Has someone on the internet asked you to recommend a good bop? Get your playlists ready! Here’s what this fun, music-related slang term means and how to use it online.
“Bop” is an online slang term that means “a good song.” People use it in social media posts and text messages to describe a song they strongly enjoyed. When you call a song a bop, you’re also implying that it’s great to dance to, in contrast to mellow and somber music. For example, if you really enjoyed the latest Dua Lipa hit, you might say, “that new Dua Lipa song is a bop!” You can also say something is “not a bop” if you don’t particularly enjoy it or if you don’t think it’s suitable for dancing.
In recent years, the term has been closely associated with “stan” culture, a type of internet fandom that revolves around supporting a specific artist. You’ll frequently see self-proclaimed stans refer to songs from their favorite artists as “bops,” often to promote these tracks to others.
The Origin of Bop
Unlike other slang terms we’ve covered, the term “bop” significantly predates the internet. According to Vocabulary.com, “bop” is a reference to the sound made when you lightly hit someone. Its association with music came in the 1940s, as a shortened version of the jazz term “bebop.” Bebop is a type of jazz with fast tempos, complex harmonies, and constant improvisation. It was also a popular form of swing dance during the 1950s.
Later, the word “bop” spread to the mainstream, becoming synonymous with fast, dancey music. As a result, the term is used in many songs, including the 1997 hit “MMMMBop” by Hanson, and the 2019 track “Bop” by DaBaby.
However, “bop” as a musical slang term online is fairly recent. The first entry for the word on the online slang repository Urban Dictionary is from 2016, and reads, “used to reference a good song; to say that a song is really good.” It is especially popular on Twitter, where “stans” of artists would proclaim that their songs were bops. This also ties into a recent increase in critical acclaim for pop music.
What Counts as a “Bop?”
Although the word is a generic descriptor for good music, not every song can be called a “bop.” While there are no exact written criteria for what counts as a bop, there are a few qualities that bops tend to have in common. Nowadays, bops tend to be fun, dancey, and upbeat, versus mellower and softer songs. They also come from specific genres, such as pop, R&B, hip-hop, and electronic music.
However, like many other slang terms, people on the internet also use “bop” ironically. They might say that a song is a “bop” despite it being slow, long, and impossible to dance to. For example, you might find TikToks referring to various national anthems or classical pieces as “bops,” often for comedic effect.
There are a few other internet slang terms that you can use to praise a song. While these terms are quite similar to bop, they have some key differences. “Banger” is usually used for rock and hip-hop music and refers to “headbanging”—a move you make with your head when you’re listening to an intense part of a song.
There is also “slap,” which is a more general term than “banger” or “bop.” For example, you might say, “this song slaps” when you hear a great song on the radio. Another distinction is that “slap” and “banger” can refer to other pieces of media, such as movies, TV shows, and art. Bop almost always refers to music.
How to Use Bop
- “What’s the song playing right now? This is a bop!”
- “Wow, her new single is a bop. I bet it’s going to be a hit.”
- “The new album is full of bops.”
- “I’m disappointed that his new song isn’t a bop.”
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