She’s creative. She’s creepy. She’s Crybaby.
Alternative pop music artist Melanie Martinez is back with her second album, K-12, which was released on September 6. Not only did fans receive a new roster of stunning songs, but they were also treated to an entire hour and a half movie which included the whole album.
The movie, titled the same, cost a budget of over $5 million, and it’s easy to see why: Martinez brought her character, Crybaby, back in a bolder and more intriguing way than ever before.
K-12 is the story of Crybaby’s academic days as she attends a sleepaway school, with each section of the movie representing the next grade up, until she becomes a high school senior. Crybaby struggles to fit in with the majority of her classmates, as only she and a select few others have bewitching powers to unite them in friendship; she also struggles to survive the school in general, as nurses, teachers, the principal and literal rabbit-headed security guards are all hellbent on controlling the student population by drug-induced – and sometimes theater-induced – brainwashing.
Martinez created a masterful, complex storyline and successfully fit the entire thing into a singular album. Packed with themes of introspectiveness on the stressful academic system, the corruption of public high schools and confidence-building messages for women of any age, she took social justice to a new, artful level while keeping it relatable to students.
Some notable songs which cover those themes and which I highly recommend listening to are “Show & Tell,” “Drama Club,” “Detention” and “Teacher’s Pet,” although all her songs are great for teaching a variety of life lessons.
I did find K-12 to be somewhat lacking in the acting department during its non-musical portions. Most main characters in the movie would have benefited from varying their facial expressions during times of conflict, or from showing more emotion in general. Nevertheless, Zinnett Hendrix, who played Crybaby’s sassy friend Magnolia, and Melanie Martinez herself were two of the best actresses in the film.
However, what it lacked in acting it made up for in scenery and costumes. The sleepaway school which K-12 is set in is a grand castle with baroque architectural design, yet Martinez managed to mesh it exceedingly well with modern school furniture like lockers and chemistry lab equipment by keeping a consistent color palette for each song’s section of the movie. She expertly formed an ornate, royal version of a public school while edging deeper into the macabre. Of course, the costumes held both aristocratic and babyish styles throughout K-12, matching perfectly with each scene and the atmosphere as a whole.
Overall, Melanie Martinez’s K-12 is uniquely amazing. As of September 15, it has over 22 million views on YouTube, and will no doubt continue to rise in popularity as her music videos are released separately from their film of origin. Martinez simply outdid herself compared to her first Crybaby album, and with the cliffhanger she left at the end of K-12 it’ll be quite a challenge for her to top herself with whatever she has planned next.
~Brenna Walch, Staff Writer~