Poppy - I Disagree
Jan 10, 2020 (updated Jan 15, 2020)
96
Amazing

Recently I’ve felt as if my music listening has been leveling off, so to speak. It’s felt like I can’t get into anything as much as I would like. I’ve been lazy in writing reviews with no determination to listen to anything new. I’ve been indulging in some of my comforting Spotify playlists that have tracks I know, and that sense of familiarity. I’ve never felt this leveling-off feeling before, but whatever the case, I’m so thankful that music exists and I’ll never be able to repay any of the artists I listen to as much as I want. Aside from that, and completely unrelated, WE HAVE A NEW POPPY ALBUM TO SINK OUR TEETH INTO!!

This blew my expectations right out of the fucking blood river. Poppy’s past projects have made me feel underwhelmed with the basic musicality and utter blandness. The “CHOKE” EP from last year was very boring, and it felt like she was trying to be edgy for the sake of it. On “I Disagree”, she makes her own sound: The infusion of industrial overtones, hardcore metal, Queen-inspired guitar tones / melodies, and the occasional dance pop anthem. The perfect storm.

“Concrete” is a flawless opener to the record, starting with blaring horns and distant whispering, then all of a sudden blasting into some of the hardest-hitting guitar lines I’ve heard. This IMMEDIATELY transitions into a fast-paced, sugar-sweet menagerie of memorable lyrics and harmonies. Then a baroque pop middle passage with a harpsichord backing track, switching ever so disjointedly throughout the entire track. It’s the overture to an opera.

The title track is the dark storm in the distance taking shape, menacingly distorting the air around it. The entirety of the track uses these heavy bass and rhythm guitar hits to give the listener a sense of dread and existentialism, and coupled with that sweet melody on the chorus? It’s a wild ride. The culmination and devastation of the storm only becomes more apparent on “BLOODMONEY”. The industrial bassline, noise-hop production, and clipping synth chords give the track the feeling of taking the soul right out of your body (just like the lyrics). The religious commentary on this one is truly amazing as well. LOVE this track!

“Anything Like Me” is off-putting at first, but builds on that dark, hellish tone heard before. “Fill the Crown” are the previous feelings being stripped of their thematic importance, starting with a synth-pop beat, and progressing with a plinky, distorted refrain. The chorus here, albeit daring compared to the rest of the song, is heavy as fuck, with the legendary Marilyn Manson on backing vocals.

“Nothing I Need” is the eye of the storm. A chill-hop ballad obviously influenced by her ambient works. The listener can finally breathe for a bit, but not for long, as the other half of the storm is now getting closer. A CHALLENGER FLIES OUT OF THE WINDS! “Sit / Stay” sounds like the soundtrack to a boss battle in a video game, with its rave-infused, driving beat, and condescending, powerful lyricism presenting this overpowering feeling. The bass is the star of the show on this one.

The other side of the storm has arrived. “Bite Your Teeth” is the heaviest song on here. These chromatic guitar tones are ever changing in their time signature, and that repeated refrain throughout the track is unnerving and off-kilter. Each breakdown is brilliant and head-exploding in the sound of imminent doom. “Sick of the Sun” is secluded and catatone in its overall sound and chord progression. It’s a much needed break, and ironically feels like the end of the ginormous storm that once swept through.

“Don’t Go Outside” is the closest Poppy has ever come to progressive rock. The classical guitar arpeggios and mellotron-like chords in the background give this song a fulfilling purpose as a closer. The track switches up about halfway through, as the swelling sounds of wind are once again heard as a callback to the rest of the record. The refrain “Everything will be okay” is reassuring and calming during this section. After yet another metal-infused breakdown, the choruses from “I Disagree” and “Concrete” are used as an ultimate reprise for the end of the album. And then the wild storm is over. The ending feels like you’re going outside for the first time since the storm hit, seeing all the damage but still having hope for the future.

Okay, so I don’t know if any of that made sense, but I just talked about every song on this record, which definitely shows I loved this thing enough for that. Goddamn... I’m going to go take a shower now... and maybe call my doctor.

Color: Green
FAV TRACKS: all of them!
LEAST FAV: n/a
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