The year is 2056, some 23 year old dickweed is posting a "restoration" of a vintage iron label rgd. They are ecstatic as they sand through a beautifully done metallic silver refin from 2029 to find the original poplar burl veneer still intact underneath!
Most trends get annoying because the market gets saturated with that option (in this case poplar burl) and we lose diversity in aesthetics, so I think its understandable to get fed up with the trend.
That said, I really like poplar burl. At the same time, sometimes it looks good on a guitar and sometimes it doesn't, just like a quilt or a flame or a solid color, etc.
I have one guitar with a poplar burl top (veneer--as most are) and I like it. Personally my favorite poplar burls are the ones with lots of flamey figuring and fewer 'brown' spots; but again, it depends on the overall aesthetics of the guitar.
Yeah, they never appealed to me. For me it's for guitar players that want to express "look at my guitar" rather than "look/listen to what I play". That's not exclusive to burl guitars though. Most over the top-guitars make me feel that way.
Poplar burl is the 2010s equivalent to flame&quilted maple (plus abalone) of the 2000s. The next thing for the 2020s will be whatever is cool now with modern custom guitars (fanned frets are gaining traction). And whatever will become cool with custom guitars in the near future will be the trend of the 2030s.
Actually nicely figured poplar burl with a tasty finish looks good. Same with pretty much any kind of figured wood. But the mass of low quality/less figured cheap veneers with low quality finishes ruins pretty much everything.
The majority of the poplar burls and buckeye burls are underwhelming, but if you're willing to spend the money on a custom shop instrument, they can be mesmerizing with choice tops. The top on the wasabi regius in my avatar is eye poplar and looks incredible in person and photos. I'll agree with the others that say solid colors and more "activity" keep things aesthetically pleasing. The tortilla-berg posted in the funny guitar threads is an example of what gives this option a bad name.