Bop Shop: Songs From Sleater-Kinney, Casey Veggies, DEAN, And More
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.
DEAN: “Howlin’ 404”
I think it’s normal to feel a little melancholy when the seasons start to change. As the last weeks of spring give way to the growing pains of early summer, I’ve become more contemplative and unable to turn off my thoughts. So when I heard DEAN’s latest release, “Howlin’ 404,” for the first time, I instantly vibed with it — the moodiness, the distortion, the unevenness. Put simply: It sounded like how I felt. It’s not the first time the South Korean R&B crooner has projected his deep inner musings over a self-produced beat (see: 2018’s brilliant “Instagram”), but there’s something particularly raw about the guilt he expresses on this neo-soul track, how it consumes him like a void. “I’d be howlin’ for ya / Before the shadows drag me under / ‘Cause when the darkness took me over / I wouldn’t know what I have lost,” he sings.
The song — sung entirely in English — is part of the pensive artist’s forthcoming release, an album set in a dystopian future that he calls an “explosion of experimental, creative, and artistic elements that I’ve been holding back for a long time.” Inspired by DEAN, I’m going to try and channel my seasonal restlessness into creative fuel. After all, summer is just around the corner, and with it comes some much-needed clarity and perspective. —Crystal Bell
Sleater-Kinney: “Hurry on Home”
“Hurry on Home,” our first taste of Sleater-Kinney’s forthcoming new album, The Center Won’t Hold, boasts nearly everything I’d personally hoped a St. Vincent-produced Sleater-Kinney record would contain. Immediately, a chunky Corin Tucker guitar riff spills over an industrial Janet Weiss groove and layered choir vocals that sound like a slice of heaven. The next two-and-a-half minutes unfold with unmistakable hallmarks. Carrie Brownstein twists the words “unfuckable, unlovable, unlistenable, unwatchable” into potent daggers. Chaotic guitars rise like a five-alarm fire. And then, just as I’d settled in, the ride stops. I should’ve expected that kind of brevity, too. —Patrick Hosken
Casey Veggies: “Awarded”
“Ten years in and I’m still next up,” Casey Veggies raps, surprisingly, without menace. It’s a direct statement, no skirting around the fact that the 25-year-old has been in the game since before he graduated high school. Many of his peers like Tyler, the Creator and Mac Miller (rest in peace) have become household names while he remains a relic of the blog era. But “Awarded” is a comeback record with a refreshing air of humility and hunger. It doesn’t chastise the world for not embracing Casey Veggies. Instead, it takes the challenge and smiles warmly at the road ahead.
“Awarded,” like all of Veggies’s music, is simple. Compare it to how artists like Travis Scott and Trippie Redd assembling songs like Rube Goldberg machines of increasing complexity. “Awarded” does have Auto-Tune, but the metallic hum here is solely for the chorus. The song’s power comes from Veggies’s heavy-handed lyricism without frills or theatrics. His emotional quips about God, pressure, and dreaming feel fresh through this lens and build the anticipation for his forthcoming project, Organic. You’ll be hard-pressed to find rap this authentic that just feels real. –Trey Alston
White Reaper: “Might Be Right”
White Reaper, the most fun combination guitar shredders and power-pop hook writers since The Darkness, are back for the first time since their humbly titled 2017 album, The World’s Best American Band. New lead single “Might Be Right” lures listeners in with an infectious bass-driven verse that gives way to big, distorted chorus and, before you know it, you’re playing air guitar right along with the band. And, before you know it again, you’re being mocked by strangers for playing air guitar too enthusiastically in public. Damn. –Bob Marshall
Kiana Ledé: “Can I”
When it comes to vocals, Kiana Ledé’s range runs the gamut. From her buzzy and buttery cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” back in 2015 to her 2018 EP Selfless, the rising R&B singer is set to take over the summer with her latest bop, “Can I.” The first release from her forthcoming EP, Myself, the track is a masterful mix of Kiana’s signature R&B-meets-pop sound laced over a gritty trap beat. It’s the kind of track you’ll fashion a hairbrush into a microphone to sing into, the kind of track you’ll dance in front of the mirror to, and the kind of track you’ll bat your eyes to your crush to. “I would like to see you, can I? / Need to find a way to your body,” the chorus sounds. Dripping with the melodic heat of a summer romance, “Can I” beckons you to shed your cool and keep it 💯with a former love or an almost-love —even after they’ve left you on read — and ask for what you want in love and lust. Ditching the common trope of pleading for the return of a love gone wrong, “Can I” exchanges begging for confidence, ending on a sultry note that promises satisfaction and maybe a little regret, but no one ever said love was logical, right? —Virginia Lowman
Goonew: “6 Feet”
All hail Goonew, the Master of Whispers. The rising Maryland rapper’s sinister music is entertaining because of his nearly inaudible voice that almost makes you strain to differentiate his words. “6 Feet” is one of his latest dark and bloody releases where hearing the pitfalls of street life through what sounds like a ghost mumbling is more entertaining than ever. There’s a formula to his music: Insert one villainous beat devoid of melody and brooding bass lines and mesh it with a couple verses of punched-in and punched-out bars that stab at you with sharp claws. Your neck hairs will raise and gooseflesh will become visible. Instead of going through YouTube’s terribly small lists of rap ASMR videos, you can listen to this and get the same effect. Plus, you’ll find out that the song really slaps, too. –Trey Alston