Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Poppy "I Disagree" (2020)

The only time I'd heard of American singer Poppy beforehand was in the middle of some good old "he said, she said" internet drama. The story goes that her image is modeled around her producer and collaborator's previous artist, causing creative identity controversy. Ditching the former musical partner, she's brought a new team to this record, taking an experimental stride to brush with the twisted aesthetics of Extreme Metal in a whirlwind of styles stretching from buttery Pop and lush Electronic, to the boom and bounce of Nu Metal with a little Industrial grit. I was turned onto this new release by friends but Ive got to be critical, its all a bit too contrived for my taste.

I Disagree's strenuous diversity and flashy eclecticism feels like a shallow facade as just about every pallet presented keenly remind me of other artists, styles and aesthetics heard before. This lack of originality is thrust forth by the stitched nature of its musical progressions. Sudden shifts, jolts and turns in momentum feel hollow as the music pivots from dreamy singing and sunny synths to dirty Djent guitars and hammering drums with little meaning. It leaves the song writing in an awkward place where its intent feels at the mercy of a failed attempt to be audacious and daring.

It's not all bad however. The various musical pallets play well, textures and aesthetics sound gorgeous from start to end, there just isn't any cohesion. Poppy sounds at her soft and effeminate best in the dreamy pop sections as pivots to extremities often suck away the mood in favor of nonsensical aggression. The lyrics too are a bit all over the place. J-Pop influences play out with a quirky manor that falls flat on me. "Bite your own teeth" and other lines fail to offer substance. I think Anything Like Me talks to the drama addressed above and with that some meaning and depth is found but its lacking elsewhere, another dimension that falls short.

For the most part each listen flys by. Its entertaining but with little digging in deep or getting stuck in the mind. It does however end on a fantastic high note as Sick Of The Sun actually sticks to one idea for the whole track, playing out a strange summery vibe that's slightly esoteric and ethereal. It almost feels like a two part epic as an acoustic plucked guitar akin to Metallica's Call Of The Cthulhu or Ozzy's Killer Of Giants brings us into a second phase. This then finds the album's best metallic riffs as giant meaty notes parade with mountainous stature, leading into dazzling guitar solos. Its fantastic song writing on an album that's sorely missing it for all the tracks leading to this ending. A great bow out but also the only two songs to take away from it all.

Favorite Tracks: Sick Of The Sun, Don't Go Outside
Rating: 5/10