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Review: "VOID" - Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez has the natural proclivity for including meticulous details and ominous aesthetics throughout her artistic career. Her music is often connected to previous songs and projects, making fans anticipate her next releases even more. Her latest single, “VOID,” continues with the concept of the afterlife found in her hit song, “DEATH.” She provides fans with a deeper insight of the inner workings of her mind, while maintaining her characteristic mysterious disposition. Throughout the track, she describes the anxious thoughts that run through her mind, confessing that she often overthinks and harshly criticizes herself. The song kicks off with Martinez repeating the eerie intro, “In the void, in the void,” before the first verse begins. The verse immediately sets the vulnerable scene, ending with the lines: “There’s rotten things left in me// Injected by society// No one here but me to judge me.” She admits that she is her own worst enemy. She has been sucked in by the negative thoughts that society has forced upon her. Even when she is alone, she still feels evaluated by these societal standards—ones that no one can uphold. In the pre-chorus, she continues the self-loathing message with the lyrics: “I hate who I was before.” Martinez is likely referring to her former persona, Crybaby, who was found in past projects. In her previous single, “DEATH”, this character was killed off and resurrected into a new persona. She has made it clear to fans that Crybaby is who she once was, but this new character is who she is now. Then, the pre-chorus continues with the grim lines, “I fear I won’t live to see the day tomorrow// Someone tell me if this is Hell,” before she breaks into the emotionally honest chorus. Martinez sings, “I gotta escape that void// There is no other choice, yeah// Tryna turn the voices// The void ate me.” She is screaming for help while she is stuck in this severe depression. She feels swallowed by the darkness with no hope of escaping—the darkness being her own self-loathing. The void she is stuck in is an inescapable purgatory that causes her to continually repeat the same detrimental patterns. Martinez recognizes the harm, but she cannot seem to stop. She conveys this with the lyrics, “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.” This morbid metaphor illustrates Martinez harshly judging herself for the negative things only she sees in herself. As a result, she imposes severe punishments that turn into a gruesome cycle she cannot escape from. She is lost in this dark void, fighting for a way back into the light—into self-love and acceptance. This unique take on self-hatred and mental illness further exemplifies Martinez’s innate ability to turn her deepest sorrows into a hauntingly beautiful masterpiece.

VOID holds a special place in both Martinez’s heart and in the hearts of her devoted fans. It is the first track that the artist produced solely on her own. The song begins with high end guitar chords being played fingerstyle, backed by the keyboard chords. After a couple measures, Martinez’s vocals are altered with an eerie voice effect as she repeats the statement, “in the void.” As it continues, the statement speeds up and increases in volume, audibly representing the unrelenting anxiety that she feels in this personal hell. The song effortlessly flows from this straight into the steady bassline leading the chorus, paired with Martinez’s compelling vocals. The bassline stands out for more than one reason. First, it is played at a register that could be captured on a normal guitar, but it is played on a bass. Furthermore, it is even more unique because Martinez has confessed that the bass guitar top line was the exact melody that she composed in a voice memo when initially writing the track. As a result, the chorus and the lyrics were born from the bassline. Along with the bass, Martinez initially added a synth drumbeat that was later replaced by her drummer’s live performance, heard in the final recording. In the second half of the verse, there are three note synth chime sounds at the end of each line that provide a dreamy addition to the production. This addition ceases in the pre-chorus, as Martinez builds up to the passion-fueled chorus. Then in the chorus, the high-hat symbol maintains the rhythm and airy synth notes are played in the background. At this point, the high energy allows Martinez to get all her emotions off her chest and scream into the void. The remainder of the track maintains a steady structure within the choruses and verses, allowing the singer to effortlessly guide the listener through the deeply vulnerable lyrics. The entire track flows together beautifully, carefully avoiding overwhelming the audience and ensuring the critical message is clearly heard. “VOID” being Martinez’s first solo-produced track, it showcases her undeniable talent and her ability to hold her own not only has a captivating singer and songwriter, but also as a skilled producer.

Melanie Martinez is an American singer-songwriter from Queens. Her music career kicked off in 2012 when she competed on the third season of the singing competition, The Voice. After the show ended, Martinez began focusing on her independent music career. In February 2013, she released her debut single, “Dollhouse”. Later that year, she signed with Atlantic Records and released her debut EP, Dollhouse. Over the years, her following grew steadily as more listeners became intrigued by her eerie aesthetics and mesmerizing vocals. In 2015, she released her debut full album, Cry Baby. The album became an instant fan favorite and later garnered massive attention from the general public in 2020. The album re-entered the Billboard 200 after the track, “Play Date”, blew up on TikTok and earned a 2x RIAA Platinum certification. The album has over 3.5 billion streams worldwide and every track earned a Gold certification or higher. In 2019, she released her sophomore album, K-12, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 Chart, #1 on the Billboard Alternative Album Chart, #1 on the Billboard Soundtrack Chart, and a nomination for “Top Soundtrack” at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards. Along with the album, Martinez wrote, directed, and co-wardrobe designed a 90-minute movie that encompasses the album’s themes. On the day of release, it was the sixth highest grossing film in the United States. In fall 2020, she released her EP, After School. Recently, her third full length album, Portals, was released on March 31, 2023. She will be going on tour this summer so check her social media accounts to see if she is going to a city near you!

Written By Karlee Skipper



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