20 Best Pop Albums of 2017

Kesha, Harry, Taylor and more of the year in hooks

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Poppy, 'Poppy.Computer'
20
18/20

18. Poppy, 'Poppy.Computer'

The Poppy "project" began as a series of high-concept, low-fuss YouTube clips that focused on a wide-eyed woman who made compulsive behavior (eating cotton candy, saying "I'm Poppy" for ten minutes, interviewing a plant) absolutely compelling. Her perhaps inevitable evolution into a pop star began in 2015 and crests with Poppy.Computer, which adds her airy voice to hyper-stylized, detail-rich gloss-pop. "Bleach Blonde Baby" skewers male expectations over luscious synths; "Software Upgrade" views a bad boyfriend as a computer that needs to be rebooted, icy keyboards zigzagging around Poppy's litany of demands. "Pop music on the radio is boring, so I don't want to be boring," Poppy told Rolling Stone this fall. Poppy.Computer's off-kilter recounting of microcelebrity, hiccuping vocals and intricate production help her neatly avoid that fate. M.J.

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