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The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Concert Review: Melanie Martinez

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“Carousel,” the theme song for season four of “American Horror Story,” was among the original songs Melanie Martinez played for her doll-dressed fans in the House of Blues on March 26.

On March 29, Boston’s House of Blues found itself inundated with a slew of pastel-haired, candy-colored tutu wearing, heavily made-up “Crybabies.” That’s right: Melanie Martinez was in town for a sold-out show.
Originally from Baldwin, NY, Martinez began writing and playing music at 14. She posted many of her songs on YouTube, and in 2012 made it to the top six contestants on the hit show “The Voice.”
Though she didn’t win the competition, Martinez has seen much success since. After releasing her “Dollhouse EP” in 2014, her song “Carousel” was used as the theme song for the FX show “American Horror Story.” In 2015, Martinez released her full-length album “Cry Baby,” around which her current tour is centered.
“Cry Baby” tells the story of the fictional girl it’s named for—from her beginnings as a crybaby in her dysfunctional family, through her hardships with relationships and self-image, to the eventual self-acceptance of her own darkness. The album deals with issues of heartbreak, substance abuse, sexual struggle, abuse, and body image.
Despite the explicit language and mature themes throughout Martinez’s album, throngs of preteens rushed the doors—with parents not far behind—come show time. I found myself carried in the wave of pastel and glitter onto the main floor to await the opening act.
Alvarez Kings, Martinez’s opener and South Yorkshire, England natives, took the stage right on time. Self-described as progressive indie pop, the band started off with a couple of upbeat songs that blended acoustic guitar and vocals with synth and pop tones.
Consisting of brothers Simon and Paul Thompson, Sean Parkin, and Richard Walker, the group had a cohesive stage presence and actively engaged the crowd. Toward the end of their set, lead vocalist Simon asked the crowd to get out our flashlights for a slow and heartfelt song.
While I thoroughly enjoyed Alvarez Kings’ set, I was ready for Martinez to take the stage. Given the rambunctious crowd, so was everyone else.
At long last, the lights dimmed, and the fog started up. Complete with crib, giant blocks spelling out CRYBABY, and a mobile of creepy baby dolls spinning from the ceiling, the stage was as ready as the crowd. Martinez emerged from her crib and launched right into the album’s namesake: “Cry Baby.”
Not one to talk much on stage, Martinez sang and twirled her way through each song as she musically told the story of Cry Baby. Aside from the occasional “Thank you,” Martinez stopped once in her show to deliver an important message to her fans regarding an incident that took place the night before.
At a previous show, while Martinez was introducing the song “Mrs. Potato Head” (an important song with a serious message), some audience members began yelling and interrupting her, to which she stopped and replied, “I’m talking!”
While Martinez’s performance was full of beautiful twirls and lilting vocals, the crowd itself was a distracting mess of sweaty and pushy young people lacking in basic human decency and show etiquette, as I imagine the previous crowd was.
Unsurprisingly, her comment caused backlash on the internet, and the singer received criticism for speaking out. Before performing the same song at the House of Blues, Martinez took the time to explain her reaction:
“…All I heard was yelling and someone threw something on stage while I was talking. There was a lot going on and I’m really shy…it’s really hard when you feel like no one’s listening to you and you’re pouring your heart out. You know what I mean?”
Despite the issues the night before, Martinez expressed how thankful she was for her fans and for being there performing. Martinez powered through her set, the packed audience belting every song along with her and undulating as one hormonal teenage mass, until the end of Cry Baby’s story came with the song “Cake.”
Before giving her final thanks and taking her leave, Martinez forewarned that she had been struggling with throat issues for the past week: “I’m not going to be able to do an encore because my throat is just done. But I will be back, I promise. I love you guys so much. Thank you so much.”
To check out Melanie Martinez’s music and keep up to date with her tour, visit melaniemartinezmusic.com.