Student Press of Braden River High School
 

“K-12 (The Film)” brings color to the dark side of school

Melanie Martinez makes a powerful comeback with her new album and film

Singer and songwriter Melanie Martinez released a new album, “K-12”, on Sept. 6, along with a movie that features her own songs, script and visuals to accompany it. 

In Melanie Martinez’s debut studio album, “Cry Baby”, she took on a character role as a way to communicate social issues regarding children and young teens. “K-12” explores new issues as the film follows her character, Cry Baby, through school in a fantastical way. Cry Baby’s school is portrayed as a hellish prison with no escapes to create an eerie feel.

Like her previous album, “K-12” is based on real world problems happening to children and teens in their scholarly years. Martinez’s use of juxtaposition – with cutesy, lullaby-like instrumentals and deep, eerie lyrics – makes the impact of her music more apparent. The contrast is clear in her film as well, helping to get across the message that things are not always what they seem.

The album addresses gun violence, gender roles, eating disorders and other prevalent issues that may be triggering to students. 

I feel like she covered just about everything,” junior Delaney Bumbara said. “It’s different for every school but a problem schools have to deal with is students doing drugs and she didn’t really touch on that.”

In her previous album, Martinez wanted to create a film to go further in depth with her Cry Baby storyline, but she never got the chance to do so – until her second album, when she got to do just that.

 “I think with the film, it’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to putting something down and actually executing it and finishing it and having it be so close to what I saw in my head,” Martinez said in an interview with AltPress.

Martinez describes her music and film to be similar to Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands”, which has strong juxtaposition as well. The comparison is shown in not only the writing but the screenplay, too: the school itself looks calm, perfect and almost picture-like, yet the deeper into the film one goes, the more they realize this is not the reality.

I would expect her new album to have many forms of figurative language, similar to her last album,” sophomore Bryanna Mansi said.

Unlike other artists who have documentaries of their albums and tours, Martinez’s movie is a musical, with fictional characters both returning from her previous album or newly created.

I don’t think anybody can do a better job at it than she did,” Bumbara said.

The 90-minute film earned over a million views within nine hours of being released. On opening night, “K-12” was played in theaters, and the film is still available on YouTube.

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