Album Review: Melanie Martinez ‘Cry Baby’


by Danielle Holian

Melanie Martinez made her first musical appearance on The Voice USA which is where she found her platform as an artist. Her unique voice has captured many listeners ears since her acoustic rendition of classic tune ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears. The track listing on her debut album Cry Baby suggests a family-friendly concept, but titles like Dollhouse, Carousel, and Milk and Cookies storylines are far from the aforementioned first-read topics. Martinez took children’s themes for her explicit songs about abusive families, broken relationships, and toxic moments in life.

The theme of her debut record is a fictional universe that she lives in. Cry Baby is a made-up character of herself. She conveys dark moments throughout the album. Martinez has previously said she does not want to be a role model, but a singer expressing herself. The storyline is childlike and maniacal but turns out excellent.

Every song tends to seem a bit repetitive, but none of the lyrics are corny or foreseeable. Her songwriting style is special with nostalgic imagery and metaphors; the dark, haunted, creepy manner she holds throughout the entire album hides away the depressing empty moments all together. She’s able to express her passionate and marvelously creative side. There is a story told and the listener is taken on a journey with her creepy persona as she battles her obsessions and demons.

Mrs. Potato Head is a stand-out track as it hits home to the youth of today with its lyrics about beauty standards, “Don’t be dramatic it’s only some plastic / No one will love you if you’re unattractive.” The slow, groovy melody on Soap is intoxicating as the bubbly bass drops. Although the chorus gets a little repetitive, it’s the most radio-friendly song on the record. There’s little to actually think about with this tune, but her lyrics are to the point. Mad Hatter has a pounding bass to it. She matures immensely in this song wanting to find freedom and happiness, instead of living in misery. The song has the best song lyrics overall. With all the twists and turns in this tune, the craziness is the top emotion that is felt. She sings, “The normals, they make me afraid/The crazy, they make me feel sane.”

The record shows Martinez’s ambition which is admirable as she deals with dark and deep topics. For a debut album, this is surprisingly great and addicting. Her alter ego has an innocent, creepy twist that is intriguing, unique and there’s something that makes you want to keep listening. And as the album unravels, there’s no denying it’s excellence. It’s a dark record holding many emotions and mood swings that sends chills.

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