If were confused a few years ago by Youtube persona, Poppy, then you’re about to get even more confused. I could go into the whole backstory about this intriguing pop figure, but there is far too much to cover so I’m just going to touch on her latest album release, “I Disagree.” I urge you to look into her career afterwards, though, because it is very interesting.
Although, it came as a surprise to a lot of people that Poppy took a turn from her cookie-cutter pop genre & started experimenting with a nu-metal sound; she had mentioned before that she’s a big fan of Marilyn Manson, Jimmy Eat World, No Doubt & Norma Jean. From that alone, it makes more sense as to why she’d want to change things up from just bubblegum pop. It’s also speculated that this latest piece of work was inspired from breaking ties with her creative director, Titantic Sinclair, whom she reported as being very manipulative to her career. With this newfound freedom, Poppy is now creating music unhinged from control & genre.
I had discovered Poppy a few years ago on YouTube & when I first gave her music a try, I honestly wasn’t a fan. A lot of pop music these days begins to sound the same to me & that’s exactly what it felt like at the time. So fast forward a few years later of completely forgetting about her, then being introduced to the rebirth of what’s been described as “kawaii metal” Poppy in 2019. What piqued my interested was seeing a FEVER 333 feature on her song, “Scary Mask,” that was released back in May & later featured on her EP, “Choke” in June 2019. Before this EP, it was apparently already being teased that she was going to delve into a darker sound with the last two songs on her previous album, “Am I A Girl?,” with one of them featuring alternative pop singer, Grimes.
So, let’s finally get into full length “I Disagree” that dropped this Friday. Four of the ten songs were released separately a month or so prior as singles, so I already had a taste of what the record was going to be like. “Concrete,” being one of the first singles, is the first song on the album & I think sets the tone very well as to what the listener should anticipate when listening to the rest of the record. It starts off with insane guitar riffs into happy melodic pop & lyrics like “Chewy, chewy, yummy yummy yummy… / Demons in my dreams / Watch me while I sleep.” So, needless to say your brain is confused but the more you listen to it, it grows on you. Or at least it did for me. The first few songs really are just a test if you have this twisted, acquired taste she has created. “I Disagree” is following track & also the title of the album. This one has to be one of my favorites as I feel the heavy melodies mesh more fluidly into the lighter toned chorus. I also enjoy her Japanese chant in the intro & the bridge that’s loosely translated as “I will not help you” or “I don’t go to you.” Just when you think you’re starting to understand the general sound, “BLOODMONEY,” starts to play. Most of the lyrics incorporate the concept of religion; mentioning Jesus & the devil throughout as well as a literal depiction of a cross in her music video. “Anything Like Me” coming in at track 4 gives the illusion of a soft ballad at first, but then kicks into Korn-like guitar progressions. (I’m rooting for Poppy to open for Korn so it could be called the PopKorn tour). Anyways, we then have “Fill The Crown” which is a more of an upbeat jam with an overlaying vocal in the chorus reminiscent of Marilyn Manson (nowhere does it confirm that it’s him, but they have been in contact before so it’s possible).
Halfway through the record, “Nothing I Need,” is used (in my mind) as a long interlude or break from the erratic tracks as it is more consistently softer, electronic pop. I feel as if it’s almost an homage to her old sound, but still maintaining that signature twist. “Sit/Stay” follows, drawing out the electronic vibes only faster paced (my first thought was: the background music of this could definitely be used in a reboot of that 90’s movie with Angelina Jolie, “Hackers”). Lyrics to this one pertaining to quite literally what you may have thought by just reading the title; constantly being told what to do despite being your own person. “Bite Your Teeth” has to be my other favorite of the record, mostly because it features Poppy’s first hardcore “BLEGH,” & a killer breakdown. However, in this track, and a few others, I can’t help but to compare the harmonies during the cheerful transitions to 2000’s Nickelodeon live action shows (i.e. Drake & Josh, Zoey 101). No idea what I mean? Listen to the harmonies in “Find A Way” by Drake Bell and then “Concrete” by Poppy. That’s all I’m gonna say on that. I digress, but we’re almost finished I promise. The last two tracks are “Sick of the Sun” & “Don’t Go Outside,” which complement each other very nicely as they’re both slower, more introspective pop ballads. The last track, specifically also references the album’s main focus tracks, “I Disagree” & “Concrete” with the same lyrics in a softer tone. “Down, let it all burn down / Burn it to the ground” and “Bury me six feet deep / Cover me in concrete,” with the final backing vocals “you can be anyone you want to be,” which I found to not only end the record wonderfully, but also encapsulates her new vision & emphasizes an important message for any impressionable fans.
If you sat through & read this novel of mine, I commend you. If you’re looking for something completely different & new to listen to, I definitely recommend checking her out, specifically this record. If you don’t like one, try another, because they’re all so different. Poppy heads out on the “I Disagree” tour in just a few weeks, starting in San Francisco on January 22nd. A few of her shows are already sold out, so go grab tickets while you still can! Check out her tour dates & socials below.
Written By Deirdre Kelly