Melanie Martinez Cry Baby on LP + Download
Melanie Martinez wants to tell you a story. It's fictional, but it's also about her, in a way that's somewhat exaggerated and darker than reality. The tale traces through Melanie's debut album Cry Baby, a collection of pop songs that draw inspiration from singer-songwriter folk and hip-hop and follow a character who learns to be more comfortable with who she is.
The inspiration for Cry Baby struck when Melanie, who hails from Baldwin, NY, became obsessed with vintage toy sounds. The musician began writing songs and playing guitar at 14, combining her loves for poetry and music. She taught herself to play since her parents couldn't afford to send her to guitar lessons, and was influenced both by her dad's predilection for old school hip-hop and her own interest in folk songwriters like Regina Spektor and Feist. After appearing on The Voice, Melanie signed with Atlantic and headed into the studio to begin writing songs. During an early session, after Melanie asked her producer to play some toy sounds, she came up with "Dollhouse," the origin of the story.
The album, which Melanie created with producers and songwriters like Kinetics and One Love, embraces childlike themes and imagery, connecting each song together like a children's storybook. But the recent adult experiences in Melanie's own life, with relationships and heartbreak and self-discovery, are juxtaposed against these young aesthetics in a deeply interesting way. "Carousel," which also appeared on last year's Dollhouse EP and was used to soundtrack a trailer for FX's American Horror Story: Freak Show, conjures up a carnival to reveal Melanie's feeling of being stuck in a cyclical relationship.
"Pity Party," which Melanie made with Kara Dioguardi and CJ Baran, revisits Lesley Gore's 1965 classic "It's My Party." The single, a buoyant pop number that draws in ambient trip-hop beats and string augmentation, is a cathartic release, both musically and for Melanie lyrically. The familiar, catchy chorus draws you in, urging the listener to participate in Cry Baby's fury.