America’s new favorite ‘Cry Baby’

After a 4-year hiatus, Melanie Martinez returned to the music scene, dropping her new album,

Atlantic Records [Free use]

After a 4-year hiatus, Melanie Martinez returned to the music scene, dropping her new album, "K-12."

Alexandra Magee, Staff Writer

Checked-out teachers, Mary Jane and school dances seem to epitomize the blur of high school. Though we do not have nurse-bunny hybrids physically binding us, sometimes society does seem to bind individuality. “K-12″ reflect the woes of American high school. 

On Sept. 6, indie-pop artist Melanie Martinez debuted as a director for her sophomore album “K-12.” This 92-minute film showcasing 13 brand new songs currently has 23 million views on YouTube. Martinez’s “K-12″ brilliantly provides visuals for the metaphorically-rich songs related to the prevalent issues in today’s school system such as body dysmorphia, LGBTQ+ controversies, Black Lives Matter and nefarious teacher-student relationships.

In her film, Martinez revives her alter ego Cry Baby to maneuver through a teenage horror storyline located in a colonial-style mansion. “Horrorrefers to the grotesque surreality used to exaggerate the metaphors. 

Before the song “Orange Juice” plays, Cry Baby and a bulimic girl, Flower, rip out and swap their eyeballs so Flower can see her own beauty. Cry Baby and a collective band of outcasts must devise a plan to escape the residential high school that is governed by drugged and sexist teachers. 

Along the way, she uses her magical powers to overthrow the unfair systems governing their school. As “The Principal” melody is heard, the Principal is seen firing a dedicated teacher for being a transgender woman. 

The Principal character could represent President Donald Trump considering the amount of anti-transgender and anti-LGBT policies implemented within the last two years. Further evidence lies in the lines “When you come and hurt us just so you can get your money / Forced to follow a leader who is possessed by demons,” which references Trump’s presidential campaign that raised money to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. 

In 2015, Martinez released her first album, Cry Baby. Martinez developed quite the fandom as the album became certified platinum in 2017. The music videos for the Cry Baby album, also directed by Martinez, trace the insecurities and traumas of the main character.   

After a 4-year hiatus, the “Dollhouse” star has returned with this $6 million project to continue with an amplified storyline. One of the highlights of the film is the magnitude of both trending and unspoken issues touched. 

In the midst of the “Class Fight” song, the students were commanded to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. When one black boy refused to acknowledge the pledge, the coked-up teacher called the asylum-style male nurses to remove him forcefully. This alludes to the controversial campaign Black Lives Matter, in which African-Americans protested the discrimination against police brutality. 

In contrast, the film repeatedly references the unfair sexual relationships between teachers and students. The song “Teacher’s Pet” chronicles the psychological journey of a teenage girl and her male educator. 

K-12 encourages people to avoid conformity and discusses issues to promote change. With Martinez’s partnership with YouTube, the album is available for anyone who needs a little motivation to maneuver through these last few years of high school.

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