Melanie Martinez is Back and Better Than Ever with New Album “K-12”


After four years of silence, singer-songwriter, Melanie Martinez, has released her sophomore album “K-12” and with it, a 90-minute feature film. The almost hour-and-a-half-long film offers breathtaking visuals and stunning choreography that flows perfectly with the music.

Cynda Allen, Opinion Editor

Musician Melanie Martinez has returned after a four-year hiatus with her new album and accompanying film, “K-12,” which was released on Sept. 6, 2019. The album highlights many of the struggles that kids face during their teenage years through a feminist’s point of view. It also covers topics that the public tends to steer away from, like harassment, bullying, mental illness and societal brainwashing. 

Like her debut album “Cry Baby,” “K-12” adds upon Martinez’s dark alt-pop music. The album is an improvement, both in terms of sound and production quality. Lyrically, the songs may seem like there isn’t much to them, but the lyrics actually contain an abundance of figurative language that contributes to Martinez’s many twisted metaphors within her music.

In the album’s fourth track, “Show and Tell,” Martinez uses her character, Cry Baby, as a marionette to delve into her problem with being idolized, put on a pedestal, and forced into the spotlight. Martinez sings, “There are strangers takin’ pictures of me when I ask ‘no more’ / It’s really hard for me to say just how I feel / I’m scared that I’ll get thrown away like a banana peel,” to illustrate her fear of being criticized for not feeling comfortable with always being the center of attention. In this song, she also explains that in the end, we are all human and imperfect so we shouldn’t judge others by their actions or the way they feel.

The fifth track, “Nurse’s Office,” which sounds very similar to “Carousel” off of her last record “Cry Baby”, touches upon issues of harassment and bullying, beginning with the sounds of coughing and ripping band-aids. In the pre-chorus and chorus, Martinez sings “I’m bleeding, Band-Aids won’t heal it / ’Cause they hate me, so I’m fakin’ / All, all, all this so they take, take me / Take me home,” to highlight the problem with bullying and how it can cause students to fake illness or injury in order to be sent home. 

One of the more touchy but popular songs on the album is the ninth track, “Orange Juice,” which discusses the topic of eating disorders (specifically bulimia). It doesn’t put the fruit drink in a positive light, but that is what makes the song so genius. Martinez tries to send a positive message through her lyrics with “Your body is imperfectly perfect / Everyone wants what the other one’s working,” and “I wish I could give you my set of eyes / ‘Cause I know your eyes ain’t working, / I wish I could tell you that you’re fine, so fine / But you will find that disconcerting.” Across social media, this song has received a lot of praise from fans (including myself). North Forsyth High School sophomore, Sarah Huck commented, “I personally think it is brilliant that she is shedding light onto a serious topic like this. Especially since women (and men) all around the world are experiencing eating disorders like bulimia.”

The twelfth and longest track on this record (and my personal favorite), “High School Sweethearts,” lists the expectations of a relationship and what would happen if a partner doesn’t stay loyal. Martinez sings, “If you can’t handle a heart like mine/ Don’t waste your time with me/ If you’re not down to bleed, no, oh / If you can’t handle the choking, the biting/ The loving, the smothering/ ‘Til you can’t handle it no more, no more/ Go home.” Even though Martinez gets a little dramatic here, she still gets the point across that if someone truly loves someone else, they will stay dedicated through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Martinez really proved to her fans that the four-year wait was worth it. They were given a stellar album and an artistically impressive film. The movie is definitely worth watching and the record also has a lot of replayability. Fans will surely find themselves humming to the melody of her new catchy songs.