CRYBABY : Straight Outta The Dollhouse


By Amanda Faye

Twitter is great for a lot of things: knowing which celebrity just left our realm, watching twitterfeuds escalate while eating spoons full of biscoff, giggling at the latest Directioners-fueled trending topics and, at the most dire of times (which seems to be at least once a week), keeping abreast of tragic world events and important protest movements. It’s also pretty ace at introducing new music, which is how I discovered Melanie Martinez’s new album CRYBABY, whose tag happened to be trending the same day poor Perrie Edwards had her mid-performance breakdown.  Reading tweets of lyric quotes by Martinez’s fans got me intrigued.  I’m pretty sure Pete Wentz is somewhere brooding over the fact he didn’t come up with some of her lines; Martinez has writing credits on 12 of the 13 songs on the standard version of CRYBABY.

I’ve never been happier to go down a twitter trending hashtag rabbit hole. The album is wonderfully caustic and catchy at the same time. The songs tackle not so happy and carefree issues like sexual assault, adultery, mental illness, and dead babies by pairing these anything-but-light lyrics with glittery electro-pop music. I actually found myself singing along with the song “Tag, You’re It,” not registering the implications of the lyrics until the third or fourth listen. It’s basically every woman’s nightmare who’s ever been aggressively cat-called while walking down the street – a story about being physically assaulted by a random male. #YesAllWomen

CRYBABY was conceived as a story surrounding the title character Cry Baby and her far from enviable romantic endeavors. I’m not generally a fan of concept albums (unless they result in Gerard Way dressing up in a marching band uniform while leading the bleakest parade EVA!)  but this one works.  Cry Baby seems like the type of chick I’d love to have on speed dial for those I-need-a-happy-hour girls meet-up days.  She’s been through some things, dated some losers, but she gets that “all the best people are crazy”.

Top 3 from the album:

Pity Party:

The first time I heard Leslie Gore’s “It’s My Party,” it became my favorite song OF ALL TIME.  The first time I heard Melanie Martinez’s “Pity Party,” which samples “It’s My Party” for the chorus, it became my second favorite song OF ALL TIME.  An exaggerated “whatever” has been my go-to snarl whenever I hit a wall of disappointment I can’t smash through, and after hearing this song I’ll be adding “just means there’s way more cake for me” because who doesn’t love cake?!?  Not me. I love cake. If this song were cake it’d be a Black Forest cake full of cherries and whipped cream topping.

Sippy Cup:

The music on this track is so mellow and low key, which is a perfect counterpoint to the far-less-soothing lyrics:

He’s still dead when you’re done with the bottle

Of course it’s a corpse that you keep in the cradle

Kids are still depressed when you dress them up

Syrup is still syrup in a sippy cup

The video that goes with the song is equally intense– it shows Cry Baby discovering that her alcoholic mother has murdered her husband and his mistress:

Alphabet Boy

We’ve all encountered that one guy who just insists on mansplaining to us something (anything really) in a condescending manner.  Now we have a song to sing in our heads while we pretend to listen:

I know my A-B-C’s

Yet you keep teaching me

I say fuck your degree

Alphabet boy

You think you’re smarter than me