Review: Poppy – Am I a Girl? (Mad Decent, Oct 31)

On Halloween we were rewarded with a spooky surprise: a new Poppy album. Some of you may be aware of Moriah Rose Pereira’s bizarre online persona and surreal Youtube videos, but it honestly might be better to go into Am I a Girl? without knowing anything about her. The opening quartet of tracks, spearheaded by the saccharine grooves of “In a Minute,” are all first-class electropop songs. Poppy’s cutesy, bubblegum vocals are commanding and infectiously catchy, and coupled with the sleek synthy production the album is off to a irresistibly danceable start. For the most part, the Poppy character isn’t at the forefront of most of the songs, making Am I a Girl? a more universal record than its predecessor Poppy.Computer, but fans looking for Poppy’s satirical bite and uncanny valley-ness will still be satisfied. The two instrumental interludes divide the album roughly into thirds, and segue between dance floors with some pretty enthralling soundscapes. They’re short and I’m not surprised they don’t get as much focus as the main songs, but they’re also an example of how adventurous Am I a Girl? gets; but nothing can prepare for the final trio of songs. The title track sees Poppy singing unexpectedly poignant musings about gender over some of the album’s best production, and gives us an amazing anthem chorus complete with meaty alt metal guitars. “Play Destroy” dials up the metal even more and makes me long for a Poppy/Grimes collaboration. Along with the massive closer “X” there are countless crazy whiplash style changes that are just so much fun. I really want a whole album of this insane metal-pop combination but Am I a Girl? gives me nothing to complain about.