Review Summary: When nobody is watching, what do you believe
Some albums just begin with a track that perfectly encapsulate what you're about to subject yourself to. I Disagree
, and its opening track "Concrete" could almost be seen as the poster child for a perfect example of this. All in the span of three minutes, you're greeted with air raid sirens, industrial synths, metalcore buildups and tasty riffs, Beach Boys style pop, even more metalcore, and finally a pop outro that wouldn't sound out of place on a Fleetwood Mac record. All that is done in the span of three minutes, and while Poppy certainly isn't the first artist to do this, more people seem to have taken notice than her contemporaries- say, Babymetal, for instance. If her 5 years of surreal YouTube videos hadn't already done so, Poppy's violent assault on your senses and the essence of genre as a whole certainly will force the world to. The bigger question, though, is arguably "is it good?", and you answer will certainly depend on your tastes in music. There's an old joke about whether you like spaghetti and ice cream, and if you would eat both together, and Poppy seems to have based this album around that joke, almost answering "yes" as loudly as possible, but at the end of the day, you can't really base a whole album around a joke, unless there's more under the surface.
The thing is, you can't really base your whole music career around a joke as rhetorical as the one I just mentioned either. And so far, I've ony really talked about one of ten tracks. So do the rest of them live up to the task set by "Concrete"? For the most part, they do. While it's easy to take this album at surface level as "Poppy gone metal", she hasn't really. True, Metal is the overarching bond of the album, but there's still tons of her synth-pop sensibility to be found here, and so much more. The following track on the album, the title track, is one of maybe two songs on this album that could be considered pure metal; existing on a confident stomp, tons of swagger and some excellent riffage, over which Poppy lashes out over someone making her life more difficult (presumably Titanic Sinclair, but we'll get to that later), it's hardly a surprise that this is shaping up to be Poppy's biggest hit so far.
The rest of the album manages to justify its existence beyond giving itself genre training wheels with industrial-esque bangers like "BLOODMONEY" and "Fill the Crown", thashy stompers like "Bite Your Teeth", and even ballads like "Sick of the Sun". Better yet, Poppy's songwriting has evolved greatly; with her freeing herself from Titanic Sinclair's percieved vision of Pereira being a robot, and exploring topics like religious hypocricy ("BLOODMONEY"), being unsure what to think of current times ("Don't Go Outside", "Sick of the Sun"), and her typical "dark is sometimes cute" gimmick ("Concrete"). With the help of Geratti and Cervini, Poppy has no trouble matching these lyrical themes to complimentary music, with almost all of the instrumental backings seeming as if they were written with the lyrics in mind. "Fill the Crown" is probably the finest example of this; with the song veering back and forth between a catchy, banging synth beat and muscular riffs that cetainly would make Korn proud, touching on motivational themes as well as embracing becoming a tyrant, she is even backed by a (yet unidentified) male vocalist who seems to revel in the thought of world domination with her.
The last song on I Disagree
, the very proggish "Don't Go Outside", seems like the perfect way to put a whole album full of mixed mesages and ever-shifting genres into perspective. With its first half being a melancholy lament of the world going to shit, and its second half consisting of lyrical callbacks to the album's title track, "Fill the Crown" and "concrete, it feels like a well-earned moment to reflect on what you have just heard. And that's one of many reasons I Disagree
, in spite of how taxing a task that it imposes upon the listener, is ironically a very agreeable album. The genre shifts both seem to come out of nowhere and feel like they're part of a whole. The music itself is very well composed and and Moriah Rose Pereira's voice, despite not being characteristic of Metal, manages to lend itself perfectly well with whatever it hopes to achieve. Exactly what it is she DOES want to achieve in the grand scheme of things
is pretty hard to determine, but either way, Poppy's got our attention.