Album Review – Crybaby

"Crybaby" album cover

“Crybaby” album cover.

Melanie Martinez, an American singer, songwriter has recently dropped her new album, Cry Baby, on August 14th. The whole album is a story about a girl named Cry Baby, Melanie’s character or alter ego, and the difficulties she faces. The album gives a child-like feel, but the dark lyrics say different. The first track on the album, “Cry Baby”, introduces Melanie’s character to us. Cry Baby is an emotional love-sick girl who is full of heartache. She is teased and taunted for her tempestuous acts, but she pretends not to care about others input, which might not go so well.

You’re all on your own and you lost all your friends

You told yourself that it’s not you, it’s them

Your one of a kind and no one understands

But those cry baby tears keep coming back again”

After we are acquainted with Cry Baby, we are given a glimpse at her slightly dysfunctional family life. “Dollhouse” describes the parents and the sibling of Cry Baby with a slight twist. Her mother, the alcoholic housewife with a bit too much jewelry and a fake smile, her father, the unfaithful husband with an unhappy marriage, and her brother, the boy who spends his time smoking away all of the family problems. Although they seem like perfect dolls, it’d be dangerous for anyone to look through the walls of this dollhouse. Melanie opens the walls of the dollhouse a bit more with the next song, “Sippy Cup.” We are able to see just how grave her parents’ issues really are. Cry Baby’s mother tries hard to hide her alcoholism, but Cry Baby knows she is hiding alcohol in her sippy cup. When the drunk and unhappy housewife catches her husband with another woman, she murders both of them, only to have Cry Baby walk in on the gruesome scene. To forget the memory, Cry Baby is drugged by her mother.

“He’s still dead when you’re done with the bottle

Of course it’s a corpse that you keep in the cradle

Kids are still depressed when you dress them up

Syrup is still syrup in a sippy cup”

Melanie brings us into Cry Baby’s love life for this next song, “Carousel.” Cry Baby falls in love with a boy, who always appears to be too distant and cold towards her. Like a carousel, their relationship keeps going in circles, but Cry Baby can never catch up to love and ends up with a broken heart. Following the topic of relationships and heartbreak, the next song “Alphabet Boy” is a tale about an ex-boyfriend who leaves her to get his music degree, but comes back thinking he is much more smarter than Cry Baby, trying to teach her how to truly write music. Cry Baby of course was furious and shows the Alphabet Boy just how unique her writing is. Both of these songs are best to listen to if going through heartbreak or a complicated relationship.

“You build me up like building blocks just so you can bring me down

You can crush my candy cane but you’ll never catch me cry

If you dangle that diploma and I deck you, don’t be surprised”

The sixth song on the album, “Soap”, is written about Melanie’s current boyfriend. In an interview Melanie explains that the song is about being vulnerable and described its background. “Everyone is allowed to be vulnerable. I think women and men and dogs and cats and ants and aliens can all express themselves and be vulnerable. ‘Soap’ was written about my current boyfriend when we were first talking. I felt too scared to say how i felt about him and thought if i told him it’d be like throwing a toaster in his bath. So i washed my mouth out with soap. I think anyone can relate to this song. I’m sure there was a time in everyone’s life where they felt too scared to say how they felt so they ‘washed their mouth out with soap.’

“Should’ve never said the word “love”

Threw a toaster in the bathtub

I’m sick of all the games I have to play”

The next song on the album, “Training Wheels” is about taking the next step in a relationship and being okay with falling in love. It’s a very upbeat song and a smooth transition from ‘Soap’. Melanie tells that she’s not used to writing happy songs, but it was a good challenge for her. “Pity Party,” the eighth song on the album, is an upbeat pop song about Cry Baby’s birthday party. She invited the boy, talked about in ‘Training Wheels’, along with many other people, but none showed up to the party. Cry Baby realizes that he is ‘just like the rest of them’.

“Did my invitations disappear?

Why’d I put my heart on every cursive letter?

Tell me why the hell know one is here.

Tell me what to do to make it all feel better.”

“Tag, You’re It” the ninth song on the album, is the song with the darkest meaning behind it. The song covers the topic of sexual assault and uses the children’s game, tag, as a metaphor. The newly single Cry Baby is kidnapped by a ‘wolf’ and taken to his home. Cry Baby does have a, sort of, happy ending in the song “Milk and Cookies” where she poisons the wolf by giving him milk and cookies she made. She escapes the house a new girl.

“Ashes, ashes, time to go down

Ooh, honey do you want me now?

Can’t take it anymore, need to put you to bed

Sing you a lullaby where you die at the end”

The eleventh song on the album, “Pacify Her” is another song about love. At this point in Cry Baby’s life she is numb to both love and pain. She doesn’t care about the boy she likes being in a relationship and ‘pacifies’ his girlfriend keeping her quiet. The deeper meaning Melanie is trying to give is that Cry Baby no longer cares about the consequences of her actions or what anybody has to say about her. If someone bothers her, she’ll just pacify them. The second to last song is, “Mrs. Potato Head”. Cry Baby sees Mrs. Potato Head, a woman with a plastic face and lots of surgery. After Cry Baby’s many heartbreaks, she begins to wonder if pain is beauty.

“Kids forever, kids forever

Baby soft skin turns into leather

Don’t be dramatic it’s only some plastic

No one will love you if you’re unattractive”

The final song on the album is titled, “Mad Hatter”. After all the trauma Cry Baby has went through, she has grown and realizes being called “Cry Baby” isn’t an insult at all. She loves who she is and if that means crying for hours to realize that, then that’s fine. She’s tired of being called Alice when she’s really the Mad Hatter.

“I’m nuts, baby, I’m mad,

The craziest friend that you’ve ever had

You think I’m psycho, you think I’m gone

Tell the psychiatrist something is wrong”

The whole album is a wild, but amazing and creative story tale. Melanie Martinez is an incredibly good artist and did fantastic on her first album. Each song makes you feel something different and you can learn something from every song. Morphing the child like themes with dark lyrics was a very original idea and the story of Cry Baby was outstanding. I feel a sense of empowerment after listening to this album and get such a positive vibe from each song. The whole album can definitely lift your emotions and I’d recommend the album to anyone who likes very meaningful and creative music.

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