I Disagree is a ferocious pop album and a defiant, artistic declaration of autonomy.
Just who even is Poppy? There are a few floating ideas, vague assumptions one can make regarding her character based on a few off-kilter YouTube videos, ones that might suggest her brand of skin-crawling abrasiveness is a decidedly self-aware bit of ironic, post-human baiting. Alternately, a cynical assumption might think that Moriah Rose Pereira-Whitney is just a pretty face for Titanic Sinclair to toy with; he has served as her creative director since the inception of her brand, and it seems reasonable to posit that he might prefer to take credit for all of her success, in the fashion of most jaded men in the music industry. The problem with these suppositions, then, is that it’s difficult to understand the singer according to any one of these narratives by which so many wish to define her; like all human beings, she contains multitudes that exist outside of the realm of instant marketability.
I Disagree serves as her J’accuse to the nay-sayers who would deny her the right to be seen as anything other than her established internet persona. The album is a defiant rebuff of assimilation into any prescribed hegemony, one built on a series of internal contradictions consisting of harsh tonality (heavy metal instrumentation) and soft melodies (the pop orientation of her songwriting). “Bury me six feet deep, cover me in concrete / Turn me into a street” she coos at the start of the record, both an insult and instruction to the many supposed “high-class” listeners — she instead invites a deconstruction of her body, rejecting the imposed confines of its physicality and liberating her from any preconceived notions of who she is and what she’s capable of. And for those with whom she does have specific beef with — notably YouTuber Mars Argo, who sued Poppy and Sinclair in 2018 for copyright claim — this ethos is amplified into serious shade-throwing: “Sorry for what I’ve become / Because I’m becoming someone” and “I’m everything she never was.” Aside from other, more pedestrian insults given on that same monstrous track (“You pray for a reaction”), this might be the most cutting slight on the record, one that both decimates notions of who Poppy is — and establishes who she has yet to become, and asserts her right to control both.
Published as part of Pop Rocks | Q2 2020 Issue – Part 2.