On August 14, experimental pop artist Poppy added three more tracks to complete her extended metal-pop album I Disagree (More).
Poppy rose to fame as a YouTuber, with cryptic videos delivered as an android persona with an eerie sweetness, utilising her youthful image. I Disagree (More) marks the ‘upgrade’ or transformation of Poppy from passive android to an autonomous, powerful individual, as she launches a scathing attack on the music industry powers.
In the original ten-track release of I Disagree, Poppy draws on her previous bubble-gum pop style, fusing it with heavy metal guitar riffs and industrial sounds to create a confronting style. The record is defiant both lyrically and sonically, as she resists the pressures of commercial success, something she references in the lyrics “God speed to the radio star/Stop the beat when they take it too far” (‘Sit/Stay’). Opening track ‘Concrete’ contains the subversively catchy line “cover me in concrete/turn me into a street,” as we see her bury her old self and establish herself as a more influential artist. Poppy demonstrates her full range and lets us know that she will not hold back from experimentation, placing perhaps the most challenging track on the album as the opener. At the same time, the line hints at the treatment of artists in the music industry, creating an image in which people may quite literally “walk all over her.”
The addition of July single ‘Khaos x4’ and three new tracks, ‘If It Bleeds’, ‘Bleep Bloop’, and ‘Don’t Ask’, add a new layer of defiance. The context surrounding the creation of this album is complicated. I Disagree was Poppy’s final work with creative partner Titanic Sinclair, as she separated from him shortly before the album’s release due to his “manipulative patterns.” Many of the lyrics in I Disagree can be interpreted as a direct attack on Titanic Sinclair, for example, in ‘Nothing I Need’, “When I said that I’m ok/All the power that you had, it just slipped away.” In the title track, “I disagree with the way you continue to pressure me.” However, the complicated reality is that Sinclair co-wrote many of these lyrics. Whether Sinclair played any part in these new additions is ambiguous- yet, he has no writing credit, and Poppy no longer seems to be holding back at all. ‘Bleep Bloop’ is a threat- Poppy no longer just disagrees, she wants you to obey her: “I can make you afraid/ I will make you obey.“
Some of the strongest imagery in the original ten-track release comes during the closer ‘Don’t Go Outside’, as Poppy introduces biblical apocalyptic references: “Amphibians are falling from the sky/ Now is not the time to go outside.” The bridge “everything will be ok” suggests Poppy finding calm amongst the chaos. If Poppy’s comfort in the idea of the world ending was not clear enough, in recent release ‘Khaos x4’, Poppy sweetly sings: “I’m happy that the world is gonna end.” Poppy reminds us that she is no mere mortal, living in fear of hell and apocalypse. However, nor is she the passive YouTube android persona she established herself as. This new Poppy is free to express herself and experiment without consequence- she can change genre every ten seconds if she wants to. In ‘If It Bleeds’, Poppy also references back to ‘Don’t Go Outside’ in the lyrics, “Stupid people follow suit […] /They follow news for what to do,” mirroring the idea that “The TV says you’re out of time/Suck the fear in through your eyes.“ Poppy ridicules those who look to mainstream media for leadership, highlighting her own autonomous, non-conforming identity.
‘Don’t Ask’ is a mellow close to the often-chaotic album, with dreamy vocals. Poppy references change throughout the closer- “Scenes from yesterday slowly drifting away/How could anything ever be the same?” addressing her personal and musical growth. In the chorus, “Don’t ask me how I’m feeling/There’s nothing to talk about,” Poppy suggests that her music will speak for itself.
I look forward to discovering more of the real Poppy, now that she has broken character and delivers interviews as her human self.