By Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer
[Mad Decent; 2017]
Key Tracks: “Bleach Blond Baby”, “Computer Boy”
Poppy.Computer, the debut record from YouTube star turned pop singer Poppy, is a very confusing album without any context or information about the artist. Her YouTube channel is strange, and most likely supposed to be a commentary on the way the internet has exploded. For the first listen, it seems like a vapid pop album about a tech-obsessed, self-obsessed teenager.
The album opens with “I’m Poppy”, a pretty fun track with catchy electronic musical themes, cool effects like video game pings, and sound effects from the Mario games. The problem with this track and many others are the lyrics, which almost feel like a joke. The repetitive spelling of her name and tech names is grating. “Let’s Make a Video” is a little better, following a more conventional bubblegum pop style. The electronic backings are fun and upbeat, and never stop bubbling under her singing.
“Bleach Blond Baby” is better by far than the other tracks on this album. The electronic beat underneath sounds like a switched around version of the synth from Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” This track is dreamy and fun while staying within the overarching themes of the album.
Unfortunately, what goes up must also come down. This album crashes to the ground with the totally brainless “My Microphone”, a repetitive and cringy guitar-filled mess. Even some of the electronics, which aren’t that bad, cannot redeem this track. “Moshi Moshi” is an upbeat, J-Pop inspired track that’s juvenile at best, like what you would expect to be playing under a commercial for a Hello Kitty playset.
The other stand-out for this album is “Computer Boy”, which feels like a truer art-pop track than any of the other tracks. The background track is heavier and more filled out while still maintaining a danceable and fun feeling. The lyrics carry their own humor and add to her character, for example, “please stay by my side forever and never talk to anyone else.”
“My Style” is a little bizarre, and features a robot that repeats that “Poppy is an object / Poppy is your best friend / Poppy will break your neck / Poppy will be your pet.” It’s kind of weird, but the production and backup track make up for it. “Fuzzy” is true bubblegum pop, and it’s a nice change from the vaguely threatening “My Style.” It’s almost reminiscent of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”
“Interweb” opens with creepy echoing singing, which becomes a hypnotic motif for the track. It’s about catching people and keeping them attached to her and her internet fame. “Software Update” is about the incompetence of her man, and how he needs a software update so he won’t be unoriginal and inconsistent (same, girl). The album closes with “Pop Music”, which opens with a lone acoustic guitar. It’s simple, but it builds from there and brings out the theme of chasing the idea of having money and fame and how it’s annoying but everyone loves it. It’s a nice way to close the album, but it doesn’t really match any of the other tracks.
There is no denying that this album, though confusing, is catchy, and has a few tracks that can stand outside the realm of Poppy’s internet presence. However, a lot of this album feels like it can’t exist outside of a preteen girl’s bedroom.