OPINION: “After School” showcases Melanie Martinez’s signature style

Martinez’s most recent album is emblematic of her unique style of songwriting, musical ability



Melanie Martinez’s latest release highlights her original musical voice and creative style.

LAUREN PETTIT, Evergreen columnist

Melanie Martinez’s unique musical style has reached the ears of fans once again with her newest release, “After School EP,” which is saturated with her personal value and meaning in life. The thought-provoking lyrical progression throughout the drop is a well thought out one — stating to the public that she had worked on some of it as early as 2017. As listeners go through the seven songs, it is obvious that this is extremely vulnerable music, while also portraying interesting details about her beliefs and views.

This is the first musical collection that she put out since her amazing film, “K-12.” In 2019, Martinez released a film that focused on her character, “Crybaby.” Viewers can see her character development as the film goes on. The film highlighted and criticized issues that are obvious in today’s system while putting it out for free on YouTube for everyone to access.

Sometime before her release of the “K-12″ film, there were sexual assault allegations from Martinez’s former friend, Timothy Heller. A resolution hasn’t come from this topic, due to the fact that neither party took it to court. Some speculate the allegations are false and some believe them to be true. The most honest way that one can look at this is by doing the research yourself. I believe it best to let people complete the research and choose for themselves what they think the truth is.

“After School” is not focused on the “Crybaby” character, but is instead purely Martinez. In her song, “Numbers” she exposes harsh criticism towards a painful societal system in America that causes her and many others to feel overworked for very little reward. It is not an unpopular opinion that many workers feel uncared about in our country.

The chorus of the song is powerful and strikes a chord for numerous amounts of people “Am I just a number? ‘Cause it seems like that’s your goal. You push us past our limits just to watch decimals grow.” She goes on to sing about how there is so much more magic in life than just this socially constructed norm that we have indoctrinated so easily.

Martinez seems to believe in spirituality over religion, introducing a lot of it through “K-12,” but more specifically in these seven songs. Her inclusion of tarot cards, astrology placements, referring to herself as an empath gives her songs an interesting aspect that isn’t heard often and truly brings something new and special to the table. She shares how certain tarot cards match the energy of her beautifully created songs.

Each song has her inclusion of divine inspiration. The track, “Field Trip” is completely focused on her and is the most centered on this topic, singing about her placements and her personality as an emotionally-sensitive empath.

The one song that seems the least spiritually divine was the track, “The Bakery,” which is honed in on her experience as a young lady working, obviously, at a bakery. Even with the least spirituality included, she still shared that it is connected to the “8 of Pentacles” tarot card which is related to repetitive tasks and skill development.

It has a very catchy tune and beautiful yet unsettling visuals in the music video. The song has been the most popular out of the tracks released and has become popular on TikTok. This is also the only song that she created a music video for, but she shared that she will create a music video if there is enough love for her song, “Test Me.”

Martinez is doing something extremely unique in music and her skill is very personalized. There is not another musician that even hits close to the mark that she is making on music history; she is far too true to herself and her own life path to have anyone in the same category as her. The spiritual path that Martinez is following in her music is finding her with much success and love from her fans.