Album Review: Poppy – Stagger

By Emma Rickett, Contributor
[Republic Records; 2022]
Rating: 4/10

Key tracks: “Pocket”, “Stagger”

Moriah Periera, who started her career on YouTube making surreal videos under the alias That Poppy, has carried her uniqueness through all her creative works. Songs like “BLOODMONEY” and “I Disagree” are glitchy nu-metal compared to her first album, 3:36 (Music to Sleep To), which sounds exactly like music to sleep to. Periera is no stranger to genre-hopping and blending her favorite genres together in a cohesive, digestible way. Her new EP, Stagger, is a genre she shouldn’t have hopped to.

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Nu-metal and alternative music has been on the rise, especially on social media where popular alternative audios become “TikTok songs.” Used in e-girl thirst traps and anime edits, when a song becomes a TikTok song, you’ll hear it everywhere for weeks. Not to say that Poppy isn’t talented or doesn’t have a deep understanding of music, but the first three songs on this album felt like they were created with the intention of becoming TikTok audios. It was painfully repetitive with surface-level lyrics over a beat that could have been in a Disney Channel original movie.

The only song I would save to my library is the finale, “Stagger”. Poppy abandoned the rocker sound for her closing track and evolved into something softer, similar to Grimes’ “Delete Forever”. I would love to see Poppy continue that route and venture into a more pop-esque sound like the hit “Girls in Bikinis” or stick with the screams for her heavier tracks. It is unclear what Poppy was trying to achieve with Stagger, as it feels directionless and without emotion or purpose. The genre-hopping is fun and truly shows a well-roundedness in her understanding of music and the industry, but I just don’t hear that on this record. Unless this EP is some meta-commentary on the state of music and the industry regarding TikTok audio farming, I have to give this one a 4/10.

Listen here:

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