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Melanie Martinez Is Born Again on ‘PORTALS’

Melanie Martinez retires her Crybaby persona while discovering a fresher and truer self on her new album, Portals. The long-beloved Crybaby propelled her to alt-pop stardom in the later 2010s, especially with her sophomore move/album release, K-12. Even her subdued funk-pop After School EP saw a lyrical shift of existential understanding unrelated to the former alter-ego, but makes all the more sense on Martinez’s electrifying return on Portals.

Melanie Martinez retires her Crybaby persona while discovering a fresher and truer self on new LP, Portals.
Melanie Martinez, official YouTube

“I wanted to challenge my listeners’ perspective by essentially saying: Just like us, after Cry Baby’s vessel on earth has died, she lives on as a spirit in the cosmos. It was important for me to show the immortality of being a human with this record—to give people hope that there’s life after death.”

Martinez told Apple Music

The 27-year-old admits that while Crybaby “may have died,” the persona “evolved into her newest form.” This mentality is the crux of PORTALS and comes after years of reading past life regression hypnotherapy books. Martinez boils down her research into a 13-track experience that’s to be played as a “forever loop.”

” It [PORTALS] starts at death and ends at womb but loops into itself meant to be played as a forever loop. The same way that our lives are on loop. Dying as an old person to be born all over again anew.

Melanie Martinez told Prelude Press

Track Highlights from PORTALS


“VOID” in a lot of ways is the counterpart to “DEATH,” the first single from PORTALS. While the latter expresses a rebirth from death, “VOID” expresses the not-so-pretty journey to that next step. From the exalting melodic bassline to “the void ate me,” Martinez conquers an ego death through empathy and perseverance.

“Like a priest behind confession walls, I judge myself / Kneeling on a metal grater / Bloody like a body that has died and it’s myself / Tangled in my own intestines / I gotta escape the void.

Lyrics from “TUNNEL VISION” by Melanie Martinez

The upbeat lazy funk of “TUNNEL VISION” was teased in many trailers leading up to the release of PORTALS. The song suggests an narrow-minded individual focusing solely on one goal yet purposefully ignoring contradictive action during its pursuit.

“Follow the tunnel into the portal / Lay all your burdens to rest / Drink from the fountain, death’s holy water / Watch as you’re put to the test.”

Lyrics from “TUNNEL VISION” by Melanie Martinez

In the album’s first written song, Martinez describes it as a “soul cleansing.” With its unfiltered yet acoustic flare, the down-tempo track feels like a candle-lit vigil for Crybaby’s last days on earth, It’s reflective and thoughtful regarding topics of mortality and life’s cycle.

“A few weeks later I sat in my bathtub with my guitar and stayed up all night writing a love song about this light. It was also the very first song I ever wrote for this album.”

Melanie Martinez via Apple Music

Many leaks of this song took TikTok by storm, and, while the finished product feels put together, it’s just as savage. Against the coolly plucked strings, it’s not hard to grasp the main topic is about mensuration. However, Martinez contorts society’s conservative views on feminine care and female autonomy into a man who “lives” for period sex. The light-hearted production ends in an uncomfortable preposition that Martinez does, simply, for fun.

I keep it handy, womb shedding / Any lessons, making room for blessings / Juice melting like raspberry, pomegranate / It’s so scary how my aura got him howling at my moon cycle, baby

Lyrics from “MOON CYCLE” by Melanie Martinez

Described as her “favorite conflict song,” Martinez finally articulates the hardships of her last relationship. The New York native knew she wanted this song to be the most savage lyrically and rewrote many lyrics as they weren’t “mean enough.” She pleaded to be seen by a narcissist against an angsty pop-rock instrumental yet ultimately leaves him on read.

“Every time you tell a lie, I’m prayin’ that you choke / Should’ve listened to the signs and the horoscopes / Hope you never cope, hope you slip on soap.”

Lyrics from “EVIL” by Melanie Martinez

What is your favorite track from Melanie Martinez’s latest album, PORTALS? Let us know in the comments!

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