Back from the dead: ‘Portals’ shows a new side of Melanie Martinez

Mia Fox, Sports Editor

The new album ‘Portals’ by American singer-songwriter-filmmaker Melanie Martinez was released on March 31. This is her first full length album release in almost four years following “K-12” that was released in September of 2019. With her past album she created a movie that perfectly incorporated every song on the album into a film.

The purpose of the latest album is to make her audience comfortable with the thought of death, afterlife, and reincarnation. She buries her former character Cry Baby and shows herself in a new light along with her album. This emphasizes that her new album “Portals” is her ‘back from the dead.’

Her new muse is a four-eyed, pink skinned mystical fairy creature that is stuck in between the realms of Earth and the afterlife. She uses this character to portray her music in a new and creative way that adds more to her introspective lyrics and groundbreaking music. 

“Death” is the first song Martinez released on March 17, 2023 as a single teasing her new album. This song, being the first she has dropped in almost four years, set the tone for the rest of the album. The song has a substantial shift in tone with a dramatic beat drop that set in stone the reinvention of the new Melanie Martinez. 

The second song she released before the album was “Void.” This song blew up on TikTok as a sound that emphasizes becoming someone new and not being content with your former self. Another song that gained its popularity through TikTok is “The Contortionist” with creators making their own version of her new character that was created within this LP. 

The songs “Spider Web” and “The Contortionist” are meant for her fans that want to reminisce on her Cry Baby era and her previous albums. These songs include Martinez’s famous xylophone melody and sound effects of bone cracking that relate to the song “Nurse’s Office” on “K-12.” “Spider Web” has a strong backbeat but is unique in the sense of the risks she takes with other instrumentals. 

“Battle Of The Larynx” is a beautiful and satisfying song that is a metaphor for a fight between two people. One person simply yells a bunch of nonsense and is trying to intimidate the second person whereas the other person is staying calm and attempting to clearly explain their perspective. The two voices overlap and create an alluring harmony with a powerful message. 

The eleventh song on the album is “Nymphology,” a song more targeted towards men who put people who present feminine in a stereotype of taking the healer/mother role in their life. The song also targets men with god complexes by saying “auctioned to the selfish man who thinks that he’s a prophecy,” this is meant to portray toxic masculinity and how negatively men treat women. This song has an eloquent message hidden in the lyrics that encourage feminine people to take control of their lives and prevent others from manipulating them. 

The LP ends with “Womb,” a creative metaphor referencing her own musical rebirth. The album loops back from the first to last song by repeating the phrase “Life is death is life is death.” The innovation behind “Portals” reintroduces Martinez as an alternative artist who is unafraid of her past experiences and uses them to strengthen herself and her art through her music and complex characters. 

This then leads into the three newly released songs on the deluxe version of the album that were released on April 5, 2023. “Milk of the Siren” is the most fitting with the rest of the album and has the same mix of the heavy beat drop with the whimsical vocals that Martinez uses. “Powder” and “Pluto” have an ethereal ambiance within themselves that beautifully flow with the instrumentals. 

This LP has the perfect amount of oddities mixed into it that makes it stand on its own while still somewhat relating to her past albums. There is a creepy yet ethereal ambiance in the whole album that gives it personality and brings her new muse to life.