Sounds Like: Off-kilter, high-intensity pop from a 21st-century microstar
For Fans of: Robyn, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, ASMR videos
Why You Should Pay Attention: The highly stylized, slightly creepy videos of That Poppy began appearing on YouTube in 2014, awash in millennial pink and featuring the super-kawaii personality engaging in compulsive, odd behaviors like eating cotton candy and uttering "I'm Poppy" repeatedly. In 2015, she released the breezy "Lowlife," and followed it up with the intricately wrought Bubblebath EP and the intentionally soporific 3:36 (Music to Sleep To). Poppy.computer, her URL-advertising debut, came out in October; on it, the now-mononymic Poppy's light-as-a-MacBook-Air voice darts through motorik rhythms and 8-bit bursts while trilling simple mantras about fame and the curiosities that come along with online life and hypertargeted fame. It's one of the most surprising pop albums of the year, pushing against the written-by-committee blandness of Top-40's offerings with effervescent hooks and deliberate weirdness – as evidenced by the billboard of her wide-eyed visage gracing Times Square, which garnered props from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
She Says: "I've always played music my entire life, so it's just a part of me. … I like Michael Jackson a lot, and Elvis, and Madonna. I'm filling a void – probably the pop star void, because Lady Gaga isn't doing it anymore. Pop music on the radio is boring, so I don't want to be boring. It's really slow, and everyone always whispers a lot instead of using their voice to sing. … I just want to make pop music great again."
Hear for Yourself: "I'm Poppy," the lead track from Poppy.computer, transforms Poppy's most notorious YouTube clip into an electropop manifesto. Maura Johnston