Martinez covers social issues in second studio album K-12


This is not owned by hhsmedia

K-12 album cover. This is Martinez’s second studio album which has sold over 57,000 units.

bum cover. This is Martine’z

Melanie Martinez Infographic“Ever since I was fourteen and started making music, my main goal was to always create music that can help people heal,” Musician and director Melanie Martinez told TheWrap in an exclusive interview

Following up the success of her first album Cry Baby, which charted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 57,000 units, Martinez develops and catches us up on Cry Baby’s life with her second studio and concept album, K-12. Covering issues such as bulimia, societal expectations on women and the reality of being a celebrity, Martinez shows that she’s grown out of her pacifier and ready to speak her mind. 

Wheels On the Bus 

Opening the album with the start of an engine, Martinez intertwines her old roots of lullaby melodies and playful production in this opening track. Grasping the realities of high school, Wheels on the bus creates a world of no consequences, singing in the pre-chorus “I know the driver sees it. I know he’s peeking in the rearview mirror, he says nothing.” This theme transitioning over to the chorus, “No one’s watching us. Don’t give a f*ck.” Along with consequences, Martinez exposes school bus mischief such as smoking weed, bullying and public make-out sessions all while on her way to her first day of school. 

Class Fight 

Carrying over child like vibes from Wheels On the Bus, Class Fight highlights schoolyard fighting. Sampling cheers, Martinez subtly implies society’s obsession with fights and pinning people against each other singing in the killer chorus “Mommy, why do I feel so sad. Should I give him away or feel this bad?. ‘No, no, no, don’t you choke. Daddy chimed in go for the throat.’” After fighting her rival for her one true love and winning, a realization hits that there is no real winner, as he calls her “a monster”. 

The Principal

Calling out those in charge, it’s clear that, like the majority of the public, Martinez is fed up with being lied to and messed with. Getting straight to the point in the chorus, Martinez takes advice from her dad and goes for the throat, singing “I’ve tried to make you listen, but you won’t, it’s your way, right? Killing kids all day and night, prescription pills and online fights.” Martinez doesn’t stop there, adding “all you want is cash and hype, f*ck our dreams and that’s not right.” Placing eery violins and consistent phone rings throughout the anthem, Martinez sums up her feelings in the bridge and closing lines “You don’t know the pain that you are causing, yeah, your actions hurt, so do your words. The more you try to f*ck us over, we will be yelling at your front door.”

Show and Tell

Martinez continues her streak of exposing and calling out on the fourth track of the album Show and Tell. On this track, Martinez pulls the strings, unveiling the corrupt puppeteers in the music industry that hide behind the scenes controlling artists as she sings in the verse “You pull me by my hair, so I don’t go nowhere. Tell me you love me but you treat me like I’m never there.” going on to the chorus adding “Buy and sell. Like I’m a product of society. Art don’t sell, unless you’ve f*cked every authority.” Not only does Martinez shine a light on the industry, she also explains the harsh reality that comes with fame. Receiving criticism for something as small as declining pictures, Martinez feels as though she has to tread with caution ending verse two with “It’s really hard for me to say just how I feel. I’m scared that I’ll get thrown away like a banana peel”. 

Nurse’s Office

As echoed coughs appear throughout the track, Nurse’s Office is one of Martinez’s most experimental songs on the album. Covering bullying and the toll it has during high school, Martinez expresses the reality of how though the pain might not appear on the surface, it can still maintain a hold on someone’s life internally. Martinez further explains these emotions taking over and affecting her outlook on school singing “Yeah, I’m coughing. I’m bleeding, Band-Aids, won’t heal it. Cause they hate me, so I’m faking. All of it, so they take me”. Singing these lines in pain, she’s tired of ditching, and it’s all getting old. 

Drama Club

Starting off strong, Martinez opens the song bluntly “Everyone’s so soft, everyones so sensitive. Did I offend you? You’re hanging on my sentences.” Calling out cancel culture, Martinez makes it clear that she’s not taking anyone’s bullshit. Layering angelic backing vocals over the chorus, Drama Club builds anticipation and hones in on what being in a drama filled environment feels like. With every move under a magnifying glass, Martinez has a message for those wasting time dissecting her choices singing “You’re over-analyzing every word I say. There’s a whole world out there, you’re living a play.”

