Album Review: Cry Baby – Melanie Martinez

Cry Baby, Melanie Martinez’s debut album and concept album, was released on August 14, 2015 by Atlantic Records. Cry Baby debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200 albums chart, coming in at #6 with 40,000 total copies sold in its first week. The lead single, Pity Party, was released on June 2, 2015. Melanie leaked the album herself on May 29th, but she later tweeted that she was happy and excited for the fans who had seen it and promised there was “more to come” during her live stream on June 1st.

Melanie Martinez
Melanie Martinez.

Cry Baby is an ambitious album, with songs that tackle themes of love, sex, and death. In the song Cry Baby, a few lyrics stick out. For example, the lyrics, “You seem to replace/Your brain with your heart/You take things so hard/And then you fall apart,” show that the title track draws Cry Baby as an emotional being as a response to the traumatizing experiences throughout her life. She speaks solely from her heart, throwing out the brain’s logic. Whenever someone tells her something about herself, she gets really upset and can succumb to tears. The chorus is especially striking with lyrics, ” They call you cry baby/Cry baby/But you don’t f**king care/Cry baby, cry baby/So you laugh through your tears/Cry baby, cry baby/Cause you don’t f**king care/Tears fall to the ground/You just let them drown”. The first time these lines are sung, it seems sarcastic. Cry Baby does care that people are calling her names, although she swears that she doesn’t care. In the end, Cry Baby owns her name and she understands that humans are emotional beings and are allowed to cry to let it all out. Cry Baby goes through her story, but she doesn’t seem mentally stable anyway, after witnessing her father’s murder, falling in and out of love, being kidnapped, and killing her kidnapper. There are many more lyrics to discover in Cry Baby. The song Dollhouse has some interesting meanings. For example, the lyrics, “Hey girl, open the walls/play with your dolls/We’ll be a perfect family/When you walk away/it’s when we really play/You don’t hear me when I say/Mom, please wake up/Dad’s with a sl*t/and your son is smoking cannabis,” means Martinez is speaking directly to the girl who owns the dollhouse, who’s possibly using the toy as a way to escape from her home life. The theme of this song is a family that seems perfect, but under it all there is pain. The family’s household’s characterized as a dollhouse because both are falsely perfect. They pretend to be perfect in front of other people and the act has everyone fooled. The real nature of the family comes into play when no one else around and the problems will begin. No one is around to see the family in it’s true form, so you don’t know what really goes on in their house. The mother is passed out on the couch due to drinking alcohol, while her husband is out being unfaithful and sleeping with another woman. This is the first specific sign that this family’s not truly perfect. Her brother smokes marijuana behind their parents’ backs. It’s yet another sign of the family’s less-than-moralistic nature.

Cry Baby Album cover
The album cover.

This is a great album. Although there are some slightly dark lyrics, the songs are amazing. I have always loved Melanie Martinez from her days on The Voice, and I think she did a fantastic job on this album.


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