Melanie Martinez impresses fans with album and film


Anneliese Olivo, Entertainment Editor

After 4 years of musical silence, Melanie Martinez is back in the spotlight with her new album and a supporting feature-length film titled K-12. On Sept. 6, Melanie Martinez released her second album along with a film that was based around the album which included musical numbers to all of her new songs.

In an interview with PeopleTV, Martinez expressed how K-12 was “intended to show how school is a condensed version of life.” The film itself shows kids at a school who are trapped there and are being controlled by the principal and self-inflicted problems. In the film, Martinez plays a persona called Crybaby from her previous album. She has special powers that enable her to set the kids free and destroy the school.

In some ways, K-12 is a continuation of her Crybaby album except that the songs are more focused on school life. On her first album Crybaby, Martinez mostly wrote about the challenges of family relationships and her struggles with self-confidence, which are relatable subjects that her fans loved about her music. The K-12 album uses some of the same observational styles to help students realize what is really going on around them and what they can do to change it.

Compared to her Crybaby album, Martinez has seemed to explore new sounds for her music. She is known for her electro-pop sound in her Crybaby album. And although K-12 does show some electro-pop aspects to it, this album opens up musically because it also shows other musical genres such as low-key hip-hop, soulful pop, and indie leaning electro.

Her aesthetic when it comes to old music videos and this new film is quite similar. Her music still has the same theme of talking about real-life situations or problems, which is what brings her audience into her music.

Martinez is one of a handful of artists that have attempted to make a full movie that accompanies an album release.

Micheal Jackson and Beyonce have made short films or long music videos for their songs. But Martinez deserves some recognition for being innovative to promote her music by making a well-produced one and a half hour movie supported by her record label Atlantic Records. This level of creativity in promotion is rare today.

Some fans were confused as to what Martinez was really releasing. They thought it would just be music videos or a short film. But when she released the film on YouTube fans saw that it was an actual long film with dialogue, music, and a storyline within the film.

Each song on her K-12 album has a special meaning that talks about real-life problems and struggles kids face in school and will still possibly face in the real world as well.

For example, the track “Orange Juice” talks about body image and the things teenagers do to look “normal.” In this track, she explains anorexia by describing how a girl she knows turns oranges into orange juice, meaning she would eat oranges and throw them up later.

Which this topic ties in a song called “Strawberry Shortcake” where she expresses how she isn’t sure why she looks the way she does at first. And how having a nice body is a competition with the other girls. But she also mentions how boys treat her differently in an inappropriate way but taking the blame because they were never taught to not do those things. Along with how puberty hit, therefore, making her body look more mature which makes the boys at school react in the wrong way.

In the film, with each song that she sings throughout it, she is playing out a scene where she or another person she knows is going through the specific things she talks about in her songs. This helps the audience get a better visual of what message Martinez wanted to get across to everyone. Martinez uses a lot of figurative language in her songs but throughout the album, she is also very straight forward about the topic she is singing about.

Melanie Martinez

In the film, she also shows scenes where kids express their freedom in schools. For example, one scene showed the students standing up for the pledge of allegiance while one student stayed seated. Martinez did this to show that students have a choice on whether they choose to stand for the pledge or not, which is something schools and their staff expect us to do every day as a sign of respect.

At the end of the film, after Crybaby destroys the school and sets the students free but when the time comes to go back with her friends into whatever world they came from she is hesitant. Which is where the film cuts off and ends. This left fans, including myself, at the edge of their seats as they theorize about it as if she was trying to choose if she should stay in the real world and help more people or leave. With this cliffhanger, fans were wondering if there would be another film sometime in the future. Martinez then announced in an interview with People TV that a second and third film is in the works with new albums attached to each film just like she did with K-12. Leaving fans excited about what amazing things might come from Martinez in the future.

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