by Andrea Lee / Staff Reporter
After keeping fans waiting for over four years, Melanie Martinez has finally entered back into the music scene with the highly-anticipated release of her sophomore album. On Friday Sept. 6, 2019 Martinez released her second studio album entitled “K-12,” accompanied by a full-length film which she wrote and directed. The movie included a scene for each of the thirteen tracks from the “K-12.”
The songs have a soft sound in terms of tempo and rhythm, and Martinez accompanies this style with compelling lyrics. In the song “Drama Club,” Martinez writes about how society treats women. In the song “Strawberry Shortcake,” Martinez touches on the topic of victim blaming.
I’ve always enjoyed Martinez’ use of child like symbols and nursery rhymes within her songs. For example, Martinez takes the classic melody of “Wheels on the Bus” and uses it as a compelling metaphor for sexuality.
When listening to “K-12,” my only complaint is that Martinez’ new music does not feel much different from the songs featured in her debut album “Cry Baby.” The melodies are similar to the point that they almost sound like the same song with only the lyrics setting them apart.
Despite the uncanny similarities between her two studio albums, I really enjoyed Martinez’ “K-12.” Martinez’ work carries a sort of consistency, as all of the tracks on “Cry Baby” are accompanied by music videos, each telling a unique story regarding the main character of Cry Baby.
Choosing to create a film instead of making 13 separate music videos helped to establish Martinez’ unique storytelling. The “K-12” film works to further Martinez’ cohesive visual style of baby-doll punk.
The somewhat unsettling visuals in “K-12” were totally unique to Martinez’ pastel horror aesthetic, and I felt as though the actors did a great job portraying this. Although I enjoyed the movie, it does not really stand on its own without the album. Because of this, audiences may find that the movie does not feel like other films, whereas the only standouts is the music itself.
When Martinez released her debut album in 2015, it did not have that big of a reception by listeners. It wasn’t until almost 16 months after its initial release that “Cry Baby” went certified platinum.
That was not the case with “K-12,” which debuted number one on the US Top Alternative Albums and number three on the US Billboard 200. The film sold out all 425 screenings across the world in places such as the U.S, the U.K., and within 24 hours. In addition to the film’s success in theaters, “K-12” gained over 20 million views on Youtube in the first 24 hours of its release.
7 out of 10 torches