Melanie has done it again: K-12 album review


Angel Harper

Melanie Martinez, dressed in a purple costume, in the “Detention” music video.

Angel Harper, Reporter

Melanie Martinez is an indie and pop artist who is best known for her songs “Pacify Her” and “Play Date.” She first appeared on “The Voice” in 2012, and she debuted with her single “Dollhouse” along with an EP of the same name. She released her sophomore album, “K-12,” in 2019 and will release her third album, “Portals,” on March 31.

Wheels on the Bus

When I first listened to the album, I didn’t care for this song. I thought, “Wow a song about sitting on a bus and having a questionable bus driver, what’s new.” But after watching the film “K-12,” I developed a different perspective on the song. The film showed the students on a pink bus wearing colorful outfits. Now everytime I listen to “Wheels on the Bus” I imagine those pretty costumes. This made the song one of my favorites on the album. I love it so much that I learned the choreography of it to dance along. Furthermore, the track also serves its purpose as an introduction to the rest of the album because it perfectly sets the melodramatic tone.

Favorite lyric: “Now, Imma light it up and pass it / Puff puff and pass it”

Rating: 8/10

Class Fight

This song is cute. It’s fun. It’s about fighting over a boy in the playground. But it’s also boring. I do like how Martinez sounds like she is talking and singing, especially because some parts of the song are a conversation between her parents. This is made clear in lines like “Mommy,  why do I feel sad?’’ and “Daddy chimed in, “Go for the throat”. I find it funny how Crybaby, the main character in the movie and the character the album is about, is encouraged by parents to fight. It is also cool that the fight was foreshadowed in “Wheels on the Bus” when she mentions her crush.

Favorite lyric: “And my one true love called me a monster”

Rating: 6/10

The Principal

This song used to be my favorite, but after listening to other songs on the album, it just isn’t as good. The lyrics are provocative, but controversial because people couldn’t determine if this song was about Donald Trump or authority in general. I don’t think it’s about Trump because Martinez doesn’t diss individuals in her songs often instead choosing to comment on society as a whole. But then again it does say “the principal,” which is singular, so it’s up to interpretation. Either way, “The Principal” is a good song, but it isn’t as good as I thought it was.

Favorite lyric: “Shooting at the angels while claiming you’re the good guy”

Rating: 7/10

Show & Tell

I don’t want to be that person who just disagrees with everyone to be different but…I didn’t like “Show & Tell” that much. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good song, but I don’t agree with the majority of the Cherubs, Martinez’s fandom, when they say this is the best song on the album. To be honest I think that Cherubs only believe that this song is the best one because it went viral on TikTok. I appreciate its meaning about how celebrities are treated in the music industry: always being viewed as “perfect” by the public. The lyrics are typical Martinez lyrics: well-written and impactful. But like the rest of the song, they are forgettable with no standouts.

Favorite lyric: “If I cut myself, I would bleed (kill me) / I’m just like you, you’re like me / Imperfect and human, are we?”

Rating: 5/10

Nurse’s Office

It’s my least favorite. I don’t like the coughing in it; I understand that it’s there to show how sick Crybaby is, but I feel uncomfortable while listening to it. The song makes me feel sick while listening to it. This track had some of the best imagery in the album, putting me in a hospital when I heard it.

Favorite lyric: “Teacher, can I sit right there? / This b**** behind me is cutting my hair.”

Rating: 6/10

Drama Club

What I liked about this song was the number of sound effects used and the mixing. I loved how her voice got squeaked in certain parts and echoed in others. I feel like the lyrics present ambiguity in this song. One of the interpretations is about people doing things they don’t want to do for popularity. The other interpretation is how when some people don’t conform to society’s standards, they are viewed as outcasts. I feel “Drama Club” isn’t as appreciated as the rest of the songs on the album, which is disheartening because of how meaningful this song is. But a downside is the chorus.The word “drama club” is repeated so much in the song that it gets annoying after a while.

Favorite Lyric: “Do I offend you? You’re hanging on my sentences”

Rating: 8/10

Strawberry Shortcake

Now, this is a great song. Martinez got into her feelings and wrote a masterpiece. What I loved about this song is that it taught me about a problem I didn’t know existed: rape culture. Martinez points out that girls are the ones that are usually blamed for getting assaulted or harassed. The lyrics and the way Martinez sings with such raw emotion make me feel the pain of the victims. And to me that is what music is all about: making you feel something you could never have imagined.

Favorite lyric: “That’s my bad, that’s my bad, no one told them not to grab”

Rating: 9.5/10

Lunchbox Friends

I have a close relationship with this song. I would listen to it on repeat during sad moments in my life like my grandma’s death, which happened in 2017, but I just started processing it in 2019. So the song always makes me emotional, even though it’s about fake friends, not death. I guess that the pain in Martinez’s voice when she sang the chorus just connected with me. “Lunchbox Friends” is a standout in this album.

Favorite Lyric: “Come to my house, let’s die together / Friendship that will last forever”

Rating: 8/10

Orange Juice

Oh gosh…we go from one emotional song to the next in this album. It’s hard for me to convey how I feel about this song. I often find myself struggling to decide whether I love or hate this song, because of that I can’t give it a proper rating.

Favorite lyric: “I wish I could tell you that you’re fine, so fine / But you will find that disconcerting”

Rating: 5/10


The melody is so pretty. The chorus is so catchy. The lyrics are so relatable. I love every aspect of this song. especially the chorus. I love how Martinez’s voice sounds when she sings this part of the chorus “baby, can you meet me tonight in detention?” Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album because of the catchy lyrics and fun beat.

Favorite lyric: “Stop calling up my phone tryna say that I’ve been out of line / When all I ever asked was to go to the bathroom”

Rating: 10/10

Teacher’s Pet

I am always disturbed while listening to this. The song is about a relationship between a teacher and a student.It portrays this so realistically. The lyrics are depressing—the student is just begging to stay with the teacher for good grades. The slow instrumental adds to the student’s desperation for the teacher’s affection, contributing to the depressing atmosphere.

Favorite lyric: “If I pass this quiz, will you give me your babies? / Don’t call me crazy”

Rating: 7/10

High School Sweethearts

This is my favorite song. When I listen to the album on car rides I can’t wait for it to come on. I can’t explain it, but the rhythm and beat of this track make it seem so pleasant and charming. I also love how romantic the lyrics are, they make me wonder what it’s like being in a relationship. Especially with lyrics like “If you think you can be my one and only true love” and “Could you hold me through the night?”

Favorite lyric: “If you think you can be my one and only true love / You must promise to love me”

Rating: 100/10


One word can describe this song: cute. But that’s about it. The song is just a cute ending track, and there isn’t much to it. The beat is adorable, and I love how it feels like I’m in a nursery rhyme because of the little ding in the instrumental.

Favorite lyric: “People gonna say / If you need a break, someone’ll take your place”

Rating: 7/10