Melanie Martinez returns with a new album
By Viviana Bravo
After a four year hiatus, Melanie Martinez has released a new thirteen track album titled K-12 including a film with the same title.The film is based on the entire album and can be bought with the album it’s also available to stream for free on Youtube. Similar to her previous album Crybaby, K-12 follows the character, Crybaby, who’s navigating school life at the boarding school, K-12. The album hides a darker side behind innocent song titles similar to Melanie Martinez’s previous album, Crybaby.
The first track from K-12 is “Wheels on the Bus” which describes Crybaby’s experience on the bus as she witnesses her classmates smoking as they fool around while the only supervising adult turns a blind eye. This song itself is cheery, almost bubbly, as the rhythm of the song follows the nursery rhyme with the same name. In the background of the song, the sound of engines can be heard, not to mention the melody remains the same until the bridge where it slows down as the sound of brakes are heard.
“Class Fight” is the following track that describes a fight between Crybaby and her classmate, Kelly, after Crybaby witnessed Kelly kiss the boy she liked. Similar to the previous track it has bubbly tune until Crybaby questions whether she should give up her “one true love.” The chorus reflects Crybaby’s turmoil as the instrumentals loses it’s bubbliness becoming more serious especially as the vocals for “Go for the throat” become deeper.
In the film, the principal is among one of the many antagonists; in the track “The Principal,” it gives insight into Crybaby’s dislike of her principal who doesn’t care for his students and only cares for money. Throughout the track the sound of a telephone can be heard including the sound of dramatic instrumentals. The lyrics, “the principal” and “earning” are the only lyrics to have a deeper sound.
The next track, “Show and Tell” displays how Crybaby feels like a puppet being controlled by society being used for other people’s entertainment. This is true in the film where, Crybaby literally becomes a puppet where she is played with until she drops. In the pre-chorus the vocals have more desperate sound especially in the lyrics, “Why is it so hard to see?” Compared to the rest of the track which has angrier vocals as she mentions being a “product to society.”
Martinez’s next track “Strawberry Shortcake” describes women’s struggle with the expectation of the perfect body and how women are blamed for men sexualizing them, “that’s my bad, no one taught them not to grab.” In the film it shows boys eagerly grabbing “cake” from Crybaby as she unable to stop them. While the track begins with Crybaby blaming herself for causing attention, as she proclaims, “It’s my fault, it’s my fault” it ends with her blaming society for not teaching men not to sexualize women.
“High School Sweethearts” is about finding someone that wants a serious relationship comparing it to highschool love which usually doesn’t last. Crybaby wants someone who can handle her and really love her. The track begins softly almost like a serenade, focusing on her vocals as she sings about how this person must know she’s looking for the real deal. The track slowly transition to a much faster tempo as she list the requirements for this person to love her.
While these are just a few tracks from the album, it demonstrates Melanie Martinez growth not only as an adult but as an artist who’s able to sing about a range of topics that aren’t really discussed. Despite, her four year hiatus, Martinez proves how she can still remain relevant and this album is her proof. (5/5)