Atlantic (Atlantic 75 Series)
Limited edition "Bloodshot" translucent vinyl
Melanie Martinez compels listeners with rebirth on Portals
Third studio album from the Cry Baby singer
Part of Atlantic Records' 75th Anniversary vinyl collection
Melanie Martinez' new muse is a pink-skinned, four-eyed fairy creature that's stuck between Earth and the afterlife. She's using that character to deliver her most introspective lyrics and sounds that move outside her sonic comfort zone, writes Rolling Stone in a 4-Star review.
Martinez is the singer, songwriter and producer on the album Portals. Musically, Martinez strays from the alt-pop sounds of her past to explore pop-rock songwriting, driving drum beats, and voice filters.
"All of the songs on this album are based on past-life-regression therapy books I've been reading for a few years now," she said of the record. "All of them disguised with earthly themes for double/triple meaning, to create a frequency for humans to relate to while still here on Earth." When it comes to making ambitious concept records, there aren't many artists in her class.
Part of the "past life regression" she promised with the LP arrives in songs like "Nymphology," "Moon Cycle," and "Evil," which brazenly provide a new perspective on her past experience, specifically her relationship with alt-rocker Oliver Tree, who has referenced her in lyrics and has used an actress who looked like Martinez in a music video to mock her.
On "Moon Cycle," she sings jarringly crude lyrics about a man who demands sex with a woman who's having her period ("Blood swimming turned him amphibious"), while lacing her lyrics with direct references to Tree's music. And on the standout "Evil," she elevates a searing synth-rock track with scathing lyrics: "Hope you never cope, hope you slip on soap/Crack your head like an egg, wanna see the yolk." Ouch.
"The LP ends with 'Womb,' a metaphor for her own musical rebirth and that of her character's, before the album loops back to repeat a phrase we heard at its start: 'Life is death is life is death.' With Portals, Martinez delivers an effortlessly inventive, mature record that reintroduces her as an artist unafraid to start from scratch and tackle complex, difficult ideas. She isn't hiding behind her baby-pink prosthetics. She's letting us inside her world, and the story she tells is crystal clear." — Rolling Stone