Melanie Martinez makes a return after her debut album, Crybaby with the follow up LP, K-12. It is a continuation of Martinez’s character Crybaby as she heads to school whilst dealing with the fact that she has special abilities . K-12 discusses serious topics such as bullying, eating disorders, body insecurities, and politics. The visuals for the sophomore album is a juxtaposition of pastels colours and dark storylines.
Wheels on the bus is the first single of the LP and it incorporated the bus sounds from the nursery rhymes of the same title. In the video of the song, Crybaby goes on a bus to K-12 Sleepaway School with the other students. During the journey, she witnessed them smoking, misbehaving, and bullying her whilst the driver is distracted of what is happening behind him instead of focusing on the road. Her crush board on the bus and locked eyes with him, until Kelly noticed and he pushed Crybaby to sat next to his girlfriend.
Crybaby was comforted by her friend Angelita afterwards. Even though I enjoyed the single, it sounds better without the sound effects to make less tedious in terms of the song itself.
In Class Fight, Crybaby confronted Kelly because she was jealous about her relationship with her boyfriend, Brandon. The single also showcased how, women in the industry compete each other to prove who is the better, or most popular music artist in terms of album sales, awards, and sold out concert venues.
The Principal is about Trump and how he is disgrace to America in terms of treating people who are transgender and telling young, innocent children to die to get his own way. In the film, Crybaby overheard a conversation between the Principal of Sleepaway School and Ms. Harper about her transition from male to female. He didn’t accept her choice and fired her.
Crybaby found out through another student, Thomas that the Principal uses pills on students to control them. She uses her power to confront the Principal about the cruel things he is doing, and turned his drink into poison to make him unconscious.
The old white men in the scene, represented the government in America and everything that they stand for.
Show and Tell have a similar correlation to Martinez’s Dollhouse where Crybaby is being controlled as a puppet with her teacher, Ms. Penelope pulling the strings and everyone in class cheering for her.
Also, the single portrays Martinez life in the spotlight and how her fans crave her attention in any way possible. She mentioned that, being in the music industry can get exhausting, and how celebrities and musicians are people too which her fans who follow her career can sometimes forget.
Transitioning from Show and Tell to Nurse’s Office, where Crybaby ended up going to the Nurse’s office with Angelita after being bullied at show and tell. She tried to convince the Nurse to send her home because she was tired of the way the students were treating her, and wanted a excuse to ditch school.
She always made attempts to end up at the Nurse’s office by pretending to be sick. But, the teacher was ignorant about her excuses and tell Crybaby to stay in class; even though, all she wanted is to leave or sit somewhere else because the person at the back always cuts her hair off.
In Drama Club, Crybaby gets judged by the people around her because she trying live her life and her dreams. Also, how she is fed up of them hiding behind their scripts. The single brings out a political stand point of what is currently happening in society, which I find interesting about the single.
Strawberry Shortcake is about young girls should continually make attempts to look attractive to get a guy to notice them which makes the girls insecure about themselves. Melanie mentioned in the single, that sometimes she feels at fault for drawing in attention towards men, which can lead to victim blaming.
Orange juice discusses how we have to look a certain way and trying to sculpt the “perfect body”. In the film, it shows Fleur a former friend of Kelly struggling with bulimia. Crybaby found her in the bathroom and tell Fleur that she is okay in the way that she looks and that people should not care especially if she *literally looks through Crybaby’s eyes, which portrays in the film.
The single brings up the similar message in Mrs. Potato Head on how we turn to plastic surgery to fit the standard appearance in modern society. However, at the end of it all, we accept our flaws and be comfortable in our skin.
Lunchbox Friends is about trying to make friends at school without having a close bond with them, or being used for their own personal gain. Which also highlights in Detention. Martinez mention in the single, how people use her because she makes money and don’t really care about her feelings as well. The message in Detention also brings up how celebrities and people are being treated when they are struggling with mental health issues.
Teacher’s Pet showcases, Angelita having an relationship with her teacher hoping that is something serious. The only fact is that the teacher is just using her, and wondering if she should kept their relationship with each other a secret.
The album slows down, with melodic and bass driven single High School Sweethearts. Towards the end of K-12, Crybaby gets a letter from her locker, which is written by someone anonymously and this is around the time is finishing her final years at school as a fully grown teenager.
She also mentioned that, if someone truly loves her they have to accept her quirks, and if they don’t they should stop wasting her time. Especially, the fact not all high school romances last a long time.
K-12 ends with the beautiful vocal ballad, Recess. The message of the song is about trying to maintain yourself and your wellbeing.
Overall, I like the visuals of the album and how it ties the singles together. However, the music itself sounds similar to each other and there isn’t any songs that stood out from the rest. Even though, K-12 is worth repeated listens as a whole LP, it didn’t leave a strong impression like Martinez’s debut Crybaby.
View Melanie Martinez profile on Musik Lemon: https://musiklemon.com/melanie-martinez.html
Check out her music on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/63yrD80RY3RNEM2YDpUpO8?si=Q79-TcrYR5K84NFHMKuUyA