For this weeks Throwback Thursday Post we have Cry Baby by Melanie Martinez. This album was released in 2015 and I didn’t listen to it then but I did know the title track “Cry Baby”. Last year on the other hand I came across the song “Cry Baby” one more time which gave me memories of when I first listened to it back in 2015 so I decided to listen to the whole album and it ended up being fantastic and one of my favorite albums/concept albums. One of the main things that I love about the album is how misleading the titles of the tracks are and what I mean is for example the title “Dollhouse” might make someone think that the concept of the track will be about some thing related to childhood or toys but it’s actually about something way more sinister and dark which is what I love because this concept sticks throughout the album and tells a story about the character named Cry Baby. I don’t really want to explain anything more because I want to save it all for the review so let’s get right into it.
“Cry Baby”– When I first discovered this track it was son YouTube and that was when I absolutely fell in love with Melanie Martinez and her style. First of all the thing that gets a lot of people is the production style, she mixes hip-hop and vintage toy sounds and makes a really twisted sounding production style which is what I absolutely adore about this track in particular because it sounds like a toy xylophone in the background of the production. The lyrics on this track are very well done and give the character crybaby a good introduction, this is a character who is overly sensitive and feels hurt by almost any little thing that happens and feels like an outcast almost, which is what Melanie felt as a child and a lot of her fan base can relate to. The way she delivers the course is very nice and how she switches it up from “you“ to “me“ at the end of the song.
“Dollhouse”– This track here has one of those titles that can be misleading and it’s misleading because you think that she might talk about toys or her childhood but really she talks about infidelity, drugs, alcohol abuse within a family and this family acting like the perfect family almost like dolls. It’s truly a genius comparison and a fantastic subject matter that isn’t really talked about a lot in music and on top of that the delivery is fantastic as well as the production. I have very few complaints about this track and the music video is also just wonderful, what a concept.
“Sippy Cup”– This track here plays another part in that misleading track titling because it’s about a mother who is being cheated on and finds the need to drink her worries away hence the title sippy cup. Every single track on this album has a music video and a story to tell, every track altogether ends up explaining this twisted world that this character Cry Baby lives in, it’s beautiful but also depressing which are two words that shouldn’t be used together but this goes into how complex her music making is.
“Carousel”– I would like to say that almost any American Horror Story fan knows this song. This song featured as the song for the shows trailer during the season of American Horror Story: Freak Show. The thing about this track that I really enjoy is the production and the way that the 808’s hit and the industrial sounding bells during the track. The lyrics are fantastic as always and about a girl not really benefiting from a relationship and just going through the motions basically, at least that’s how I take it. I also really enjoy the effect that is placed over her vocals during the verses because it just adds an element of creepiness to the track that I absolutely love.
“Alphabet Boy”– I love how innocent this track sounds because it’s definitely one of the more brighter as far as production goes. It’s still has that somewhat of a dark theme and message behind the lyrics but I genuinely feel that this more on the easy-going side of the album. I like what she does with her voice in the beginning of the song and throughout the song because it adds another level to the track as if it was another instrument and I also enjoy how she takes the alphabet and molds it as a component to her song writing ability. Another genius track in my opinion.
“Soap”– In my opinion this is probably one of the most creative songs production wise. I feel this way because she titled the tracks soap and has the sound of bubbles popping after the chorus which I think is really smart and very creative because I’ve never really heard anything like that. I personally really enjoy the lyrics on this track because it’s about not knowing when to say the right thing or what the right thing is around someone you love. Very good concept here and another good track all in all.
“Training Wheels”– I felt like I was obsessed with this song for a long time because I really enjoy how soft it is as a track. The production is so easy-going it easy on the ears which gives it this controlling ability to it almost like hypnosis, and the lyrics are so cool and coming to the point where it almost makes you want to fall asleep. I love the message of the track and the overall delivery from Melanie, truly amazing.
“Pity Party”– I remember when this was one of the biggest songs of the Summer back in 2015 or 2016, and for good reasons. The thing that made it so popular in my opinion is the infectious production style that it has and the choice of the baseline because it’s so playful and entertaining in my opinion but the lyrics are a big part as well because I feel like at the time this song was released and the demographic that Melanie Martinez attracts made it a really relatable track in my opinion. The term Pity Party is used for someone who is trying to get attention from others and it’s also used as a thing to further develop this character but in the form of a song so she’s definitely using her creativity to make something have two meanings which gains my respect right off the bat.
“Tag, You’re It”– I feel like everyone has a kid played tag and has really good memories of the game, this is another track that has a very misleading title because I would have assumed that she’s talking about the game but she’s really talking about kidnapping. The overall song is one of the darkest in my opinion and has one of the more sinister messages behind it compared to any other song off of the oven but that’s what makes the artistic vision really pop on this track. I like what she does on this track with the storytelling because whenever she’s talking in the perspective of the kidnapper her voice is distorted and pitched down a bit which adds a lot of depth and emotion to the track. I feel that everyone should take a minute to really listen to this track and grasp it because it’s one of the best but also watch the music video because it’s wonderful as well.
