Watching Poppy’s musical transition over the last two years has been one of my favorite things to view in the music industry. I have always been a big fan of the creepy and weird persona that Poppy has put forth online in her videos; in a world, everyone is striving to make perfect sense of everything all of the time, I love the sense of someone striving to not make sense and confuse us. Up until recently, though, Poppy’s music did not match up with her creepy and dark online persona at all. In fact, her sound was sort of the opposite of what her online look is. Although the fact that she was making glitzy bubblegum pop music and scaring the hell out of people was pretty funny, I think the fact that her music is matching that dark online persona is really cool, because there are literally no people making metal music right now that look like Poppy beside Poppy. I Disagree is the best and most complete version of this sound that Poppy has created so far. Her last couple of EPs have had some metal and industrial elements to them which has been really cool, but I Disagree seems to be the first moment in her musical career that she has truly embraced this heavy metal sort of sound. The result of her diving into this sound has created a super cool, creative, and wild ride, and it is one of the most interesting and unique albums I have heard in the last few months. Poppy’s I Disagree is a really awesome take on heavy metal, hardcore punk, and industrial music from the person that would be least expected to make that kind of music, and it is a great album for the music world to kick off 2020 with.
Bury me six feet deep. Put me in concrete. Turn me into a street…
Poppy’s I Disagree gets kicked off with one of the wildest songs on this album in regards to the genre and overall organization of the track; in fact, ‘Concrete’ is one of the wildest songs that I have heard in quite a while in these regards. This song literally contains four different genres of music in the same three-minute cut; that being said, this song is still super well organized and does not sound weird or choppy. One of the most impressive things about this whole album is the fact that although every song seems to have tints of multiple genres in them, they still all sound so smooth and the transitions between genres are perfect. ‘Concrete’ is a great example of this notion, and it is a pretty awesome way to get this album kicked off. Following this we get the title track, ‘I Disagree,’ which is easily one of my favorite tracks on this album, if not my favorite. Everything about this song, from the premise of the lyrics to the musical progression to the music video, is so cool and rebellious and badass. The song starts out with an industrial metal riff and features Poppy talking in Japanese in a pretty unsettling tone. As the song progresses, it goes back and forth between this industrial feeling and a more alternative pop-metal vibe, and once again the transitions are so excellent. On ‘I Disagree,’ Poppy is stating that she is not okay with how her music label and management wants to control her every move to shape her image. She is seemingly sick of being told what to do, and this song is basically a huge “Screw You” to everyone and anyone who is trying to restrict her artistry. This sentiment is majorly enforced by the music video, which features Poppy drugging all of the men in suits who are trying to control her career and then pouring gasoline all over the room and burning them. It is very dramatic, intense, and ultimately strange, but it definitely gets the point across. The next song, ‘BLOODMONEY,’ has more of an industrial EDM vibe to it than heavy metal. The sound is still very dark and brutal, and it is highlighted by weird sound effects that remind me a lot of Nine Inch Nails. This song is sort of like a modern version of the 90s industrial grunge. Lyrically, Poppy is starting to have her “Resurrection” of sorts, with her finally realizing who she is and taking control of her own life and story. She condemns everyone who has gotten in her way to this point on ‘BLOODMONEY,’ and tells them that they better beg for forgiveness from Jesus to Christ. Considering on the last song and video she terminated a bunch of music executives who she did not like, I think it would probably be a pretty good idea to start begging for forgiveness like she is telling people to. ‘Anything Like Me’ brings us back to that heavy metal vibe that the first couple of songs had; in fact, this song is definitely the least industrial sounding song so far, as it seems to be strictly influenced by 90s Death Metal music. ‘Anything Like Me’ is a complete contrast to the message that most of her music up this point has had; on multiple songs in the past, Poppy has stated that we should all strive to be like her. On this song, though, Poppy has seemed to realize that this sort of idolatry is bad and wrong, and she wants all of her fans to know that they should not try to be like her at all. My favorite thing about this song is the blaring guitar solo that comes right before the acoustic breakdown that ends the track. This guitar solo is just so damn wicked, and it brings a lot of much-needed life to a super heavy and dark song.
