“PORTALS (Deluxe)”- Melanie Martinez Album Review

Story posted April 12, 2023 in

The true master of world-building has returned to present audiences with yet another wondrous universe.

With the assistance of crafty promotion on social media, Melanie Martinez announced her new release would be the death of her character, Crybaby, the previous protagonist of her previous albums, and the return of something new.

Martinez’s last music drops were “K-12,” which was released in 2019, and an autumn EP, “After School,” released in 2020.

The deadly anticipation created by her absence and sudden return was captivating and brought a lot of hype around the music and lore that was to come.

Martinez released her album “PORTALS” on March 31 and the deluxe version, with three additional tracks, on April 5.

The album keeps Martinez’s indie alternative pop genre and leans into experimentation with autotune and electronic.

The titles of the songs predominately pertain to supernatural topics which go along with the otherworldly theme of portals.

Continuing with her greatness in lyricism, Martinez wrote all of the tracks and co-produced several including “DEATH,” “VOID,” “FAERIE SOIREE” and “LIGHT SHOWER.”

“DEATH” and “VOID,” which are also the first two tracks,  became fairly popular upon their single releases and set the expectations of the estranged universe that Martinez wanted to create.

Outside of the singles, “THE CONTORTIONIST” is one of the more popular songs on the album.

The song reveals a story of a strenuous relationship that Martinez said is about “bending over backwards for someone who doesn’t accept you as you are.”

“TUNNEL VISION” is another fairly popular track that has one of the best intros on the album that honestly could have stood as an interlude.

This song sounds more like Martinez in its style and is considerably familiar to long-time listeners.

Since the release, Martinez has explained what all of the first 13 tracks from the album meant and some of the effort that went into creating them on her Instagram story. She also went into the inspiration that she got from toxic love experiences.

The added songs from the deluxe album are experimental and presumably personal as well but seem a bit more appealing somehow.

“POWDER” plays with autotune intensively and sounds really pretty making Martinez's breathy voice hold a deeper tone and is over an upbeat.

“PLUTO” has fun jazzy properties using a brass instrument, likely a tuba, and some flutes, and then jams out in a punk metal-esque manner that sets it apart from every other song on the album.

“MILK OF THE SIREN” uses harmonizing voices and adds a slightly Western carnival, burlesque sound to spice up the track and it is really fun underneath Melanie’s vocals. It sounds especially similar to “TUNNEL VISION” in its intro.

This album absolutely rocks out and although some of the songs fall a bit flat in comparison to the rest of the album it is good overall.

Additionally, it must be said that this album contains some of Melanie’s best transitions particularly from “MOON CYCLE” to “NYMPHOLOGY” to “EVIL” and “FAERIE SOIREE” to “LIGHT SHOWER.”

Still, it would not be the first album to show to non-Melanie fans.

After the creativity of the movie “K-12,” hopefully Melanie is able to create a film of equal quality if not better.

Rating: 8/10

Otherworldly Songs: “PLUTO,” “DEATH,” “THE CONTORTIONIST”

Reviewer’s Least Liked Songs: “MOON CYCLE”

Erell Williams is a second-year majoring in broadcasting journalism. To contact her, email exw5303@psu.edu.

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Erell Williams

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Erell Williams is a first-year student, and her intended majors are Broadcasting Journalism and Chinese. She grew up in Douglassville, Pennsylvania. She is a member of the CommRadio News and Arts department. To contact her, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).