In this blog I want to talk about Melanie Martinez’s album “Crybaby” one of my favorite albums. The album follows a child/teen named Crybaby and each song follows her story/gives input about her life.
Also note I am going to be talking about the music videos as well because they include details you can’t really get from listening to the songs. And I’m not going to be covering the three songs that are added on the deluxe edition: Play Date, Teddy Bear, and Cake.
*I also put my favorite lyrics of each song at the end of the blog post :3*
First song: Crybaby
The music video starts with the birth of Crybaby, in which her mother is heavily upset with her crying (she was literally just born but ok I guess) and exclaims “Oh God she’s a Crybaby” in annoyance, she also soon lights a cigarette in the hospital room. We also see her holding a wine bottle while attempting to feed Crybaby. In this song we get details about Crybaby specifically her sensitivity, one line entailing “You seem to replace your brain with your heart you take things to hard and then you fall apart.” We also get that she has trouble making friends.
Second Song: Dollhouse TW: Drug use, infidelity and alcoholism.
In this song we get a glimpse into her family life. This song to me specifically discusses the picture of a perfect family they attempt to fake while being incredibly dysfunctional. In this song we learn that Crybaby’s mother is an alcoholic, her father is unfaithful, and her brother is a frequent cannabis smoker. Also, a repeated lyric in this song is “Don’t let them see what goes on in the kitchen” a lyric we learn more about in the next song.
Third song: Sippy Cup. TW: Literal murder.
In this song we focus on Crybaby’s mother and father. We see her mother sitting in the kitchen drinking late at night, we follow her mother through this downward spiral, we also see glimpses of crybaby with angel wings which is important for a theory many people have. But sooner or later we find out that the mother’s spiral is caused by the father not being home and when he does a arrive home, he has a woman with her (presumably his mistress) and when her mother sees them, she stabs them to death (in the kitchen) and after covering their bodies with a tarp. Crybaby soon comes in and sees their bodies her mother then appears behind her putting a rag over her mouth appearing to have chloroform or something on it to knock her out. Crybaby then awakes to being tied to her bed and her mother comes into frame with a sippy cup (presumably filled with alcohol) forcing Crybaby to drink it and the video ends. A lot of people believe that by feeding Crybaby the alcohol her mother is “killing her innocence.” and that Crybaby with wings represents her dead innocence.
Fourth song: Carousel
This song is Crybaby’s first venture into love, I believe this is more of a overall crush than a relationship. I don’t consider this to hold much important story. In the song she describes feeling so far away and just longing to get closer to this boy and mentions her heart being stolen. The carousel is mentioned multiple times, her being stuck on it and even referenced in the line “This horse is too slow we’re always this close.” Furthering the point that she wants to get close to this boy. In the music video also shows her repeatedly trying to catch her crush.
Fifth Song: Alphabet Boy
In this song Crybaby is clearly angry and dissing someone a boy. It’s not clear who the boy is in question, but a lot of people consider it safe to assume that Alphabet boy is the same boy from Carousel. In this song Crybaby is calling “Alphabet boy” out on being self-righteous and full of himself and intern viewing her as beneath him. This is clear in “You think you’re smarter than me with all your bad poetry.”
Little Sidenote: This songs use of literation is amazing and so clever.
Always Aiming paper Airplanes At me.
Building me up like Building Blocks just so you can Bring me down.
You Can Crush my Candy Canes but you’ll never Catch me Cry.
And with each new verse that same alliteration starts over in Alphabetical order.
Sixth Song: Soap
In this song Crybaby talks about a new boy she has a crush on and being afraid to say the wrong thing around him. And multiple times referencing washing her mouth out with soap in order to not reveal her feelings for him. At the end we see them kiss and we can assume she has revealed her feelings for him.
Seventh Song: Training Wheels.
This music video follows Johnny (the boy from soap) and Crybaby. We first see Crybaby pulling away from Johnny and then she slowly gets closer to him. Eventually teaching him to ride a bike successfully (without training wheels) once riding own his own we see him ride towards Crybaby who is awaiting a kiss but once he is right in front of her he disappears. The song itself seems to explore the idea of vulnerability within love and by taking off her training wheels Crybaby is fully diving into the risk of getting hurt to love unconditionally.
Eight Song: Pity Party
In this song and music video Crybaby throws some sort of party in which no one shows up. Throughout the video we see Crybaby attempting to keep her composure until towards the end she ultimately breaks at the end destroying the party and the house. Like many songs towards the end, I didn’t really consider this song to have an overarching meaning it was just great storytelling and pushed the plot forward. I do think the incorporation of the scream into the song itself and not just having it in the video is great.
Ninth Song: Tag, You’re it. TW: kidnapping
In the beginning of this music video, we see Crybaby tossing away what seems like party decorations (a sort of callback to pity party). As the video progresses, we see Crybaby being followed by an ice-cream truck that had a wolf (a reference to the big bad wolf). He follows her to a grocery store where a woman with black eyes (possibly foreshadowing to the powers in K-12) hands Crybaby a vile of liquid. When Crybaby goes outside the ice-cream truck is offering free samples once she tries one it knocks her unconscious and the wolf throws her into the back of his truck. I consider this song and the next to not have any overarching meaning, I also want to say that doesn’t mean I think these songs are bad or less than the ones with strong meaning I just think these songs serve more of a storytelling purpose than to spread any specific message.
note about the song: the way it plays with pitch and tone on certain lyrics as a sort of clue that it’s the wolf speaking is a great choice. As it not only still paints a story for people not watching the video but also clues us in on the wolf’s intentions. Example of one of these lyrics include: “I’ll cut you up and make you dinner-You’ve reached the end you are the winner.”
