Singer and songwriter Melanie Martinez just released her feature-film directorial debut, K-12, a fantasy movie/album that will surely captivate the imagination of millions around the world.
A remarkable fantasy adventure
K-12 follows the misadventures of the singer’s titular character, Cry Baby, and her friend, Angelita, as they travel through a surreal school-themed landscape of magic and dystopia. And yes, Cry Baby is the same persona featured in Martinez’ 2015 album of the same name.
The fantasy film has amazing visuals and a well-defined style, featuring over-stylized imagery full of colors and seemingly childish aesthetics (including the time-tested motif of kids with magical abilities facing off against evil adults). But behind that fair façade lies a profound artistic analysis of contemporary society, tackling serious issues such as bullying, authoritarianism, patriarchy, individualism, body image, peer pressure, toxic relationships, transphobia, and gender inequality. All this playing alongside the insightful lyrics and daring composition of the singer’s catchy songs and unique style. What else could you ask for?
So, yeah. This is not your average pop-singer album. K-12 takes risks and is not afraid to delve into difficult topics, voicing relevant criticism at a corrupt system in the process. For example, when two security guards hauled away an African American student who refused to stand for the school’s “oath of allegiance,” the allegory shines through clear enough. “The villains are these people at the top of the system who are abusing their power,” Martinez told Newsday. “They’re representative of people who are in power right now, in this Administration.”
A rising superstar
Melanie Martinez rose to fame after reaching the Top 6 on NBC’s The Voice back in 2012. As she kept busy writing and recording new albums, her career blossomed into an incredible success—which gave her the chance to set the terms for her future projects. She directed several videos for her thematic album, Cry Baby, whose title and main character are based on the nickname her bullies gave her as a child.
As a result of her on-hands approach, Martinez was actually able to not only write and sing K-12, but to direct it as well. “I really pushed for a video for every song on my album,” the singer said. “I wanted people to listen to it from the very beginning to the very end.” Atlantic Records, the label behind the film/album, backed the project from the beginning, reportedly investing over $5 million on its production.
K-12 was presented in Los Angeles on September 3 ahead of its worldwide release. It is now available on Amazon, iTunes, and Youtube.
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