With the ‘I Disagree‘ LP coming January 10th, 2020, Poppy’s musical output has only quickened, and that reaches its next step with ‘Bloodmoney.’
‘Bloodmoney‘ is easily the least insufferable Poppy’s music has ever been, marred by some quite on-the-nose religious imagery and lyricism that’s very over-done. Instead of sounding like a lite version of Babymetal a la ‘Concrete‘ or the screeching, similar pop-metal of the titular ‘I Disagree‘ (the bored face the elderly label executive makes in that clip is exactly how I look when listening to their music), this song takes on a noisier, industrial feel. With a distorted, blaring electronic arrangement that is instrumentally akin to that of SOPHIE, Death Grips or Clipping, it’s something different, something better for this strange internet phenomenon. Though it is interesting that each era of Poppy seems to lift creative influence from other artists of the same time; the earlier material felt like a knock-off brand of Grimes.
Still, whenever Poppy comes up lately, I find it hard to focus on only the music, given the shady nature of how Poppy as an entity is operated. Before Moriah Rose – Poppy – had her current singer position, her director, Titanic Sinclair AKA Corey Mixter, worked with another female artist, Mars Argo, real name Brittany Sheets, earlier this decade. Poppy and Mars are art projects, and Titanic is the brains behind it all. With a romantic and working relationship with Mars, their work yielded a very similar image and aesthetic to what Poppy’s would later become, and in the last five years, have made eerily similar videos that reference or borderline copy the videos created with Mars earlier. (That plagiarisation accusation doesn’t hold much water, as both artists were curated by Titanic; more like the imagery, aesthetics, and videos masquerading as marketing are just his own style. This potentially indicates that he can only do one thing and is more or less artistically bankrupt.)
Yet when the relationship between Titanic and Mars ended, Titanic turned towards stalker and gaslighting tactics to control Mars; from breaking into her home, matters of theft and stolen copyright ownership, online harassment, and even an alleged but never proven instance of physical abuse towards Mars. Both this video from Primink and the Poppy saga playlist from Edwins Generation go into deeper details about both parties, their lawsuit, accusations made, and the settlement that was reached earlier in 2019. A settlement that resulted in Sheets fully owning the Mars Argo copyright (but receiving zero financial compensation or pay-out), each party legally forgoing any wrongdoing, and that Poppy/Titanic can never contact Sheets and can’t mention her in any way, publicly or online.
While some may deem it strange to bring that past lawsuit up here, I think it’s important to remember that intellectual property theft isn’t funny and to remind ourselves who’s pulling a lot of the strings behind Poppy; a seemingly manipulative and allegedly abusive man who also has a weird fetish for portraying extreme youth in his videos via the artists he works with. All the “quirky” clips and genre-mashing songs in the world won’t wash those stains out of the sheets. For an artist like Poppy, whose contrived aesthetic is to offer music industry critique and anti-celebrity commentary, they were ironically dragged into that same kind of music industry drama.
Anyway! If it’s your speed, listen to ‘Bloodmoney‘ below: