On November 5th 2014, a mysterious video appeared on Youtube. It basically consistsed of a young, petite, bleach-blonded girl eating cotton candy on a white background. This was just the first step of the internet rabbit-hole better known as Poppy.
Born as a sort of multidisciplinary art-project from the minds of Moriah Rose Pereira -impersonating Poppy- and director and musician Corey Michal Mixter -best known as Titanic Sinclair-, starting from with cryptic videos Youtube where she read steps from the Book of Revelation, Poppy became one of the most enigmatic figures on the web, a character so distant from reality, representing the topos of the immaculate teen pop-star, an image too archetypal for comfort: unsurprisingly, such a flawless vision evokes sinister connotations, bringing a lot of fans and Reddit users to search some sort of Illuminati-conspiracy and symbolisms inside her videos.
For Poppy, music was a contour: Moriah and Titanic Sinclair released, between 2015 and 2017, several inconsistent works of ambient tunes and plastic synth-pop that helped the project becoming more commercial and, at the same time, weirder. Even her first live performances were staged, with Poppy lip-syncing all of her songs.
In 2018, the project takes a new road with Am I a Girl? (Poppy herself always claimed to be gender-neutral), following the new synth-pop wave that was developing in those years. The album contains several and diverse episodes: the EDM-oriented tracks, the ones more catchy and chart-oriented, up to some nu-metal songs.
In the same year, Titanic Sinclair was accused by his former partner, Mars Argo, of infringing copyright, stating that Poppy’s persona was inspired by her, as well as abusing her. This lawsuit generated a media hurricane, switching the focus off the music, giving new material to the internet users to create new conspiracy theories.
Meanwhile, the project inspired a graphic novel and a web-series, confirming its multi-media leitmotiv.
In June 2019, Poppy dropped a new EP, called Choke that reprised the latest snippets she adopted on Am I Girl? blending nu-metal, industrial, electronic and pop, taking a lot more interesting road.
A few months later, Moriah, after several uncredited news, departed from his long-time partner Titanic Sinclair, accusing him of mental abusing her, announcing a new album called I Disagree.
Poppy herself said on a recent interview that “This is my third full-length album but it feels like it’s my first” and, on a musical term, it’s true.
This album starts where Choke ended, picking up the nu-metal and industrial elements and blending it with some cute-pop intermissions, but in a more solid way.
The first track “Concrete” reprises the BABYMETAL vibes mixing it with some metalcore-breakdowns, alternating sweet and disturbing lyrics, ending the song with chants that remark the cult of personality behind the Poppy persona. “I Disagree” and “BLOODMONEY” could be easily featured in Choke, mixing industrial synths with some basic nu-metal features, Moriah, as several other artists of her generation -like Grimes, 100gecs, and many more- it was clearly influenced by the music of her younger years. Switching freely from brostep to metal-core, in a recent interview, she declared that one of her biggest inspirations was Norma Jean because of her ability to mix distant sounds that, back in the first 2000s, were ignored or disliked by the genre-enthusiast counterparts.
Every song has some catchy melodies that get squashed by metal-core riffs, and viceversa. There are some interesting lyrics in the album: Poppy, probably referencing to her previous relationship with her fellow partner and the lawsuit with Mars Argo, sings: “Your hand on my neck, you call up the press” or “You shouldn’t be anything like me” in “Anything like me”. These are just some of the many references that show how Poppy’s writing skills have grown.
In “Fill the crown” Poppy gets some help from what appears to be Marilyn Manson (it’s un-credited, but it really sounds like him), “Nothing I Need” is the cutest tune on the project and reminds theher early works, “Sit / Stay” has many Grimes influences, “Bite Your Teeth” is one of the most violent tracks in the record, while “Sick of The Sun” and “Don’t Go Outiside” work as outros to the album, interpolating lyrics from “I Disagree”, “Fillthe Crown” and “Concrete”, with Poppy singing: “You can be anyone you want to be”.
In the end, Poppy delivers a great work, well-written, well-executed and fun to hear, taking another step in her metamorphosis, paradoxically, the brightest so far.