Stephen Ringer. Logan Williamson
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.
Remember Sports: “Materialistic”
On the gently swaying “Materialistic,” beloved Philly bruisers Remember Sports show off another side. Dreamy and forlorn, the Jimmy Eat World-recalling tune leans into songwriter Carmen Perry’s knack for tiny, emotionally eviscerating details. In this case, it’s a missing photo, just one in an arsenal of treasure lining their fourth album, Like a Stone, out April 23. —Patrick Hosken
Serena Ryder: “Better Now”
Singer-songwriter Serena Ryder has the voice of a storyteller, and if that doesn’t make sense, give the first 15 seconds of her new single “Better Now” a listen. Harnessing her warm, raspy vocals and a muted production that bounces between country and gospel, Ryder sings with heavy wisdom about finding light through the darkness and the kind of growth that only comes with experience. Outspoken about taking care of her mental health, Ryder’s latest album The Art of Falling Apart marks her first record in nearly three years. Thank goodness, because we’ve never needed her brand of “better” so badly. —Carson Mlnarik
Aly & AJ: “Pretty Places”
Aly & AJ are hitting the highway, and you’re invited. In this sunshiny bop, the sister act borrows a page from “Drivers License” breakout star Olivia Rodrigo and proposes a road trip to “all the pretty places.” The rose-colored glasses are on, sure, but next to lilting harmonies and the steady strum of a guitar, they fit in just fine. —Sam Manzella
Joyce Wrice: “Chandler”
Three minutes of bliss, the opener on soul singer Joyce Wrice’s latest album Overgrown is luxe and opulent, blooming with widescreen strings and a panoply of background voices. It’s a welcome balance to the subterranean, minimal R&B du jour — a style Wrice is just as comfortable dipping into later on the album. But for “Chandler,” she wants as colorful a canvas as possible to tell it like it is: “Let’s talk about all of the things / That women gotta endure just to get some love.” —Patrick Hosken
Madeline the Person: “As a Child”
“Hi I’m a person and I like to sing and I wanna have a tea party.” That’s the TikTok bio for Madeline the Person, a 19-year-old acoustic plucker from Houston. On “As a Child,” her delicate debut, she makes good on both, throwing a colorful bash for one in the Nick Jr.-style video as she sings about aging — something that will only get more pronounced as her career does. —Patrick Hosken
Ellen Winter: “Mantras”
Ditch the self-help books and give this song a spin next time you need some unabashed confidence. Brooklyn performer Ellen Winter bottles infectious enthusiasm in three and a half minutes or less, creating a pump-up anthem driven by snaps, claps, and thumping piano chords. The lyrics spill out like a stream of consciousness while steering clear of clichés. You feel the weight of her words as she recounts wasting “days, months, years letting insecurities pair up with fears,” though her inner cyclical monologue of “confidence is crucial” feels airy. Still, it’s the chorus that’s truly transcendent, culminating in an echoing assertion that she will “leave the bar raised high.” With a song this good, she does just that. —Carson Mlnarik
Lightning Bug: “The Right Thing Is Hard To Do”
A little Mazzy Star and little lying in the grass looking at the stars, “The Right Thing Is Hard To Do” is an enthralling entry in the Lightning Bug saga. As the New York band glide toward their new album A Color of the Sky, out June 25, they’re melting hearts with vocalist Audrey Kang’s spectral melodies delivered in a galaxy of soft, wide-open noise. Intoxicating textures, folk foundation, can’t lose. —Patrick Hosken