Melanie Martinez makes a comeback with sophomore album

Photo courtesy of Jose Garcia, Flickr

After four years in the making, Melanie Martinez finally released her second album K-12. Melanie Martinez’s music discusses harsh topics, disguised with beautiful pastel color schemes and upbeat melodies. Her first album dealt with internal struggles, struggles in family life, and hardships in romance. 

Released on Sept. 6, K-12 branches out, touching on problems within society. Using the theme of “school” was the right choice since that is where we first learn about how society works as we go. Even if you have been out of school for some time, these songs are still relatable within our day-to-day lives.

The opening songs “Wheels On the Bus” and “Class Fight” focus on mainly school-centric problems. The first one is about riding on the school bus while everyone is doing whatever they want and the driver not doing anything to stop them, and the second one being about jealousy over who your crush likes and getting back at bullies. 

Tracks three and four, “The Principal” and “Show & Tell” is when she starts getting more in-depth into societal problems. “The Principal” means more than just a lousy school principal, but the abuse of power in higher positions like politicians. “I've tried to make you listen / But you won't, it's your way, right? / Killing kids all day and night / Prescription pills and online fights.”

“Show & Tell” is about how we are always on display for harsh criticism. “Harsh words if you don't get a pic with me / Buy and sell / Like I'm a product to society."

 “Lunchbox Friends” is about the need for real friendship and frustration of fake friends that always find their way into our lives. “I don't want no lunchbox friends, no / I want someone who understands, oh, oh, no/Come to my house, let's die together / Friendship that would last forever.”

 “Strawberry Shortcake” goes a little deeper, the lyrics discuss rape culture and how women are treated or talked about in these situations. “It's my fault, it's my fault cause I put icing on top / Now, the boys want a taste of the strawberry shortcake / That's my bad, that's my bad, no one taught them not to grab."

“Orange Juice” tackles eating disorders and body issues but she assures her listeners that, "Your body is imperfectly perfect / Everyone wants what the other one's working." 

Songs in “K-12,” like “Crybaby,” are mixed with melodies in nursery rhymes and sound effects from toys. While the music is generally alternative/pop, adding the nursery music and toy sounds gives it its own sound.

This album is a step up from her first album “Crybaby.” You can hear the growth in her music. She keeps her unique style, but you can tell both she and her writing are maturing. 

Her music has two sides: one that is cute with frilly pink dresses and cutely designed album covers, and the inside part, the truth, the stuff that we are struggling with but tend to hide from others. While this isn’t a new style of making music, the melody disguises its meaning with lighter tones.

It is refreshing to see someone doing it in their own way. Whether the song is slow or fast, Martinez’s voice is very soft and soothing. She presents a whole album with a lot of tough life lessons that come with a beautiful tone to it.

5 stars