Six years ago, I kept hearing about a YouTube artist named Poppy, and when I looked up her work I was astounded at how brilliant it all was. When she released the album Poppy Computer, I felt like she had redefined stardom in the modern age by taking everything everyone likes about a pop star and making a persona from it. So when there was word that Poppy was set to release a new album, I was all ears. What transpired is a new turn in direction on I Disagree. Poppy still makes pop music, but now has added darker lyrics and a mix of nu-metal and hardcore to stay ahead of everyone else.
The end result is an artist in control of their own universe. Poppy seems to be done with conducting interviews in the third person while now being backed by a live band. Her mix of metal and pop may have touches of what Babymetal did, but it’s essentially a new form of pop that’s hard to walk away from.
The opener “Concrete” is a great place to start with how the album sounds. The lyrics are definitely darker, and there’s plenty of metal riffs. But between all of that, Poppy has sandwiched traditional bubble gum pop. The lyrics for those parts are a bit silly, but it should be noted that it’s all with a band and not a drum machine. It’s an interesting way to create new pop music, but in a weird way, it works. The way she stays dark but still manages pop on “I Disagree” is something else. The pop here comes from the pacing, though the music melds together nu-metal and dark electronica.
The biggest standouts of the album come on the tracks “BLOODMONEY,” “Sit/Stay” and “Don’t Go Outside.” On “BLOODMONEY” Poppy takes a more vocal chorus approach that intertwines between trip hop and dark electronica. It’s a gamble that works where the electronics here have a pulsating tone with her vocals either in a unison based chant or buried underneath the music. With “Sit/Stay” she takes a more dance pop meets anime tone. The song isn’t as heavy even with thick guitar riffs, and it feels like a new type of pop music in how it gets represented. On “Don’t Go Outside” the singer goes further into another realm. Opening with acoustic guitars soaked in reverb, her vocals have a softness that’s closer to her former sound. Though this sweetness gets met with synths and beats that give the sound a whole new place to thrive. When the guitars come in, it’s closer to prog than any of the other tracks. It’s all very different, yet it all works. It seems like Poppy is on to something else ahead of everyone else, yet again.
I Disagree is available to purchase physically from Sumerian Records. It can also be purchased in all digital outlets or streamed on all platforms. Poppy will be on tour beginning January 22 in San Francisco, CA at The Great American Music Hall until June 14 in Naas, Ireland at Punchestown Racecourse. Her complete tour schedule is located here.
Image Credits: Photo by Jesse Draxler.