Los Angeles pop star Moriah Pereira, also known as Poppy, explores her character's depth in “Am I a Girl?”.


Who is Poppy?

Los Angeles pop star Moriah Pereira, known by the stage name Poppy, is building a rather surreal world. You might recognize her from those bizarre YouTube videos she coordinated with director Titanic Sinclair which are meant to promote the Poppy project. She first popped into the music scene singing covers of songs with her pals in the indie band Heyhihello. This led to the character’s debut in the strange web mini-series “Everybody Wants to Be Poppy” in 2015. Afterward, Sinclair and Poppy coordinated to tweak the persona of Poppy into more of a character than just a pop star. Poppy became an enigmatic AI living off a strict diet of pop culture.

In 2017, the quirky album “Poppy.Computer” was released. It’s bizarre and about as bubblegum as teen pop at times but also undeniably catchy and even funny at times. The conclusion track, “Pop Music,” in particular engages the pop music critique with appreciation for the genre. It dives into the flaws surrounding its consumption while also recounting the industry like a child’s daydream. This song alone adds a layer to what Poppy represents in the pop world and gives her an odd sense of humanity. “Am I a Girl?” explores additional depth for the character.

The sounds

“Am I a Girl?” marks a significant change in atmosphere compared to previous releases. Songs are much more confident than “Poppy.Computer” and the composition has moved on from the internet-laced synths and sounds. However, this album seems to be stricken with some apocalyptic tendencies. Beginning with PC pop music, the album becomes clustered with elements of vaporwave, pop-rock and even French. It begins with some fun pop tunes and concludes with heavy metal.

The lyrics

Being a Poppy album, it’s not without its lyrical oddities. “Girls in Bikinis” paints a wacky picture of girls, in bikinis as the title promises, riding roller skates in outer space. The setting depicted in “The Rapture Ball” offers a party dubbed the cringy “best bang since the big one.” “Play Destroy” childishly dances around the featured musician Grimes dying which is promptly declared a “Hollywood moment.” The final track, “X,” screams out the lyrics “get me bloody” with a hellish growl and even “Chic Chick” beckons the listener to perform fellatio if they cannot handle Poppy’s elegance. It’s an entertaining chaos which ponders whether Poppy is adjusting well to society.

The heat

Following the album’s first interlude track, is its catchiest content. “Time is Up” is a melancholy commentary on how humanity is killing the planet. The song “Aristocrat” is a glittery tune depicting  posh scenes of eating cake with butter and champagne fountains. It alludes to an actual story surrounding Poppy sneaking into a secret celebrity party prior to fame.

The song “Hard Feelings” features some beautiful elementary French and some reflection into what Poppy represents. It suggests consumption of pop culture has left her feeling empty and lacking connection. In a more melancholy sense, it reminds the listener how little Poppy understands about her mechanical framework and the alienation she experiences.

After “Interlude 2,” which sounds like it came straight from an M83 record, the album gets heavy. The title track dances in with some jabs at gender stereotypes. It bursts with pop-rock guitar tones, guaranteed to get some head bops underway. “Play Destroy” actually features drop D tuning. It’s pretty humorous in concept alone. It takes on the media’s depiction of violence and death, snarling with over-the-top depictions of chaos and destruction.

The weak

While “Am I a girl?” explores new territories, in comparison to “Poppy.Computer,” the album strays further away from the Poppy character. While the trademark bright synths atop darker undertones remains, the outright surreal nature of “Poppy.Computer” feels more akin to her character. The Poppy formula seems a little more forced, lyrically speaking, and feels uncomfortable during certain parts of the album. It doesn’t operate as flawlessly as before.

Bow to your matriarch

Though “Poppy.Computer” remains the quintessential home for Poppy, “Am I a Girl?” offers a satisfying expansion on the Poppy project throughout its apocalyptic pop world. It’s a fun ride that will make your friends chuckle and parents confused. It explores different genres and surprises the listener with its ideas. The album proves the Poppy project can remain intriguing and hypnotic, both visually and sonically, wherever it goes.

Rating: 3/5

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