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PORTALS – Melanie Martinez

Shem Villacarlos April 24, 2023

By: Shem Villacarlos

After a nearly 3-year-long hiatus, Melanie Martinez released teasers in February of 2023 for her newest album, PORTALS, released on March 31, 2023. She is well known for her appearance on the American TV show The Voice and her K-12 and Cry Baby albums with an alternative/dark pop sound. Her lyricism has always brought out a more vulnerable side of her experiences for her listeners to relate to, and is one of the reasons many of them continue to support her music.

With PORTALS, she plays with surreal and wispy sounds that bring an ethereal tone to her album. With 13 songs in the album and 16 in the deluxe edition of PORTALS, both start with DEATH. Yes, it sounds like a dark start, but the haunted sound brings the human experience of life and death to light cleverly. Another interesting aspect was her choice to put all the songs in all caps. She is purposeful with the arrangement of each song, having distinct frequencies and earthly sounds to emphasize her message on human life. The track VOID is currently the most popular in the album and is a popular sound used on social media platforms such as TikTok. But even with her different take on alternative pop, her typical dark tearful tone stands out in her songs SPIDER WEB and  LEECHES. Especially with THE CONTORTIONIST bringing the best use of her cynical and dark sounds to express the feeling of self-sacrifice. With her other tracks in the album, just tuning into its finer details reveal the bigger purpose behind PORTALS.

I can’t say I am a fan of Melanie Martinez, but reviewing the album made me a bit more mindful. The choice of earthly and cosmic sounds is the best aspect of PORTALS, and hopefully, she will continue to release interesting tracks.

Rating: 8/10