Before Billie Eilish, there was Poppy. In honor of spooky season, the single “X” is the embodiment of music so bipolar it’s frightening, which makes it the perfect song to celebrate this year’s national spooky day.
From Poppy’s second studio album Am I a Girl?, “X” was the fifth single to be released from the record just a few days prior to the full album release on Oct. 31, 2018. Poppy has been singing professionally since 2013 and has changed her sound from catchy pop songs to screamo heavy metal. What a twist. Despite the drastic change in sound, it feels as if Poppy was destined to become a BABYMETAL/Beatles love child.
Most heavy metal songs don’t open with lyrics of peace, love and happiness, but Poppy’s does. The opening lyrics to “X” are “I wanna love everyone / Empty every bullet out of every gun / Please take me back to where we began.” Accompanied by luscious harmonies and a slow strumming acoustic guitar, you have a song that sounds like it came straight out of the summer of love.
Then, suddenly, it’s over. The rhythm picks up and reality kicks in, and now you’re worried about what you got yourself into. Screeching guitars, pounding drums and screamo background singers, all the while Poppy is still singing with her angelic voice the words, “Get me, get me bloody, please get me bloody / You can get down on your knees if you’re naughty.”
Next, with a heavily distorted 808 kick, the song transitions to a small trap bridge and segues to a shredding guitar solo, because it wouldn’t be a heavy metal song without one. For the last verse of the song, we get the best of both worlds we didn’t even know we wanted. The last verse combines the happy hippie lyrics with the bloodthirsty heavy metal sound, perfectly blending the split personalities. The song ends on a happy note, “Maybe you can save the world / For every boy and every girl… Take me back to the place where we began.”
The music video matches the dichotomy of the song. The verses that sing about peace and happiness now have a feeling of uneasiness when paired with the video. Poppy and her bandmates are dressed in all white with matching emblems that eerily resemble the Illuminati. Now, this is not to say that Poppy is in the Illuminati, but the scene feels cult-like, which can go hand-in-hand with the ’60s sound the band is emulating and actual cults that were popular during that time. The rest of the video is as dark as the lyrics, with Poppy either having the radiating glow of an angel or being completely drenched in blood.
Poppy does have new music on the way. The recently released title track for her forthcoming album I Disagree features the same pop-metal elements as “X.” It goes to show that Poppy’s musical evolution is something very interesting and something deserving to be watched.
Featured image by J. Simpson; retrieved from We Are The Guard.