By Shanee Goldman ‘23
On October 29, 2019, I attended Melanie Martinez’s K-12 Tour at the Manhattan Center on West 34th street. Martinez is a singer, songwriter, actress and director from Baldwin, New York. In 2012, Martinez appeared on the Voice for her debut performance. Soon after, she released an Extended Play (EP) titled Dollhouse. She proceeded to publish her debut album, Crybaby, in 2015. The album featured songs with childish names to it: Tag You’re It, Milk and Cookies, Sippy Cup, etc. The songs have a dark subcontext to it, even though they sounded happy. The unnerving undertone in the music videos was very unique: she talked about her own childhood experiences in the songs, such as being bullied or running from a pedophile. She still dressed like a child, even though her songs were dark. After a long hiatus, in 2019, Martinez announced that she was making a movie for her next album, and published teaser trailers and small clips of the songs to her YouTube channel. Fans were excited to know that Martinez was back again and making music. This past September, Martinez uploaded Melanie Martinez – K-12 (The Film) to YouTube. When Martinez announced that she would be going on a world tour, starting in the fall of 2019, we immediately bought tickets. I listened to the album on repeat for days, so I knew almost all of the lyrics to the songs.
The first song Martinez sang was “Wheels On The Bus”. Martinez appeared on stage, standing in a line with her dancers, with a pink school bus projected on the screen behind her. The crowd sang along with her and the performance was amazing. The dancers were incredibly talented, even though their dances were very unusual. I was fascinated by Martinez’s constant outfit changes! Sometimes during the musical breaks in the songs, clips from the music videos played. After she sang all of the songs from her newest album, she performed a few of her hit songs from her previous album, and my friend and I burst out in song with her. Melanie Martinez still hasn’t changed in her pastel aesthetic, but the concert and film differs a lot from her first album, Crybaby. Crybaby was about her childhood days, and K-12 is Melanie when she is in school. Her songs are about school experiences -good and bad – and wrestle with topics like self-love, acceptance, and social pressures. There are underlying messages to the songs, such as her song “Orange Juice,” which is about eating disorders. The songs sound cheerful, and Melanie’s soothing tone gives a relaxing vibe to her music. The dancers really reflected the themes of Melanie Martinez’s songs, and dressed accordingly. Martinez was definitely the highlight of the show; her outfits were very fascinating and were especially light-toned and bright. I find that Melanie Martinez’s music is very different from other singers, and her K-12 concert was truly an experience. Overall, the live music and dancers were amazing, and I would definitely go to another Melanie Martinez concert!