Words made famous on YouTube by a diminutive girl who seemed to be a construct of an American girl by kawaii scientists. The mystique of Poppy as an artist went so deep, it was hard to make out if she was serious, if this was all a joke (The mentioned video has her repeating that phrase for TEN minutes).
When Poppy’s album, Poppy.Computer was released, some understanding of the artifice became apparent. Whatever she is, Poppy is a concept greater than what was witnessed on YouTube. Poppy.Computer was a clever piece of meta pop art that hammered ideas about technology and the internet. While not sung with diva quality vocals, the hooks on her début were clear.
Her latest album, Am I A Girl questions gender and identity, while still staring down some of the same themes of Poppy.Computer. There’s not a drastic shift in music on Am I A Girl, but the songwriting is more solid and includes a total jam collab with Diplo. With a graphic novel and another album being released this year, Poppy is touring in support of Am I A Girl for the remainder of February. This included a stop at the Danforth, where she showcased the current album as well as Poppy.Computer and a couple interesting covers. Flanked by a three-piece band dressed in black jumpsuits, white face paint and blond wigs, they all took the symmetrically designed stage to pulsating lights and smoke. Unlike the majority of Poppy’s songs being carved from the electro genre, the band edged much more toward a pop punk and even metal band. While there were backing tracks for some synth parts and vocals, this was a rock show that few fans expected. Opening with the latest album’s title track, Poppy strummed along almost stock still. She played through a selection of her album cuts and then played an unusual cover, Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2. Played well enough, it didn’t really sit well in the set, to me. Time Is Up, the Diplo-penned single followed but lacked the pop polish played by a rock band opposed to the electronic recording. A three-song encore ended the night with the trio of Pop Music, played solo on guitar by Poppy, followed by the second cover of the night, The Cranberries’ Dreams and finally the schizophrenic X that leaps back and forth from Babymetalesque stomp and Summer of Love croon. Studying the canon of Poppy, the final song was perhaps the perfect closer.