K-12 Review

K-12 Album Cover

Kocian, John

K-12 Album Cover

After a four-year break from music, Melanie Martinez is back with the baby aesthetic and pastel, doll-like look. Her newest album K-12 revolves around grade school experiences, each of the tracks being named after some aspect of school, like the songs Detention and Recess. The album reveals the “dark side of school.” Throughout the album, there is an eerie feel which is shown through the song Show and Tell, which has a dark tone and includes repeated cranking sounds in the background. She uses the song to show how society treats her and other well-known artists by adding, “buy and sell… like I’m a product to society,” and she acts like she’s a puppet by saying “you pull me by my hair, so I don’t go nowhere,” which is an example of how society acts like they control her life and it doesn’t matter what she wants to do.  

 Although most of her tracks are simple, the lyrics convey a feeling of being trapped in a continuous cycle. The tracks and even the name of the album the titles speak innocence, like in Lunchbox Friends or Orange Juice but they’re intentionally and her lyrics tell a different story. Martinez is bold in her music and talks about gender roles and body image. Throughout the album uncomfortable concepts are explored in depth and it goes as far as to losing innocence in Wheels on the Bus to a girl dealing with bulimia in Orange Juice. Martinez digs into issues prevalent in our society. In the track Orange Juice she says, “your body is imperfectly perfect, everybody wants what the other ones working,” which is an accurate representation of how most people feel.  

Martinez doesn’t fit into the basic mold of a typical pop artist. There are intricate messages and themes in her music that are typically avoided because while most artists just make music to please and entertain, Martinez uses to it also spread a little awareness in a creative way. A lot of people could probably relate to the songs or know someone who does, seeing as they all revolve around real life things that a lot of people are experiencing or experienced while growing up. Her albums increase in age as if they were “growing up;” it went from songs like Sippy Cup from her Crybaby album to a song called High School Sweethearts in K-12. K-12 is an interesting take on everything that happens, and the thoughts that people have throughout their life.  

The album lacks the imagination with the beats and the melody that her album Cry Baby had; K-12 contains less intricate drum patterns and a few pace changes. However, it remains a strong album lyrically, so if the listener isn’t interested in the lyrics, it would make it a bore for the listener. K-12 is not something to put on at a party, but if you feel like being angry at society and listening to chill lyrics at the same time it would be a great album to listen to. She made a great comeback with this album and it’s exciting to see what she will come out with next. Her listeners come back to her because they want to see what issues she will dive into next and they want to see how she feels about them.  Melanie Martinez is a creative music artist and her albums are intricate and fun to listen to if you want to focus on lyrics that have a meaning behind them. It is something everyone should listen to whether you care about the issues presented throughout the album or not. The album makes you think, which is what makes her music great.