This past September saw the full release of Flux, dreamed of by artist Poppy and posted to a wide audience via Sumerian Records. The ideas that Poppy had in store for this album were brought to life by renowned producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (M83, Deafheaven, Jimmy Eat World) and the release was celebrated by a Roblox Listening Party on September 24-26. Poppy has had a fairly rewarding year in 2021, with March seeing her GRAMMY performance in celebration of her being the first solo female artist to ever receive the nomination of Best Metal Performance, her global livestream event The Last Disagreement in April, and having multiple appearances on WWE NXT.

Flux Album Cover Art

“Flux” the track was released on July 30, 2021, before the album’s full debut . It presents itself with a stunning collaborative video with Pip and Pop, and directed by Poppy herself. The video features Poppy roaming in a pastel dream-like world, surrounded by different 2D animated creatures in a 3D constructed area. The song holds a meaning of going with the flow, and not resisting the path that life lays out for you. As Poppy states, “You can’t oppose it, that’s just how it goes… You gotta flux and flow with it.”

“Lessen The Damage” is introduced by a lone racing guitar, then shortly followed by the equally fast-paced drum. The track features Poppy’s desire to hunt down those that have done her wrong, as she wishes for them to “lessen the damage,” damage that has already been done. In the lyrics “Leave her, don’t touch her, let me be the one to destruct her” Poppy speaks about herself, that she would rather be the one to put herself down, rather than anyone else.

“So Mean,” another track that premiered prior to the album, being released on August 25, 2021, also contains a music video that was self directed by Poppy. Poppy and her accompanying band play the song in a rather small house that features one room. The band consists of two guitarists, a drummer, and herself, in pink and doll-like attire. A question that is asked throughout the track is “how did she get so mean?” The answer is “she” (Poppy) became mean through self-respect for herself. Fed up with mistreatment, Poppy confesses in the lyrics that “‘you’ taught me how to hate myself.”

“On The Level” plays around with a catchy beat that no one can resist nodding their head to. In the song, Poppy relishes in the fact of how she has found someone “on the level,” someone that she can “put [her] heart out on display” for. The chorus and its feature of layered vocals is a satisfying experience that anyone can enjoy.

“Hysteria” slowly builds up with easier-going instrumentals into powerful lyrics that showcase the ugly truth of real life emotions. Specifically, the lines “I can’t contain my emotions, there’s no box big enough to hold them” unveils just how dreadful and overwhelming keeping your emotions closed off from others can be. The song ends with desperate whispers of the word “hysteria,” and mimics the tone that someone would use when crying for help.

“Her” contains the third music video of the album, and first premiered on June 30, 2021. Directed by Chris Ullens, “Her” is completely shot in stop-motion animation, and tells a bizarre story of musical dolls being created to satisfy an overarching ruler. The dolls are disposed of when the ruler looses interest in them, and new dolls are made immediately after the old ones are destroyed. The song is the perfect background for the video, as Poppy also speaks of being discarded, with lines such as “say she’s adored, call her a whore, then pick her up, throw her on the floor.”

“Bloom” introduces Poppy’s soft and angelic voice almost immediately, and the clashing of it against the spikes of hair-raising guitar is quite the unique experience. The track is about living up to expectations set too high by our society, and we can see this in the beginning lyrics, being “why did I try to grow up faster, cause now I feel untimely pressure, still everyday trying to be better.” The introduction of piano in the chorus will catch even the most experienced music geek off guard. Overall, the track is a fun and thrilling ride.

“As Strange As It Seems” is as hypnotic as it is meaningful. In the song, Poppy explains of how she goes from being the passenger in a speeding car with someone who had no regard for her, to being the driver with no regard for herself. She questions why this has happened in the lines “what did I get me into, why did I let you into me.” The revelation is bone-chilling, “As Strange As It Seems” is most definitely one of Poppy’s more melancholy pieces.

“Never Find My Place” is the epitome of the phrase ‘last but not least.’ Gentle yet packed with emotion, the song speaks of taking back the space in your life from those who wrongfully took it from you. The psychedelic atmosphere this track brings is an outstanding conclusion to an already superb album. The impact left by the opening line of the chorus, being “pick up the gun and run, take what’s mine and get my space” is heavily apparent.

Overall, Flux is a golden star on the history of Poppy as a musician. How she puts a renewed focus on a stream-lined songwriting approach that puts her voice at the foreground is unlike anything that has been heard before, and is truly a treat to anyone’s ears. You can access the entirety of Poppy’s album, her grand masterpiece, here:

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