Crybaby is dead

Melanie Martinez has killed her iconic Crybaby era in the name of spiritual growth and emotional maturity.

Photo by Atlantic Records | Melanie Martinez in “Portals.”

After three years, Melanie Martinez is back and more ethereal than ever, or rather, back from the dead. Fans (like me) had been eagerly awaiting the return of the mastermind behind the sugary, tooth-aching “Cry Baby” universe. In her first works – the “Dollhouse” EP and the “Cry Baby” album – we are introduced to the persona that Melanie embodied throughout her entire professional musical career. Her name is Crybaby because well, she’s a crybaby. A highly sensitive, empathetic girl who loves wholeheartedly and often finds herself getting made fun of for these attributes. These albums touch on topics such as bullying, domestic violence, grooming, mental illness and heartbreak. 

After experiencing Crybaby’s childhood through Melanie’s music videos; we are then introduced to “K-12,” Melanie’s second album. This is where she explores Crybaby’s formative years as a teenager and young adult. Here, Melanie took the liberty on tackling more current world issues such as eating disorders (“Orange Juice”), sexual harassment through toxic masculinity (“Strawberry Shortcake”) and corrupt, conservative politicians (“The Principal” – we’re looking at you Trump). For once, Crybaby manages to make friends, and they’re all just as unique as her. They each have what we can assume to be psychic abilities, or insights that normal people don’t have access to. Melanie later explained that these are simply more visual and literal interpretations to show the power of empaths and other spiritually heightened folk. The group go on throughout their school lives experiencing the turmoil of their teen years, being outcasted by adults and students alike, until they are met with the goddess Lilith, who gives them the choice to leave that painful plane of existence and move on to a world that will allow them to be their true selves.

After the premiere of the “K-12” movie, Melanie immediately announced a coming project to follow this era, which would technically not continue in the chronological events of the film. It would instead focus on Crybaby’s late teens (before she leaped through the Portal in the film). This EP would be titled “After School” and would contain even more existential subject matter that delved into spirituality, working in a capitalistic society and experiencing emotional neglect in romantic partners. 

Finally, Melanie went on a hiatus after the release of this album, stating that she would be working on an even bigger project that would separate itself from the Crybaby character. Many fans assumed this would mean that Melanie would begin performing as herself rather than focusing on story-driven music projects. But after showing a few snippets of her songs, fans knew that Melanie would continue to create similar content. But what about?

On February 18 of this year, Melanie cleared out her entire Instagram account and uploaded a single video snippet. The camera pans to a giant mushroom and zooms in on a heart carved into its trunk, surrounding the words “RIP Crybaby.” For the past two months, Melanie has been uploading short song teasers and video clips, slowly showing the full development of her new form; from embryo, to fetus, to egg and a hatchling. On March 24, we were shown her new form in all her glory: a faerie-like creature with four eyes, wings and pink skin born from the remains of Crybaby. Mushrooms, moss and vines make up most of her clothes and even sprout from her skin, making this her most experimental album yet.

So far, her songs cover subjects revolving around depression and recovering from toxic relationships. Just with the few snippets we’ve been given, we can tell that Melanie’s lyrics in this project are the most personal and close to her, for she had previously undergone a toxic relationship with a mediocre man-child rapper (I refuse to give him any recognition so I’m not disclosing his name). She is currently in a very healthy relationship, and she also wrote a song about this current partner, titled “Light Showers.” 

Honestly, I am over the moon with this album so far. I can tell this is going to be one of my favorite albums of all time, probably even more so than her previous ones. I felt – just like Melanie – on how throughout the span of five years we’ve evolved and matured so much. I was definitely a different person when “Cry Baby” first came out and I have to fully admit that it made up like 50% of my personality at that time. But the older I grew, the less I could relate to that moment in my life and the more I sought for other things that grew with me. 

This album – so far – encapsulates so much of the sincerity I have towards who I used to be and the love I have for my current self. Not to mention the aesthetic makes my little earthy/hippie goth self so happy. Crybaby’s death made so many fans upset, but I could not relate to this more. Melanie Martinez’ new album is for that girl that used to consider herself a crybaby, died and was reborn into someone who embraces all her qualities and lets them shine through.