Melanie martinez’s album: ‘K-12’ gives her audience a glimpse into school life


Lexi Hackney, A&E Editor

Even though there weren’t any singles released, “K-12” ended up topping the charts at third place on the U.S Billboard 200. With that type of reputation the album has high expectations to meet. For the most part I feel like it meets these standards. 

Wheels on the bus 

Obviously by the song title, listeners can at least guess what the song is going to entail. Despite the songs innocent sounding name and melody, the lyrics are quite observant to say the least. The lyrics go “And I’m trying not to look a row behind me ‘Cause Jason’s got his a*s on the glass” In this song Melanie has a birds eye view of what is happening. And what she is observing is the song  itself, especially the chaos she calls a bus ride to school. 

Class fight

Honestly, I like “Class Fight” because of the message it sends. Using the repetitive lyrics of “No, no, no, don’t you choke” Melanie is telling young girls and older women alike to not care what a boy thinks of you. The phrase “don’t you choke” adds to the fight scene. It’s saying to not mess up and allow someone else to hurt you.  In the music video Melanie fights another girl to get a chance with a boy in their class. This is too stereotypical. Melanie and other female artists shouldn’t be preaching to fight for a man, but instead to fight for themselves. Despite the pressure to find a romantic relationship, girls don’t need to fight for it. 

Strawberry shortcake

The song talks about the pressure girls have to have appealing figure while also not showing it because boys can’t handle themselves. Society always uses the phrase “boys will be boys” to dismiss when boys don’t know how to act. The lyric “That’s my bad, that’s my bad, no one told them not to grab” shows how there are rules for girls. Society taught boys not to admit their mistakes or bad behavior regardless of whether it’s actually their fault. That’s why I enjoy this song, it addresses what no one wants to talk about. 

Show & tell

Show and Tell illustrates the struggles of being of music artist. The job has many perks, but also many struggles. As someone who has had rumors spread and believed about her, Melanie Martinez has plenty to write a song about. That’s where this song comes into play. The lyrics “Harsh words if you don’t get a pic with me, buy and sell, like I’m a product to society” shows the reality of being in the public eye. Melanie Martinez wasn’t always a star. She started out on the voice. Even though she didn’t win, her fan base grew from there and she continued making music. 

 Drama club 

This song doesn’t rely on the audience listening to the song to get the message across. To get the full story watching the music video changes the song entirely. Listening to the song alone, I thought the message was just about drama and how Melanie doesn’t want to be apart of it. But when I watched the music video I saw a completely different interpretation. In the beginning, she refuses to be apart of the show and they force her into a role anyway. She has to play the role of a housewife: sweet, quiet, and obedient. Obviously she breaks away from this role making everyone else realize how much oppression there is in their society. The only thing I would change is some of the lyrics to allow the audience to listen to the song without the video and still get the message. The song doesn’t really talk about women being oppressed and Melanie’s stance like the music video does. 

Lunchbox friends

Lunchbox friends is yet another one of her songs with a melody and title that gives the illusion of innocence. Until you listen to the lyrics that is. The term “lunchbox friend” means someone you only hang out with at lunch. Typically a lunchbox friend is a person you gossip with, someone you only consider your friend during that 30 minute period. Personally I’m not a big fan of this song just because of how repetitive it is. Also I don’t have a connection with this song like I do others. During lunch when I was in elementary school I didn’t really have alot of friends. I was the type of kid to bring a book to the lunch table instead. 

Teacher’s pet

This song needed to be written and I’m glad someone finally did it. Unfortunately in today’s society these situations happen. I enjoyed listening to how she perceived such a controversial topic and turn it into a song. The lyrics “Caught the teacher giving his eyes to a student, Thought he pretty cute and she bit her lip back to him” Starting off a song by immediately addressing inappropriate relationships makes a big statement. The song itself is one giant statement. As a whole, this song addresses a sensitive topic correctly, which is why I like it. 

Nurse’s office

For most students the nurse’s office is somewhere you go to get away. It’s a safe haven for when you get hurt and need help. This is what Melanie is singing about. From personal experience, nurses are there to help and comfort you after you’ve been injured. This song reminds me of when I was in elementary school. Some of the memories were good, others not so much. But just that glimpse into my past makes me like this song. I don’t know why but this song seems familiar. As if I’ve heard it somewhere else before. The beat of the song is strong which is why I think I’ve heard it somewhere else. 

The principal

For some reason this song just speaks to me. It’s always been really had for me to respect authority figures such as principal’s since I was little. Now I have learned better, but I still feel like respect is something earned and not just handed out.  This song is all about authority figures taking advantage of their place, harming the people around them. The lyrics say “Sneaky, greedy, money seeking… Forced to follow the leader, Who’s being possessed by demons” This says a lot of truth about some of today’s leaders. I like this song but I feel as if some of Melanie’s songs sound alike in some way. I wish she would change her beats up a little bit. 

Highschool sweethearts

For some reason I never really have liked this song. I don’t really understand the concept of “highschool sweetheart” I know some listeners who have gone through that stage of highschool love would like it. I on the other hand have not. The beat of the song itself isn’t bad, but I feel like I would enjoy it more if I had a connection to the lyrics.


Orange juice

I like the lyrics of this song but after a while certain topics can become repetitive and boring. This obviously isn’t her first song, or even her second, about eating disorders, or I wouldn’t have mentioned it. It’s not like it’s a bad topic to write a song about but I feel like there’s something more she could have done with this song. She didn’t have to refer to an eating disorder as a fruit to make it a good song. As for the music itself I really like that part. The instruments work really well with her voice to create a sweet sounding melody with that is just like, well Orange juice. I hope in the future we can hear more of this.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           


I definitely like any song reminding me to take a break and breathe . I don’t just like the song for that reason though, the message is one I can stand behind. Melanie is saying to watch your back, it’s ok to take a break, don’t let someone else make you feel inferior. Two years ago, I could have definitely used this song. I was really struggling with my mental health and always had severe anxiety about what people thought of me.  I hope more people listen to the song and enjoy it as much as I have.


A song about people being convinced they have to put on happy faces intrigues me. Her theory of everyone only caring about themselves, except for when someone else does something wrong is brilliant.  That idea is confronted with lyrics such as “I’m physically exhausted… Sadness, can’t you see it?” and “Pretending everything’s alright is detention” When someone goes against “norms” they are punished and are expected to hide their pain.  For these reasons I think this song might be my favorite. 


As a whole I feel the album is pretty good. There are some things she could have changed but for one person writing, singing and directing a 13 song album I’d say it’s pretty impressive. She went from a contestant on “The Voice” to a full fledged music artist. The rating I would give this album is ★★★★☆.