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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, April 19, 2024

Poppy's 'I Disagree' destined to be a crucial moment in her discography

I_Disagree_Poppy
The album cover for "I Disagree" by Poppy is pictured.

Breaking convention is not uncommon. We see plenty of artists performing in ways that break the mold that they formed through their earlier work. Typically, it pays off, but it takes fans and critics a couple months, or even years, to realize that the artist’s decisions were going to be an important step in their discography.

Enter Poppy. Known for her delightfully entertaining electro-pop on albums like “Poppy.Computer” (2017), Poppy has decided, as seen through some teaser tracks that she released in 2019, to foray into a whole new music realm: metal.

Through Poppy’s third studio album, “I Disagree” (2020), however, there is no doubt that this totally new artistic vision is already paying off for her. In fact, fans listening to the teaser tracks seemed to already know that this album was going to be a memorable and important part of her career. After multiple listens, this album is undoubtedly a mark of evolution for Poppy.

“I Disagree” marks the end of her artistic partnership with Titanic Sinclair, a songwriter who helped creatively direct Poppy’s early work. It also marks her first release through Sumerian Records, a metal label that also signs outfits such as Asking Alexandria, Born of Osiris, Chon and Black Veil Brides. Without knowing anything about Poppy’s latest release, placing her name amongst these bands seems ludicrous. After listening to this album, however, you could see how she’d fit on the label. While she didn’t give her opinion on which genre to put it in, the metal influence is certainly highlighted. But beyond metal, we see her blend this genre with her addictive electropop sound, along with some dubstep and rock.

The opening song on the record, “Concrete,” starts off with a siren that leads into an immediately intimidating drum/synth combination, with lyrics like “Bury me six feet deep, cover me in concrete, turn me into a street” that only make it more in-your-face. Then, the guitar riff kicks in, which already tells listeners that Poppy isn’t messing around. After the introduction, we get a brighter chorus that emanates a similar electropop energy to her previous works, with much more welcoming lyrics like “Chewy, chewy, yummy yummy yummy… tasty treat.” This song in itself is a roller coaster, but it also shows the versatility of Poppy as an artist, while also carving out her own spot among pop and metal artists alike.

Throughout the album, we get a ton of metal-fusion bangers. Title track “I Disagree” has one of the heaviest choruses and most addictive lyrics on the record, and “BLOODMONEY,” being one of the noisiest songs on the record, shows a super cool blend of dubstep and metal. “Bite Your Teeth” follows a similar structure to “Concrete,” making drastic switches back and forth from intense metal to bright pop. While not necessarily intending to be a metal album, the album likely would have benefitted from more authentic-sounding guitar and drums. However, despite sounding more digital, the album does not take harm from artificiality.

Slower moments on the record also hold a value that contributes to the album’s likability. In the intro to the cut “Anything Like Me,” Poppy expresses her desire to leave the cage that her previous self kept her inside. This could also be a direct, but subtle, attack on Titanic Sinclair and the way that he treated her while she was starting to gain popularity. “Sick of the Sun” is one of Poppy’s best vocal performances on the album, as her melody and inflection bring the album to an eventual slow. “Don’t Go Outside” is a longer closing song that starts off mellow, but does not neglect the metal-oriented theme of the project. The outro to the song is awesome, interpolating the second song (“I Disagree”) in a new key, having an excellent closing texture. 

Overall, Poppy deserves credit for executing a radical shift from her previous sonic stylings and becoming more independent as an artist. "I Disagree" certainly has room for improvement, as some moments get repetitive, the album lacks originality (apart from the awesome genre blending) and it could have benefited from more authentic-sounding metal instruments. Nonetheless, it's easy to adore what Poppy has to offer on this record. There are super memorable songs, the album is generally fun to listen to and there's a lot to appreciate artistically from Poppy's appreciation for many different genres.

Summary After multiple listens, "I Disagree" is undoubtedly a mark of evolution for Poppy.
4 Stars