is just as much of a bop, it looks like there’s more where that came from. —Carson Mlnarik
Cautious Clay: “Agreeable”
Cautious Clay‘s voice is smooth, his arms are open wide, and on “Agreeable,” he sounds about a thousand miles high. Much like “Cheesin’,” the virtual posse cut he anchored earlier this year, the elastic artist stretches and flexes in equal measure here — but the party’s over in just two minutes. Before you know, you’re back on the ground. You might not even know you left it. —Patrick Hosken
John K: “Happiness”
The lyrical melancholy of the emerging pop crooner John K‘s latest single betrays its peppy title. Here, “Happiness” functions less like an expression of joy than a painful reminder of better days long gone: “Happiness, are you there? / Are you gone? Are you comin’ back?” Yet, delivered by a voice that a new listener might mistake for Troye Sivan or Sam Smith, it seems pleasant all the same. —Coco Romack
Bosco: “4th of July”
The chorus finds Bosco directing your gaze upwards — “Bombs bursting into the sky” — but even fireworks on Independence Day might have a hard time keeping your attention in this plush ecosystem populated with silken guitar waves and a treasure chest full of booming R&B rhythm. Don’t let the title fool you; this is a leafy autumn song through and through. —Patrick Hosken