Rusty training wheels. Sippy-cups filled with poison. Bloody baby dolls. Melanie Martinez brings all of these things together on her Cry Baby tour.
In 2012, Martinez debuted on The Voice, only to get voted off during finals. This didn’t stop the now 20 year old, who released her Dollhouse EP in 2014, and Cry Baby this year. Martinez performed her eerily childlike fantasy album at the Loft on October 22.
Handsome Ghost, an electronic-folk, self described “indie prom” band opened for her. Their ethereal sound caught the crowd’s attention as they covered The 1975 and Passion Pit along with performing their own music from the newly released EP, Steps.
At the time, Halloween was right around the corner — when Martinez took the stage, she made it feel like it came early. Her creepy persona is reminiscent of the Electra Heart era of Marina Diamandis’ career. Martinez’s alter ego dressed up in little girl garb as she belted about esteem, violence, and more.
The juxtaposition of childlike themes with largely adult topics was off-putting. But that’s the point. As vintage toy sounds are laced through tracks about self discovery, the audience can see Martinez become more comfortable in her own skin. This culminated in her final performance, “Mad Hatter,” which uses Carol’s classic to proclaim, “You think I’m crazy, you think I’m gone. So what if I’m crazy? All the best people are.” This is one of the most self-actualized songs on the album, and because of this, its placement seemed intentional.
The concert was raw. Although the set looked like it was out of a children’s book with big block letters that spelled out “Cry Baby” and band members dressed in sparkly cat ears, her voice still carried a sense of stripped down emotion as songs like “Mrs. Potato Head” talk about modern beauty standards and “Pity Party” illustrate feelings of isolation. These ideas, applicable to a large audience, is what makes Martinez so popular. Looking around the crowd, there was lots of diversity, showcasing how accessible her sound is — we’re all cry babies at heart.