“Bury me 6-feet deep, cover me in concrete, turn me into a street”. What an intense start to a crazy album. It then goes directly into a Slipknot-style riff before bursting into a bubbly pop chorus which goes directly into a hardcore breakdown which then transitions into a Beach Boys style section. It just goes and goes and goes. The crowd chants “Poppy! Poppy! Poppy!” before a snare hit and a blissful outro. The little percussion part that plays in the right ear starting at 2:48 is such a nice little touch as well. Its little details like this that make the album work so well throughout.
This song is intense as hell and the chorus is so damn catchy. The guitars do a lot of work here as they sound so damn crunchy and nice. The background scream at 2:33 acts as a really nice transition into the chorus. As mentioned in the write-up for “Concrete”, its these little details and minor differences found in the songs that make the album work so well throughout.
Probably the most intense song on the album with its noise and industrial influences powering the song with a relentless aggression. “BEG FOR FORGIVENESS FROM JESUS THE CHRIST!” demands Poppy. The guitar solo is heavenly as it feeds into the songs intense atmosphere and the drums contextualize things so perfectly while never sounding stagnant.
Anything Like Me
Starts off with a ghostly atmosphere before descending into this grimy metal song. It eventually returns to that ghostly atmosphere in the bridge towards the end of the song. The slow drums and weightless guitar parts push the atmosphere to new levels as Poppy ventures into the ethereal before descending back into screaming “YOU SHOULDN’T BE ANYTHING LIKE ME!”. A little bit of neo-classical guitar shredding towards the end of the solo as well.
Fill the Crown
One of my favourites on the album. Kicks off with a beautiful chorus before transitioning into a heavily manipulated electronic bit before transitioning again into a straight-up Marilyn Manson style metal song. Repeats this structure a second time, before going Chorus-Bridge-Outro. This repeat Chorus-Post chorus-Verse x2 into a bridge structure works excellently as the pay-off is huge. The outro acts as a modified post-chorus. Also, if that isn’t Marilyn Manson on background vocals, that is a damn fine Marilyn Manson impression.
Nothing I Need
This acts as a cool-down from the previous songs which were intense and heavily structured with a ton of transitions. The instrumentals during the chorus and outro honestly sound like something out of the Persona video game franchise. It sounds like something you would hear wandering around Inaba in Persona 4. A nice little break in the albums intensity but definitely not a highlight of the album.
Those guitars sound so sludgey and grimey, goddamn. This is contrasted to the tight drum sounds and heavenly vocals found in the chorus which intensifies the guitars kicking in every single time. The section starting at 2:45 acts as a bit of an off-road driving section as it detours away from the rest of the song a bit before the guitars come pulling everything back in to the middle.
Bite Your Teeth
Probably my least favourite song on the entire album. By this point, nothing about it comes as a surprise and its overly repetitive for its own good. The best part of the song is the outro because it sets up the closing songs magnificently.
Sick of the Sun / Don’t Go Outside
I see these songs as part 1 and 2 of the same song, inseparable in every way. “Sick of the Sun” is a slow and mesmerizing song that takes its steady time in building up an atmosphere before exploding into a heart-achingly beautiful chorus about being sick of the sun. It is gentle in its instrumentation but also in its lyricism as Poppy states that she wants to “float away”. This entire song is a pre-cursor to the magnificent “Don’t Go Outside”
“Don’t Go Outside” is a classic long song album-closer with its clean guitar intro and soft vocals building into something much greater later on. A distorted drum track kicks in after over a minute of gentleness, pushing the song slightly forward. At the 2.5 minute mark, the electric guitars finally kick in with a riff that isn’t anywhere near as heavy as most of the guitar tracks on the rest of the album, accompanied by a restrained percussion section. The next time this section kicks in, Poppy shreds a mean guitar solo over top.
The outro acts not only as an outro for this song, but as an outro for the entire album as it is an interpolation of multiple tracks from the album: “I Disagree” (“Down, let it all burn down, burn it to the ground”), “Fill the Crown” (“You can be anyone you want to be”) and “Concrete”. (“Bury me six feet deep and just cover me in concrete, please”). It is a brilliant way to bring a lot of the album’s concepts together while using familiar vocals/lyrics to achieve a sense of familiarity in the listener. It is almost nostalgic feeling to hear these lyrics again. A great album closer.
Poppy blends a multitude of various musical styles together in a seamless and creative way. She takes her influences and sculpts them to fit her musical mold and the result is as impressive as it is fun to listen to. Bubbly pop, heavy metal, hardcore breakdowns, Beach Boys style verses, Marilyn Manson fanfare, an epic closer… Poppy achieves it all with flying colours. Quite possibly the best album of 2020, or at least one that will likely end up on my end-of-the-year list for 2020.
9/10 – Amazing