K-12’s music was horrific and mesmerizing

For four years I waited in an uneasy anticipation, wondering if the wait would be worth it. By year three I had almost forgotten all about it, until the snippets of K-12 began to release, the long awaited album by Melanie Martinez. I couldn’t tell much from the 15 to 20-second long clips of songs, but I was getting excited. Now, after its release on Sept. 6, I can say that the wait was worth it.

Like honey, her melodies cling to every fiber of my being, not letting me go until they are finished. I was completely enthralled. It was intense and haunting and strangely beautiful — it was everything I had wanted from her album.

Yet, when Martinez originally hit the alternative pop music scene with her unique concept album Crybaby, I was not an immediate fan. I brushed her off as a strange new artist and not much more. But, over time, I began to listen to her more, focusing on her dark and thrilling lyrics, and eventually I found myself hooked.

K-12 is a continuation of her story with Crybaby, now set years later as she creates a wonderfully horrific story of high school.

She mixes fun and poppy melodies with a sense of impending doom and chaos in her lyrics. For example, in her song “Show and Tell,” she sings about being displayed like an inanimate doll for others to gawk at, and yet when I listen to it, all I want to do is dance. She is incredible at creating a false reality for her listeners, forcing them to listen closer for the real, darker meaning in her words.

That type of contrast of a pastel pop melody with dark, grim or vulgar lyrics is the definition of beauty in my eyes.

I will say with full confidence that every song in K-12 is beautifully done, and most, if not all of her songs, have a politically and/or socially charged message. One politically charged song is “The Principal,”which deals with issues in corruption and abuse of power, and also lightly challenges the authority of those who run American schools and what their incentives are.

Then there is “Orange Juice,” which is equally as charged but much less accusatory. It centers on the issue of eating disorders, specifically bulimia, and unhealthy relationships with one’s body. It is one of the first songs about an eating disorder that I have heard that properly sympathizes with the ill person without romanticizing the illness.

The only drawback in Martinez’s album is its violent and sometimes vulgar nature. However this can be expected since the lyrics are based in a pastel and dreamy nightmare world.

But if you like dark themes or influence of horror K-12 is perfect for you. It exquisitely showcases the sadness, fear, hope, and triumph of life, and even high school.