(Sarah Morris/Getty Images)/( Steve Granitz/WireImage)/( Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
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.
Maggie Rogers: “Love You for a Long Time”
Let’s get one thing straight: Maggie Rogers is the queen of wistful sad bops. Just look at any lyric from her debut album. “I still wonder if I called you, what would I do? / Leave a too-long voicemail that I hate / And then erase it, like I planned it” — I mean, come on! Still, with the lows come the highs and in her newest track, Maggie is truly and equivocally in new love. And it’s amazing.
With a cooing chorus and the same honey-fused vocals she’s become known for, Maggie sticks to the theme of intense feeling in body, mind, and soul with “Love You For a Long Time” but there’s a noticeable notch up in brightness. This particular lover may not have been around long but they’ve surely left their mark, and “forever could never be enough.” There’s something especially assuring about the way she sings the title lyric. No matter where you stand in the world of romance, for three minutes and 43 seconds, you can’t help but believe her. —Carson Mlnarik
Mariah Carey: “Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)”
Chances are good you’ve heard “All I Want For Christmas Is You” approximately 374,304 times by now, ever since that last jack-o’-lantern was extinguished. But if you’re in the mood for a really sad holiday season, might I suggest “Miss You Most (At Christmas Time),” another original song on Mariah Carey‘s album, Merry Christmas?
Everything about the song — from the piano intro to the lyrics to the way Mariah basically pleads through the melody — is heartbreaking. The message to a long-gone relationship holds nothing back; rather than moving on, she doesn’t just dwell — she grieves. “Miss You Most” has always been one of my favorite holiday songs because it doesn’t make any pretenses about feeling. Rather than put on a happy face and try to be cheerful and joyous, here is Mariah belting her heart out with such force, it would take a stronger heart than mine to not be immediately despondent. Sometimes, you just need to feel how you feel. Sometimes, that feeling is heartbreak. And sometimes you feel it at Christmastime. Lean into it. Play this song while you do. Cry your eyes out and know you’re not alone. —Ella Cerón
Third Eye Blind: “Ways”
I’ve admittedly never listened to Third Eye Blind beyond the hits everyone knows: “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Jumper,” “How’s It Gonna Be,” and the like. So when I stumbled upon “Ways” and its infectious chorus one evening on Spotify, I had to sit up and pay attention. The call and response of the female vocalist in the background, the earwormiest lyrics ever (“A California rude boy / Headed for the legends”) reminded me of a previous bop I had submitted from Bear Hands and Ursula Rose. I didn’t plan on going back through Third Eye Blind’s past catalogue, but here I am after hearing their latest. And you know what? I’m glad I did. —Brittany Vincent
Teejayx6: “Ambitions As a Swiper”
Just when you think you know what Teejayx6 is going to bring to the table with each new release, he switches it up. I thought I’d heard it all before he released (and then quickly pulled) “Black Air Force Activity.” Just when I’d settled into this new style, he’s now back again with “Ambitions As a Swiper,” a clever flip of Tupac’s classic rap anthem “Ambitionz Az a Ridah.” Teejayx6 usually doesn’t repurpose older hip-hop songs, so this one’s a special outing all about the scamming bars that have quickly made him one of Detroit’s biggest rappers. From allegedly getting $80,000 taken from him by the police, to driving around with a fake license, Teejayx6 has stories for days here. —Trey Alston
Juliana Hatfield: “Canary in a Coalmine” (The Police cover)
It’s a week to take stock of what you’re thankful for; recently, I’ve been extremely grateful for ’90s alternative stalwart Juliana Hatfield’s new collection of Police covers. They’re all expertly recreated, but my favorite is her Meet Me in the Bathroom-ified take on “Canary in a Coalmine.” The original remains a peerless document of Sting’s close-tracked harmonies atop a bed of watered-down reggae, but Hatfield opts for a skeletal construct here, ending up with a New Wave triumph that’s the exact midpoint between The Cars and The Strokes. It’s the “12:51” sequel (prequel?) we deserve. —Patrick Hosken
Big Freedia ft. Icona Pop: “Louder”
The Queen of Bounce herself, Big Freedia. The electro-pop duo behind the dance-pop anthem “I Love It,” Icona Pop. A sample of Snap!’s 1990 Jock Jams anthem “The Power.” What, do you need some other reason to listen to this song? Well, just in case you do, know that “Louder” is an ass-shaking love letter to self-love, empowerment, and ’90s dance-floor excess, complete with a music video that looks like a warped VHS tape. There are backflips, a full choir, and a ton of fruit. Big Freedia’s new album is coming in 2020, and I don’t think you’re ready. —Bob Marshall
Taylor Swift ft. Shawn Mendes: “Lover (Remix)”
Taylor Swift’s “Lover” isn’t a holiday song per se, but there is that highly buzzed-about (and not to mention, controversial) lyric about keeping your Christmas lights up until January. And the remixed version, featuring Shawn Mendes, presents the romantic track from an entirely fresh perspective. In their duet, fans get a more 360-degree view of this couple’s love story as Mendes croons about dancing around the kitchen, singing love songs when they’re 80, and going down with the Titanic. Romantic stuff! Plus, their harmonies are truly angelic — perfect for ushering in a merry and bright holiday season. —Jordyn Tilchen