Review: ‘I Disagree’ brings unfamiliar sound for Poppy

Bubblegum pop singer strips pastel aesthetic for heavy metal music

Courtesy of Sumerian Records.

Courtesy of Sumerian Records.

Known for her creepy-cute visuals and messages, bubblegum pop music and almost robotic persona, all of it is stripped away, favoring heavy metal guitars, scream vocals and a dark, edgy aesthetic. Released on Friday, Jan. 10, “I Disagree” marks a new era of music and aesthetic for American singer Poppy. Instead of relying on her YouTube persona, Poppy creates a new piece of work for herself and expresses her creativity for music.

Concrete” marks the first single released on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 and is the first track of the album. The track showcases the overall tone of the album, metal guitar mixed with the sweet vocals of Poppy. Beginning with low whispering verses, a siren in the background transitions to heavy guitar riffs and rumbling instrumentals. Compared to previous singles such as “Beach Blonde Baby” where her voice is extremely high pitched and robotic, Poppy’s voice relaxes and doesn’t sound like she’s forcing an unnatural tone. She keeps her voice even and within the range she can achieve.

The second track “I Disagree,” another single released on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, dives even further into the new heavy metal sound that reminds listeners of Bring Me The Horizon’s “Happy Song.” With cheerily-sung lyrics holding a dark tone and a screaming chorus, it works well in the background and with the heavy metal guitar. The music video provided showcases Poppy’s storytelling skills of the song’s meaning; previous music producers stifled her creative expression and new sound.

On some of the tracks, such as “BLOODMONEY,” the third single of the album released on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, and “Fill the Crown” give abrupt endings and often give strange musical experimentations. “Fill the Crown” sounds like a mashup of her usual electronic sounds mashed with high vocals and random sounds to create something of a song, while “BLOODMONEY” has discouraging lyrics of repetition and no variety to fill the silence and melody.

Lyrics play a huge part in the music, showing what the singer is trying to portray in her music with the track “Anything Like Me.” Her older music was made for the character Poppy she created from her web series, rather than herself. Songs like “American Kids” and “Money” from her first EP “Bubblebath” gave insight into the singer’s life, not the character. Among the metal schreechs, flashy lights of the music video and yelling choruses, the lyrics “Sorry for what I’ve become because I’m becoming someone” give insight to Poppy’s feelings to becoming herself rather than be stuck in her robotic persona.

As the metal sound continues in her next tracks, it comes to a halt in the ninth track “Sick of the Sun” and her last track “Don’t Go Outside.” It brings back older fans to her old style of music in a refined and evolved version, showing Poppy’s growth in music while also keeping a familiar style for her fans. Whispery and airy vocals with R&B drum beats bring a psychedelic feel that sound similar to Beach House’s “Space Song” and Twenty One Pilots’ “Chlorine.”

Poppy’s album “I Disagree” receives 4 out of 5 stars for its new sound. It transitions the artist to become herself and an independent singer rather the YouTube persona she had been acting under. It gives fans a view into her life, herself and where she plans to take her career into the future, while also attracting newer fans from the heavy metal community.