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Material: Melanie Martinez is a glorious trip. She plays the “creepy goth” card to perfection, but not in the classic Siouxsie Sioux/45 Grave deathrock sort of way. Rather, Martinez employs simplistic, childish music box tunes wonderfully, blending them with her contemporary, polished pop and creating something that is utterly infectious but also intriguingly uncomfortable. It all just works; it has since she appeared on The Voice back in 2012, it did on her 2015 debut album Cry Baby, and it did on 2019’s follow-up, K-12. This streamed concert event is called "Can’t Wait Till I’m Out of K-12," celebrating that album and the accompanying film (you really have to see it), so the bulk of the material is naturally from that.
Musicianship: What we see is essentially a theatrical performance, so the musicianship is going on off-screen. It is, as you’d expect, perfectly produced. Meanwhile, Martinez’s voice is stunning. She’s able to coo like a creepy doll when the song requires it, but also belt a tune out. She’s astonishingly versatile, and she perhaps doesn’t get the credit that she deserves from a wider audience and critics.
Performance: This is where Martinez and her team excel. What we’re watching is pure theater, as Martinez changes her costume numerous times and she’s flanked by some well-worked dancers. It’s hard to tear your eyes away as they destroy a cake or interact in a manner which illustrates any particular song. It’s worth nothing that Martinez had planned her biggest world tour yet for 2020 but it was cancelled for obvious reasons. The planning that goes into something of that magnitude is immense, so it’s essentially small reward to be able to showcase some of what we missed out on. But on the plus side, it is a spectacular show. Hopefully we’ll be able to see it for real in the not too distant future.
Summary: Melanie Martinez doesn’t rush releases; there have been a few years between albums thus far, because she isn’t one to compromise her artistic vision. The downside is that, in these times of instant gratification, she disappears from public view for months at a time. What we tend to forget is how unique, innovative and fascinating a pop artist Martinez is. She’s one of the best in the game, and it’ll be interesting to see what her third album offers. You can be certain that it won’t be dull.