Poppy mixes high fashion, digital technology, and camp into viral-ready pop | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Poppy mixes high fashion, digital technology, and camp into viral-ready pop 

click to enlarge Poppy


courtesy the artist

Poppy is the patron saint of the extremely online: a pop star who never pretends to be anything other than an Internet-inspired construct. With her high-fashion-meets-Silicon-Valley aesthetic and a persona that seems part robot, part alien, and part algorithm turned flesh, she toes the line between art-house experiment and modern-fame meme through her heavily produced songs and bizarre YouTube videos. But though Poppy might strike some as satirical, her music comes off as pretty earnest. Her surprisingly mainstream electro-bops would fit in well on a playlist with tracks from pop cool girls Charli XCX and Kim Petras, and she also loves a little camp: in the video for the song “Computer Boy" she croons, “I fell in love with the man of the future / I’ve got a thing for my laptop computer” while surrounded by masked men holding desktop monitors. In contrast, her viral YouTube videos feel like something Andy Warhol might have produced if he’d had access to a Vine account: Poppy eating four ring pops at once, Poppy reciting the lyrics to Camila Cabello’s “Havana” in her signature ASMR baby voice, Poppy listing places people can go to share their outrage online before staring wide-eyed into the camera and announcing, “We’re having so much fun on the Internet.” To love Poppy is to be in on the joke. On her previous tour, her friend Charlotte—an actual mannequin—opened each night with a “DJ set." In an era of social-media scammers and Fyre fraudsters, Poppy’s calculated shallowness comes as a relief. No need to look past the surface—she’s the shiny, seductive oil slick sitting on top.   v

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