Thursday, November 14th, 2019

Poppy – Bloodmoney

Is she still poppy?


Ian Mathers: I’m sorry, did we need an “edgy”, pop-metal Grimes? 

Alex Clifton: I have never wanted to hear the Kidz Bop version of a song more in my life.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: 13 year old me would have loved “Bloodmoney” for its sheer abrasiveness, and loved Poppy for trolling everyone by making a mockery of the “robot girl” trope in pop music. (Watch this interview and tell me she’s not having a hard time staying in character.) I’m in my 20s now though, and this is just grating. 

Kylo Nocom: The project surrounding Poppy remains as empty in subtlety as it always has been. “Bloodmoney” is, thankfully, less committed to her trite “pop chorus/scary metal verses” formula and instead finds a nice little Sleigh Bells-sized niche, a more consistent rush than what she’s been delivering for years. But the clunker of “Jesus the Christ” exposes this as yet more novelty, if one that Poppy is eager to embrace with increasing sincerity. The same issue here is that of “Only Acting” from last year: once the shock wears off, where’s the song?

Katie Gill: This is Poppy doubling down on everything that didn’t work for “Play Destroy.” This is Poppy going “no guys, I’m DEEP now, I’m using cross imagery!” This is Poppy taking a look at Billie Eilish’s genre shift to Hot Topic-core and going “huh, you know what, I can top that.” She’s certainly making a statement about something, and considering that Poppy’s career has been one long shitpost, the jury’s still out on if she actually believes whatever statement she’s attempting to make. At least for me, that statement is ‘Poppy needs to fire her sound mixer.’

Natasha Genet Avery: It’s hard to believe that Poppy and Sinclair have been working on a ~critique of fame in the internet age~ for 6+ years and the hottest take they can muster is “what do you believe when no one is around?” “Bloodmoney” uses metal signifiers (occult album art! Screaming! distortion! Christian symbolism!) as a smokescreen for the vacuousness of its “if a tree falls” stoner philosophizing. I’m bored.

Katherine St Asaph: What, and I mean this in the most admiring way, the unadulterated fuck is this? “Bloodmoney” is crass and cringe and colossal, and sounds like nothing and everything else. Obviously in the hopper there’s Sleigh Bells and Grimes and Marilyn Manson and Depeche Mode (the “grabbing hands” line), but I also hear Katie Gately (particularly “Tuck”), EMA, “Naughty Girl,” Digital Daggers and everyone who sounds like Digital Daggers, rock as extrapolated from “Stronger,” rock as extrapolated from Charli XCX had she followed up “Nuclear Seasons” with more “Nuclear Seasons” rather than dancepop for hypebeasts, Stand Alone Complex, Kay Hanley (the way Poppy’s voice breaks after each line of the outro) that half-a-year in 2013 where everything had dubstep breaks, Jesus Christ Superstar as adapted by 100 Gecs because why not? This is a vivid, crucial part of my musical taste, it all rules, and it rules even more when it intersects with currently popular artists. (The fact that I’m giving “Bloodmoney” an [8] despite Poppy’s career growing rapidly less cosignable by the month is probably one of those things I believe when nobody is watching.)

Alfred Soto: Kings of Leon, you’ve got competition in the riff department. As subtle as a cinder block, “Bloodmoney” squeezes and stretches the guitars and Poppy without much danger of coalescing. First impressions matter. 

Edward Okulicz: The first two minutes of “Bloodmoney” are, honestly, atrocious. Poppy’s metal gimmick not only fails to paper over the lack of songcraft on offer, it actually exacerbates how there’s nothing going on here. Yet the music is still less abrasive than her screeching vocals. Then something weird happens: the last minute has a monstrous guitar solo that is actually pretty great, and the repeated “what do you believe, when no-one is around” to close is a weird mix of mocking, accusatory and defeated that suggests Poppy might be more than a post-modern musical troll milking a bad idea. Broken clocks, you know.

Will Adams: After spending the past year grinding her gimmick of “wow isn’t it interesting how the chorus is all metal while the verse is twee???” six feet below the dirt, Poppy actually releases something that sounds great: grinding and shrieking and stomping industrial, something that could fit on the Year Zero remix album. The lyrics, as usual, say less than they think, asking probing questions and gesturing vaguely (it’s telling that the most evocative line is a Depeche Mode quote). But the gripping arrangement says plenty by itself.

Isabel Cole: Very nice to know eighth graders still have new music to score their trips to Hot Topic. For adults, there are two lines of a nice enough refrain here, a hint of menace prettily sung, and I even sort of appreciate in its dumb brashness the shouty bit, even though I have no idea what we’re to make of “beg for forgiveness from Jesus to Christ.” Then the squelching starts.

Reader average: [5] (4 votes)

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4 Responses to “Poppy – Bloodmoney”

  1. also considered: letters to cleo’s “rim shak” (too classic rock, but the joke about the title “rim shak” certainly is in the spirit”; perfume tree, but everything reminds me of that; jane jensen, but she falls under the digital daggers umbrella maybe

  2. Her articulation of “Jesus the Christ” is straight out of Propr Boyz’ “Jesus Christ” and it’s interfering with my ability to form an opinion about this song.

  3. ok now review “i disagree”

  4. beg for forgiveness from jesus h. christ

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