Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Poppy Robbie - "Heartbreak Scenario"/"Twist and Pout"

When we last checked in with the great Poppy Robbie, he had just released his excellent roots/Americana record The Troubled Times of Samuel Heck. Like everyone else on the planet, Robbie has had some time on his hands lately. So he's been dusting off some old recordings to share with the world via his Bandcamp page. "Be My Valentine" is the most recent of the bunch. It originally appeared on an extremely limited edition Valentine's Day collection released in 2008. And by "extremely limited edition", I mean he made exactly one copy to give to his then-girlfriend (now wife) as a gift. I suppose we can conclude that this was an extremely successful release! I'm not sure if Robbie will ever make a proper pop-punk record again, but you can hear hints of the old form on this track. I have tremendous admiration for anyone who's willing to take a song this personal and private and put it up on the Internet where literally billions of people have access to it. And a song as sweet and sincere as this one is exactly what I need at this moment in time. "Twist and Pout" is a track from 2007, which of course was re-recorded last year for the Samuel Heck EP. Robbie himself says that this version is better and more fun than the newer one. How do I say I agree without sounding like the typical jerk who only likes Robbie's "old stuff"? I dig the lo-fi '50s rock and roll vibe here. Robbie is great at channeling his inner Buddy Holly, and you'll find the lyrics hilariously on-point if you've ever played live music in front of an entirely disinterested crowd. "Heartbreak Scenario" dates all the way back to 2004. If I recall correctly, Robbie posted it online and I may have made some kind of smart-ass remark about this being the best song Elvis Costello had done in years. Was I wrong?

One really cool thing about this digital age of music is that you can unearth old songs and essentially "repackage" them virtually. Even for a song you're just going to download or stream, it's kind of cool that cover art still matters and is a big part of the overall package. For someone artistically inclined like Poppy Robbie, the cover designs for these new old tracks must have been half the fun. I've gotta say they're really sharp! Downloads are a dollar each and well worth it. If you know Robbie, go harass him right now about re-recording his pop smash "Still Bored on the Weekend"! And if you don't know him? Just ask nicely.


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