By Lillian Firth
Melanie Martinez’s debut album, “Crybaby,” is a truly expansive collection of songs that steps out of the realm of conventional pop music. Martinez mixes her peppy beats with a new haunting quality, leaving listeners with chills for days to come.
Martinez uses a variety of instruments to produce one-of-a-kind songs, such as piano, guitar, bells, synthesizers and even xylophones and accordions.
The album is not heavy on fast drums or electric guitars, as Martinez avoids the rock type of horror-like music that is common among artists like Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. Instead, Martinez creates a new kind of horror sound with her songs through slower instrumentation.
Martinez pours her heart out in each song, which she penned herself, touching on topics that most pop artists shy away from.
She skillfully weaves in social issues disguised as pop melodies. In her song, “Mrs. Potato Head,” Martinez delves into the issue of young girls wanting plastic surgery because “no one will love you if you’re unattractive.” She asks interesting questions like “Will a pretty face make it better?” and explains how sad it is that “baby soft skin turns into leather.” Martinez puts these social issues into perspective and sings about them in such an interesting way that it is impossible to ignore.
Perhaps the best part of the album is how unpredictable it is. From simple love songs that pull in listeners with a personal connection like on “Training Wheels,” and hair-raising songs like “Tag You’re It,” which details the kidnapping of a young girl, the album keeps listeners on their toes.
The lyrics and dramatic melodies of Martinez’s songs are passionate, haunting and unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Melanie sings each one beautifully with her raspy voice. Every song on the album seems to tell its own story and will bring listeners into the depths of Martinez’s mind.
The album has proven to be immensely successful already. After its release on Friday, Aug. 14, “Crybaby” has already hit number one on the Alternative Albums Chart and number four on the iTunes Albums Chart. The song “Carousel” was released as a single earlier this summer and was also featured as the theme song on “American Horror Story: Freak Show.”
Martinez started as a young girl from New York on the popular singing television show, “The Voice.” Now, she is topping the charts with her debut album.
“Crybaby” is marketed as a pop album, yet incorporates such distinct stories with a rare and catchy sound. It is a true pop masterpiece that will impress fans of the genre as well as new listeners. Martinez poured her heart into this album, and it certainly paid off.