Strawberry Shortcake 

Double standards have always been around for women. In the seventh track on the album, Martinez tackles these double standards head on. Opening the song singing about insecurities, Martinez relays the thoughts that have been shoved down the throats of women for centuries as she sings “Feeling unsure of my naked body. Stand back, watch it taking shape. Wondering why I don’t look like Barbie. They say boys like girls with a tiny waist.” Martinez continues this double standard in the pre-chorus singing “Got sent home to change ‘cause my skirt is too short”.  Not only does Strawberry Shortcake call out the double standards forced upon women, it also calls out rape culture and how it fosters the mentality that it’s the womans fault. Singing words that are often used against women in the chorus, Martinez once again gas lights the issue, and how those words are so far from the truth singing “It’s my fault, it’s my fault ‘cause I put icing on top. Now, the boys want a taste of the strawberry shortcake. That’s my bad, that’s my bad, no one taught them not to grab. Now, the boys want a taste of the strawberry shortcake.”

Lunchbox Friends 

Like Show and Tell, Lunchbox Friends tells the harsh truth of what being famous and having people around you who want to be your friend can feel like. Martinez exposes the fakeness that surrounds her and how, day to day, people try and use her success for their own. Distorting her voice and using calming piano runs, Martinez makes it clear that she just wants friends, real friends. Though it sounds simple, the star has also realized she can’t have the life that they have because of the strict, unfair rules her job requires “Want a baby in the back with the man of their dreams. That isn’t the life for me. Gotta look like a f*ckin’ damn barbie.” Along with not being able to have things in her life that she’d like, Martinez is judged for the things she does have and the choices she chooses to make adding “Going on tv, people have high expectations of me. Wanna be my best friend then, judge me If I smoke a little weed, makes no f*cking sense to me”.

Orange Juice 

In this next track, Martinez discusses the eating disorder bulimia and the part it plays in high school culture. Pouring orange juice throughout the song, Martinez uses laid back production, drawing attention to the words she has to say. Acknowledging societal body expectations once again as she sings “Your body is imperfectly perfect, everyone wants what the others working. No orange juice” in the pre-chorus, Martinez again gives important advice to those listening, singing in the bridge “I wish I could give you my set of eyes, ’cause I know your eyes ain’t working. I wish I could tell you that you’re fine, so fine but you will find that disconcerting”. Once the chimes and distorted falceto comes to a close, Martinez puts a clear stamp on her presence in the industry, and that she’s not just here to sing a song, but consistently spread a message. 


“I’m not a bad guy, so don’t treat my bad if I’m feeling sad alright. Please don’t be mad, if I don’t smile back alright?” On Detention, Martinez takes into account and preaches about the handle school can have on a student’s life. Coming at a time where she felt trapped, Martinez takes this suffocating feeling and puts it into words singing “I’m physically exhausted. Tired of my knuckles beating. I’m chewing gum to pass this time of sadness can’t you see it? You’re to busy seeking selfish wishes, don’t care how I’m feeling. You write me up and say it’s love, and I can’t believe it.” With fun production and another anthem like chorus, Martinez adds another bop to her discography with this tenth track on the album. 

Teacher’s pet

If these lyrics make you uncomfortable, good, that’s the point. Using dark tones and a building anticipation, Martinez tells the story of a disgusting reality that occasionally occurs among teachers and students. Starting in the pre chorus singing “You love me but you won’t come see me. You got a wife and kids you see them daily. Don’t know why you even need me.” Martinez slides subliminal messages in the song and subtly makes it obvious in the chorus that that teacher doesn’t love you, he’s using you, and how the child will be forever impacted by it. “Do you regret the things we shared that I’ll never forget. Well do you? Tell me that. I know I’m young, but my mind is well beyond my years. I knew this wouldn’t last, but f*ck you, don’t you leave me here. Teacher’s pet.” Appearing throughout the song and closing the track, it begs the question “If I’m so special why am I secret?” 

High School Sweethearts

Making her presence known, Martinez stuns as she graces this track with beautiful harmonies and heavenly vocals giving a standout performance on K-12. Going through the steps, Melanie admits on this track that it’s going to take more than a pretty face to be her one true love. Sung heartbreakingly in the introduction and chorus, Martinez pours her heart out and faces the facts singing “Can we just be honest? These are the requirements. If you think you can be my one and only true love. You must promise to love me and damn it if you f*ck me over. I will rip your f*cking face apart.” Looking for a one time thing, Cry Baby (Martinez) doesn’t have time to waste because in step eleven “if you cheat you will die.


In true Melanie fashion, the artist closes out her second studio album tying everything up neatly in a pastel ribbon. Looking back on a conversation with her grandma, Martinez opens up about the struggle and pressure she’s been under after all the success of her first album. Admitting that she should feel happy, all she feels like doing is laying in bed as she sings in the second verse “Sittin’ in my room, looking at all I’ve done. Everything I wanted has come to fruition. I should be happy, but I can’t get out my bed. Stressin ‘bout the voices screamin’ inside my head.” Facing struggles, Martinez finds a way to get through it in the bridge singing “where has my time gone, and my mind gone? I can’t find euphoria. When I get upset, I think in my head. Back to what she said.”


Print Friendly, PDF & Email