“Milk and Cookies”– i’ve always had a hard time figuring out what the message was behind this track because it seemed a little confusing to me but the music video brings a lot of clarity and I assume it’s about her killing the kidnapper from the previous track. At the end of the day all of these traumatic events that this character Cry Baby goes through makes her this crazy entity that we get to know at the very end of the album with “Mad Hatter”.
“Pacify Her”– For a long time I obsessed over this track and a little bit had to do with music video but a majority did have to do with the actual song and I think it’s because of the production and the harp like sound that’s used in the production. The lyrics are crazy in my opinion because it’s basically talking about how this character that Melanie Martinez has created is a homewrecker, she sees someone else’s man and does her best to take him from her. The way she describes the story in her music is very clear which makes her one of my favorite songwriters.
“Mrs. Potato Head”– This right here is definitely one of the most meaningful and impactful songs off of the album. The subject matter here is basically young girls or women finding the need to change themselves because someone tells them that they don’t look pretty enough or they have a misconstrued image of what pretty is thanks to media and social interaction. I personally feel that not only women can relate to this song but men too, I personally have my own image of what happiness is as well as beauty so this song isn’t something that impacts me but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact other people because not everybody has their own definition of what pretty, happiness, smart, funny, etc. is so for someone like her to bring awareness to this is truly amazing.
“Mad Hatter”– This song is clearly based a little bit on the Mad Hatter character from Alice in Wonderland because she hints at this during the chorus with a few lyrics within it. I love the production on this track specifically this track because it’s definitely on the more abrasive side which I think is due to the baseline that is chosen for this track, it’s really in your face but this match is how the lyrics are set up because they are also in your face and aggressive to an extent. This track does end the original album and really sets it off with a great energy and almost on a cliffhanger in my opinion because you want to know more about what happens to this Cry Baby character that Melanie Martinez has created But the one thing that I do love about this character is the character arc that she went through because she started off as this really weak and shell-less person then ended up being this crazy, borderline psychotic and strong willed character thanks to everything that she’s been through throughout the album. It is an outstanding album and has an amazing story behind it.
“Play Date”– Words can’t express how happy I am that this song got a resurgence. Thank you Tik Tok for making this song so popular again, everything about this track is fantastic and farther than words can explain. The bridge is wonderful the chorus is fantastic and the verses are gorgeous, the background vocals are what brings everything together in my opinion because they just feel so warm and comforting to the ears. There isn’t anything better than this track in my opinion besides the slow down version that’s only available on SoundCloud which I highly recommend.
“Teddy Bear”– I’ve always valued this track and ranked pretty high amongst all of her other tracks because it’s just such a hypnotic song in my opinion, starting with the production, I just love the kicks and the focal patterns used in the production because it just plays so that whole hypnotic sound. The vocals from Melanie are really soft-spoken and innocent but the stories she tells are pretty dark because it’s about an abusive lover that she once put a lot of time and care into like a Teddy Bear. I also really enjoy the comparison between this person she’s talking about and a Teddy Bear.
“Cake”– This is the last track off of the deluxe album and I feel that it’s a really underrated track of hers because the production goes crazy in my opinion and has a really nice build up from the beginning until about 45 seconds in. All in all it isn’t something completely different from what we’ve got and throughout the entire album because it tells a story about a real life subject matter but in my opinion it doesn’t play along with the whole Cry Baby theme and the character building.
There are plenty of reasons why I adore this album and I’ll do my best to list them all starting with the story and how we get a character who is stuck in this really dark and twisted universe that seems to only favor the corrupt and evil but that doesn’t help because this character is born innocent and full of so much fear but we learn by the end of the album that she adapts to her environment and ultimately becomes what she is afraid of in my opinion. Another reason is the production, I did talk about it in the beginning of the review and how it’s a mixture of Hip-Hop and vintage toy sounds which is something that I really like because it’s just really different and creative, it’s just something you don’t see a lot and we get more of this on her follow up album K-12 which carries on this Cry Baby character. Another reason would be the titles of the tracks and how misleading there because they sound innocent but really either dark and sinister which are two words that I’ve used a lot during this review but for good reasons. I want to go on but I’ve already said too much, I think this album is perfect and will be a favorite of mine for a very long time as well as the album after this K-12 which I did a review for so you should go and read that one as well. I wouldn’t rate this album anything less than a perfect score so that’s what it’s going to be and I am also keeping up with her music but as a matter of fact she is releasing an EP within the next few months I believe so I’ll definitely be here for that and you should be here ready to read it, see you soon for more Melanie Martinez music.
Thank you for being back for another Throwback Thursday Post, this one was so fun to make as well as the rest but according to my schedule next week will be in older album but I haven’t decided yet so stay tuned and be ready for that. As always don’t forget to follow the blog in the Instagram @tylersmusicthoughts.