‘Fill The Crown,’ in my opinion, is the track that has a sound that probably best represents Poppy’s hectic online persona out of all of her music. I have heard a lot of people compare Poppy to Grimes, and basically say that she is a more intense and creepy and overall weird version of Grimes, and I think that ‘Fill the Crown’ fits that bill perfectly. In fact, it almost fits this bill too perfectly, because the harsh background noises and sound effects kind of distract from the melody and synths a bit too much. This song pretty much feels like if a modern new wave synth song was mixed by a band like Gwar or something. The song is really good, but the mix is a little bit disheveled and weird. The synthy and ethereal feeling of ‘Fill the Crown’ continues with the next song, ‘Nothing I Need.’ Although this track is sonically one of the least imposing and ultimately scary songs on I Disagree, I think the fact that is is so low key and chill actually makes it creepier, especially because of the lyrical theme of this song. On ‘Nothing I Need,’ Poppy is singing about how once she achieved all of the online fame and success that she had been striving for, she realized that she did not even want or need any of it. It has to be a sad and strange feeling to work really hard to be famous and in the process break down all your relationships and essentially “sell your soul” to achieve this only to realize that you do not enjoy it at all. The intensity that the album had had up until ‘Nothing is Real’ is brought back to the forefront with ‘Sit/Stay.’ This song is another weird and freaky industrial synth song. Honestly, ‘Sit/Stay’ sounds like it should be played in a nightclub in the world of the Underworld: Rise of the Lycans or The Matrix series.’ Honestly, this track is the only one to me that feels a bit throwaway-ish. I know that the lyrics definitely fit the theme of the album and that the sound of the song does match up with sound of the album, it kind of feels like it is just there, you know? It is not as intense or weird or creepy all of the rest of the album, and it just feels like they either should have done more with it or left it out. Regardless, if you are into dark industrial synth-pop, it is definitely a very solid song, so you should still check it out if you are into that sound.
Bite your own teeth! Bite your own teeth! Don’t ever, ever cry. Just bite your own…
The in-your-face style intensity that the last song had lacked is definitely thrown immediately back into the forefront with the next song, ‘Bite Your Teeth.’ This track starts out with some of the most hard-hitting and brutal metal riffs that this album contains, and the energy of this song is downright pummeling. The genre transitions in this song are absolutely insane, man. Although the transitions are pretty bumpy(this is probably the least smooth song on this album), the fact that this track straight up contains four completely different sounds/genres in about three minutes. The next song, ‘Sick of the Sun,’ has a super pretty and slow 90s alternative grunge sound. Based on the riff, melody, and lyrical content of this track, I am pretty certain this song is a sort of ode to the band Soundgarden and their timeless hit ‘Black Hole Sun.’ I actually really love this sound coming from Poppy and would love to see her do more of an indie grunge sort of thing in the future. Her high and very sweet vocals contrast so perfectly with the heavy and deep qualities of this instrumental. The last track of the album, ‘Don’t Go Outside,’ seems to sort of be a culmination of all the musical ideas and sounds that are on this record. In the finale of I Disagree, which is about 6 and a half minutes, has elements of pretty much every kind of music that was made on this album. This song goes from heavy death metal to grunge to pop-rock to industrial synth-pop, all in a way that transitions very well. For how many different kinds of music are used in this song, it sounds very smooth and good. ‘Don’t Go Outside’ is pretty weird and a lot of people may not enjoy how scattered the track sounds, but the fact that all of the themes of the whole album are highlighted in this one track is pretty cool.
I Disagree is the first time in Poppy’s musical career that her sound matches up with the weirdness of her online persona perfectly. For a while now, I have been wanting Poppy to stop making pop music and start making music that is as dark and creepy as her videos are, and this album is the first point where that was achieved. Now, this album is not perfect; there are a couple of songs that probably could have either been left out or they could have been developed a bit more, and there are points where I wish she would have gone even more intense with and completely demolished the boundaries that she is trying to break. With that being said, this was a really cool and interesting record, and I can not wait to hear what Poppy does next. I would love for her to experiment more with these pop-metal sounds and develop them to the best of her ability, but I am sure if she decides to go down a different route that it will be just as good. I Disagree was an awesome album to start off my music reviewing year with, and it not only makes me very excited to hear what she does next, it makes me very excited to listen to all of the other new and awesome music that we are about to be blessed with as 2020 starts to get going.