January 30, 2019 Playlist

That Poppy

"Bubblebath" EP by That Poppy (2016)
That Poppy "Bubblebath" EP  2016 (USA)
Perhaps the weirdest millenial girl pop singer of them all, in a few short years Poppy (originally known as "That Poppy") has grown from an obscure wannabe pop star on Youtube to the most notorious pop star parody in the history of the Interweb. Though in terms of actual popularity (obviously a key metric in "pop(ular)" music), her songs remain obscure to the general public - she's more like "indie rock famous" than actually "famous". But this is not indie rock, it is definitely POP music - which is supposed to be ephemeral, "not art", trendy, shallow, disposable noise for the undiscriminating lowest common denominator (teenagers!) But like Andy Warhol's soup cans and brillo pads, sometimes disposable junk can become art. "Poppy" is often described as a project, rather than a person: Moriah Pereira (age 21 when Bubblebath was released) is the singer/actress who portrays the character Poppy, while "Titanic Sinclair" (real name Corey Mixter) is usually credited as co-creator (he tours with her and co-writes some songs, but his main contribution is directing those infamous Poppy videos). Poppy is a blend of so many odd themes and trends - click the album cover to the left for an explainer video - but some of them include: 1) viral meme generator (and spoofer), 2) social commentator by way of parody, 3) legit pop singer/songwriter (this EP was released on the major label Island Records), 4) Satanic cult victim (or cult leader?), 5) tool (or critic?) of capitalism, 6) J-Pop-style character (Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's American ripoff--err, "cousin"), 7) CIA brainwashing experiment?, 8) sortof-transgender gay rights champion?, 9) secret totem of the "alt-right"?, 10) practioner of ASMR (her ultra-soft, feminine, breathy voice), 11) a poor kid who left her broken home in Tennessee at age 15 and ran off to Hollywood as soon as she was out of high school, 12) a robot, or Artifical Intellgence, or magically animated mannequin?, 13) just plain creepy! The Illuminati and Project Monarch also figure in there too. All very interesting - but what about Poppy music? So far her three major releases (this EP followed by two albums in 2017 and 2018) have all featured well-written, extremely catchy songs with lyrics that have progressed from the haunting semi-autobiographical debut (this week's CAOTW), to zeitgeisty Internet culture parody on POPPY.COMPUTER (one of the funniest comedy-music albums released in decades), to building up her metanarrative in interesting ways on the most recent Am I A Girl? album (which also added a dose of heavy metal to her previous dancepop and techno stylings). One of the intriguing contradictions of Poppy is that the character dresses like a Barbie doll (J-Pop edition) and speaks in a spacy, robotic monotone, but as a singer her voice conveys plenty of power and human emotion. Unlike the aforementioned Ms. Pamyu Pamyu (who doesn't play any musical instruments, write any of her music or lyrics, and probably needs AutoTune to sing), Ms. Pereira has been a co-writer of every Poppy song released so far and on her 2019 tour she's even playing guitar with her band - so she is an actual musician and not "just an actress." There's been a tremendous amount of breadth and growth across her three releases so far, and each record has managed to blow away whatever expectations her audience might have had from the previous one - besides layering mysteries on rumours upon enigmas (though perhaps it's all parody and bullshit), she also maintains interest through the sheer "what will she do next?!" factor.
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year Country
The Sex PistolsJohnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry)
   / Roadrunner (The Modern Lovers)
The Great Rock & Roll Swindle1978UK
Sonic YouthEric's TripDaydream Nation1988USA
Matching MoleNan's True Hole / Righteous Rhumba / Brandy As In BenjLittle Red Record1972UK
Unknown Mortal Orchestra Hanoi 2IC-01 Hanoi (N)2018 (Jagjaguwar)New Zealand
Free KittenCall Back (Episode XXI)Nice Ass1994USA/Japan
The Fiery FurnacesChief Inspector BlancheflowerBlueberry Boat2004USA
MV & EE & The Golden RoadSweet PeopleGettin' Gone2007USA
The Free DesignI'm A YogiStar Time Bubbles Love1970USA
OOIOOGamel Ninna YamaGamel2014Japan
PoppyLowlifeBubblebath EP
Poppy Aristocrat (featuring Garibay)Am I A Girl? (N)2018 (Mad Decent/I'm Poppy)USA
PoppyAmerican KidsBubblebath EP
Haru NemuriSayonara Baby Pink ("Goodbye Baby Pink")Atom Heart Mother EP2017Japan
Haru Nemuri Utopia (acoustic version of Kick In The World)Kick In The World single (N)2018 (Perfect)Japan
Kyary Pamyu PamyuPin Pon Ga Nannai ("I Don't Have Any Ping Pong " - sic??)Moshi Moshi Harajuku EP ("Hello Harajuku")2011Japan
Gary NumanM.E.The Pleasure Principle1979UK
KraftwerkMetropolisDie Mensch-Machine1978Germany
The OrbBlue Room (live)Live '931993UK
Pink FloydUs And Them
   / Any Colour You Like
The Dark Side Of The Moon1973UK
StereolabTone BurstTransient Random Noise-Bursts With Announcements1993UK/France
SuicideHarlemSuicide (Second Album)1980USA
Patrick GleesonThe Tatooine Desert (John Williams)Patrick Gleeson's Star Wars1977USA
Herbie Hancock (with Patrick Gleeson)Rain DanceSextant1972USA
Wendy CarlosWinterSonic Seasonings1972USA
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