Tenth Song: Milk and Cookies TW: Murder again, but he’s the bad guy so it was cool.
This song follows Crybaby after she had been kidnapped. We see that she is kept in this room with a camera that allows the wolf to watch her from a separate room where there’s a phone next to the chair, he has in front of the television. Crybaby decides to make cookies the wolf watches her until the phone rings while he is distracted, she empties the vile of liquid the woman gave her into the batter. Once he is done on the phone he goes into the room with Crybaby where she offers him a cookie which he takes ultimately killing him and allowing her to escape.
Eleventh Song: Pacify Her
In this song we dive back into Crybaby’s love life. The song follows her as she feigns for this boy’s attention even though he has a girlfriend (I believe they have some type of relationship because of the line “Now I can take her man”). In the song Crybaby is essentially trying to get “blue boy”(it’s what he’s called and he’s literally blue so…yeah) to pick her and stop paying attention to the other girl. The music video follows the same sentiment of her trying to impress which works and they almost kiss until the other girl stands up and flashes (yes flashes, also given the baby theme and the fact they’re in a literal crib this was kind of shocking, and a little icky). But after blue boy gets flashed, he picks the other girl disregarding the connection him and Crybaby had.
The blonde girl is the girl competing with Crybaby not Crybaby herself. Melanie Just played both roles.
Twelfth Song: Mrs. Potato Head TW: talk of body image issues. Music video also shows gruesome footage replicating plastic surgery (it’s not real but still).
This song is very obviously about body image and insecurity as well as touching on plastic surgery, this is clearer in the music video if you don’t pick up on the lyrics. The music starts with Crybaby sitting in front of the television eating cookies and playing with her dolls when a random commercial about blonde wigs (the girl who blue boy chose was blonde) and diet pills. Crybaby stops eating and walks to the bathroom where she puts on a blonde wig and lipstick as well as takes a whole container of diet pills and stuffs her bra full of tissue. She then goes back to the television where a different program begins to play. The program follows a man and a woman in a relationship, the woman is opening up gifts from the man one is a necklace and the next is a coupon/ad for plastic surgery. After some urging, she agrees to under the knife (which we see in gory detail, and I mean detail). After wards she takes off the bandages and it appears she has been botched, the man is visibly (it’s your fault bro but go off I guess). In an attempt to feel beautiful again she cakes her face with makeup, and he gives her a blonde wig (BRO MOVE) after she’s all dolled up, she looks out of the window and sees him giving another young woman flowers clearly flirting with her then program ends. We see Crybaby clearly in shock taking off the wig and taking the tissues out of her bra. This song’s meaning isn’t very hard to interpret it is about how society values looks and how the societal standard for beauty impacts young girls. I love the music videos way of portraying this instead of just shunning plastic surgery overall she shames the idea of changing your appearance for anyone other than yourself.
Thirteenth Song: Mad Hatter TW: I lot of mental health mention: specifically, the use of the word crazy and mentions of a psychiatrist. There’s also a scene where she rips her skin off and it’s a lyric in the song.
There’s also a part where she takes a bite out of a live donut, and it was just kind of gross.
This song has an Alice and Wonderland type vibe. It’s basically just Crybaby embracing her madness. I will talk very briefly about the music video. In the beginning Crybaby is laying on a bad smoking she then proceeds to take a pink liquid and drinks it. This obviously makes her disorientated before she fully passes out, we see two women with black eyes standing over her. After she fully falls into sleep, we follow her dream(?) this is where the Alice and Wonderland feel comes into play. There’s moving food, oversized stuffed animals the whole nine. When Crybaby wakes up, we see that she now also has black eyes then the music video ends. The black eyes again foreshadowing the powers in K-12.
P.S: Sippy Cup’s has also been said to include allegories to eating disorders, but I didn’t go into those, so be weary before you listen.
Favorite lyrics from each song:
Crybaby: “Your hearts too big for your body that’s why it won’t fit inside”
Dollhouse: “Everyone thinks that we’re perfect please don’t let them look through the curtains”
Sippy Cup: “All the makeup in the world won’t make you less insecure”
Carousel: “Right, right when I’m near it’s like you disappear. Where’d you go Mr. Houdini, you’re a freakshow.”
Alphabet Boy: “But you’re not my daddy and I’m not your dolly, and your dictionary’s destroyed”
Soap: “Should’ve never said the word “love”. Threw a toaster in the bathtub.”
Training Wheels: “You’ve been riding two-wheelers all your life. It’s not like I’m asking to be your wife.”
Pity Party: “Maybe if I knew all of them well. I wouldn’t have been trapped inside this hell that holds me.”
Tag you’re it: “Eenie, meeine, miny, mo. Catch a lady by her toes. If she screams don’t let her go”
Milk and Cookies: “Sing you a lullaby where you die at the end.”
Pacify Her: “You don’t love her. Stop lying with those words.”
Mrs. Potato Head: “It’s such a waste. When little girls grow into their mother’s face. But little girls are learning how to cut and paste. And pucker out their lips until they suffocate ha-ha.”
Mad Hatter: “Where is my prescription? Doctor, doctor, please, listen. My brain is scattered. You can be Alice; I’ll be the Mad Hatter.”