Poppy

I Disagree

Written by: KW on 30/01/2020 20:46:59

If you’re not one big fucking question mark the first time the chorus on “Concrete” from this new Poppy album hits, you’re not human. I, at least, laughed uncontrollably when Poppy proclaimed she loves the taste of ”young blood in [her] teeth” after revealing her innermost desire of being turned into a street of concrete, all to the sound of shredding guitars and bubblegum choruses, like the malformed offspring of an orgy between Slipknot, K-pop, and indie summertime hits.

“Chewy, chewy, yummy, yummy, yummy

Sharp and pointy, yummy, yummy, yummy

Break me off a piece of that tasty treat

Sugar in my teeth, demons in my dreams

Watch me while I sleep for eternity”

If that sounds nonsensical and ridiculous, that’s because it is. I don’t even think it actually musically works on “Concrete”, at least not by using any normal scale of songwriting coherence. It twists and turns at a breakneck velocity, never letting one riff or idea breathe before smothering it in either syrupy-sweet singing or pummeling breakdowns, yet there is still something quite appealing in the sheer entertainment value this grating maelstrom of conflicting genres that is “I Disagree” from internet pop sensation Poppy brings. While you might sit there with crossed arms with a lifted finger yelling: “She can’t do that!”, Poppy is over here not caring in the slightest what conventions you might have conjured up of what pop and metal can be.

And I’d say this blatant tongue in cheek project succeeds in varying degrees. While “Concrete” serves as the kick-in-the-face introduction to the sound of the album, its novelty wears thin quite quickly after you get over the shock value it possesses. The title track is another story though. The same formula is very apparent: cute choruses and heavy guitars battling it out, but I think in a much more focused manner that doesn’t sound like the musical equivalent of a dirty pint. “BLOODMONEY” is a non-ironic, raging banger of grinding industrial noise and abrasive chants of ”beg for forgiveness from Jesus the Christ!”, and it was the first time on the record where I started to be genuinely impressed with what I was hearing. This one goes hard. It was only the start though, as the middle-part of this album is by far the most engaging and least gimmick-fueled. “Anything Like Me” borrows heavily from Billie Eilish’s “Bury a Friend” in mood and beat, but then spices it up with dissonant guitars to create what sounds like what could’ve been a Marilyn Manson remix of the aforementioned track. And while on the topic of Manson: “Fill the Crown” combines Twin Peaks-esque post-punk atmosphere with chugging hard rock, and the guest cameo on this track sounds eerily similar to the shock-rocker himself, though no credit is anywhere to be found.

“Nothing I Need” is just a straight, dull sugar-ballad, but the The Prodigy worship on “Sit / Stay” quickly engages you again with a strange, odd-meter drum’n’bass beat and a dramatic ending featuring some harrowing screams in between walls of drowning noise — not unlike something you might hear on a Lingua Ignota piece, if you’d believe it. “Bite Your Teeth” reaches “Deconstruction”-era Devin Townsend levels of wackiness, and although it is just as random as “Concrete” before it, it somehow makes it all work by turning the abrasiveness and ridiculousness up to a billion in a short but wild ride of impossibly low-tuned breakdowns and circus freakishness. Unfortunately, the album doesn’t quite nail the landing in two largely forgettable tracks, though I appreciate that “Don’t Go Outside” was going for the great reprisal finale of a progressive metal album (and actually sounds a little like Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson at first, which is always gonna be a plus in my book). But it just never reaches that climactic high it’s obviously going for by intertwining earlier hooks and choruses, maybe due to the fact that it’s not finishing off an hour-long conceptual journey, but rather 35 minutes of sheer insanity.

When I first ran through this album, I was not at all sure if I actually enjoyed the majority of it. I’m still not sure why it works for me, because some of it definitely shouldn’t, but somehow I keep going back to it. While “I Disagree” is obviously on-the-nose with lots of its qualities, sometimes the edginess and artsy-fartsy nature of it can be nauseating, but at least you’re going to be vomiting up your guts with a grin on your face while Poppy incessantly screams your ears off in these dizzying genre-fusions. It’s fun, braindead and brilliant — all at the same time, all at once — and I both love it and hate it. Mostly love though.

7

Download: BLOODMONEY, Anything Like Me, Fill the Crown, Sit / Stay, Bite Your Teeth
For the fans of: Babymetal, Grimes, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein
Listen: Facebook

Release date 09.01.2020
Sumerian Records

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