Cry Baby by Melanie Martinez
It’s typical of previous The Voice contenders to fade away once they’re off the show but Melanie Martinez isn’t one of them. The former Voice contestant just released her debut album, Cry Baby, on August 14, 2015, consisting of popular singles like “Dollhouse,” “Pity Party,”and “Carousel.” Melanie Martinez, now 20 years of age, incorporates an unique, original sound and lyrical prowess that won’t disappoint the listeners of her concept album.
In this alternative/electropop album, Melanie incorporates a happy and optimistic vibe, consisting of electric keyboards, electric guitars, and even some ordinary sounds like squeaky toys, tap water, and bubbles. This upbeat sound is a factor that contrasts with the dark, grim lyrics of her songs. Melanie often uses childish concepts as metaphors to mature, serious topics in her lyrics. For example, in her song “Mrs. Potato Head” the object used as a metaphor in this song are the Potato Head doll toys.
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“Oh Mrs. Potato Head is it true that pain is beauty?/Does a new face come with a warranty?/Will a pretty face make it better?” Here, Melanie compares Potato Head toys to people in society who feel as if to become more beautiful they have to surgically alter their features. In Melanie’s single “Dollhouse,” the verse, “Throw on your dress and put on you doll faces./Everyone thinks that we’re perfect./Please don’t let them look through the curtains,” describes a family that pretends to have the perfect life to cover up the things they are ashamed of. With these dark, somber lyrics disguised as childish concepts and a wispy, breathy voice sung to a cheery, upbeat cadence, Melanie Martinez creates an unique, even slightly creepy sound that distinguishes her from other artists.
Melanie also draws a lot of inspiration from her own life experiences. The album Cry Baby was named after a fantasy version of herself and most of the content in the album was based on dark moments in Melanie’s life. In the album, the imaginary character “Cry Baby” tells the story of her life and is used as a coping method for Martinez. In a Billboard interview, she even quotes, “Working on this album has been very emotional and super personal, and creating this character Cry Baby helped me deal with my own insecurities. I was able to throw it all onto Cry Baby instead to myself, which really helped me.” Martinez also explains that by the end of the album, both her and Cry Baby have grown tremendously and have accepted who they are. To Melanie, this wasn’t just a creative endeavor; it was also therapy.
Produced by Kinetics & One Love, this album sold 40,000 total copies during its first week and earned #6 on the Billboard album chart as well as #1 of the alternative albums charts. Her song “Carousel” has been featured on the FX series American Horror Story: Freak Show. Martinez also received a wide scope of comments from critics. For example, Jose Valle from The Daily Tar Heel called Cry Baby his second-favorite album of the year while ABC News’ Allan Raible granted the album 4.5 out of 5 stars and described it as a, “rare pop record that is both catchy beyond belief and an artistic triumph.”
For fans of the electropop genre and artists like Lorde and Lana Del Rey, this album will be a full 46 minutes and 43 seconds of pure bliss and hypnotic heaven. Melanie Martinez draws in her audience with her soft, breathy vocals and metaphorical lyrics that never cease to entertain and captivate her listeners. With an unique, original sound that differentiates her from other artists, one can’t go wrong diving into Melanie Martinez’s Cry Baby to lose themselves in a fantasy world of Mrs. Potato Heads, Dollhouses, and lots of Freakshow Carousels.