Follow TV Tropes

Following

Music / Cry-Baby

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/melanie_martinez___cry_baby_album.png
"Your heart's too big for your body, that's why it won't fit inside."

"I think being emotional is this thing that people think you're not strong. They don't look at you as a strong person, and it's weird 'cuz honestly being emotional has nothing to do with your strength."
Advertisement:

Cry Baby is the 2015 debut album of indie singer Melanie Martinez, fresh off the The Voice. The album, an eerie electrop explores dark themes in the life of a sensitive young girl, Cry Baby. It was ranked at #153 on the Billboard 200.


Tracklist:

  1. "Cry Baby"
  2. "Dollhouse"
  3. "Sippy Cup"
  4. "Carousel"
  5. "Alphabet Boy"
  6. "Soap"
  7. "Training Wheels"
  8. "Pity Party"
  9. "Tag, You're It"
  10. "Milk And Cookies"
  11. "Pacify Her"
  12. "Mrs. Potato Head"
  13. "Mad Hatter"


Advertisement:

Tropes you can laugh through:

  • Album Title Drop: Cry Baby
  • Big Damn Heroes: The huge, frightening pastel plush animal "friends" of Cry Baby rescuing her from the blow-up mannequins.
  • Book-Ends: "Cry Baby" and "Mad Hatter" have the same beat and song structure, and both have their own self-acceptance themes pertaining to Cry Baby's life.
  • Breather Episode: "Alphabet Boy" and "Training Wheels" are considerably lighter than the rest of the songs on the album.
  • Call-Back: "Milk and Cookies" references "Dollhouse".
    Dollhouse: Please don't let them look through the curtains.
    Milk and Cookies: The shit behind the curtain that I'm sick of sugarcoating...
  • Call-Forward:
    • Cry Baby's tears come out of a dollhouse in "Cry Baby"'s music video. "Dollhouse" is the next song.
    • In "Dollhouse", Cry Baby warns about "what goes down in the kitchen". "Sippy Cup" reveals that it's the murder of her father and his mistress.
  • Advertisement:
  • Christmas Episode: While it doesn't really count, it's invoked with "Gingerbread Man", which was released as a Christmas gift to her fans and superficially ties in to the holiday.
  • The Conscience: The singer of "Sippy Cup", explaining Cry Baby's mother's flaws to her and disdaining her course of action, which is strengthened by shots of Cry Baby as an angel.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Cry Baby's world has a genuinely pleasing aesthetic of pastels, retro accents, and is reminiscent of a quaint dollhouse. However, almost everyone in it beyond Cry Baby herself (at least until the very end) ranges from ambiguously creepy (the Rabbit Doctor, the masked carnival people, the Nurse and Cashier) to selfish ad abusive (Cry Baby's parents) to outright evil (the Wolf) with [1] no therapists or police or anyone to help poor Cry Baby with her issues.
  • Creepy Circus Music: Unsurprisingly featured in "Carousel".
  • Creepy Doll: Naturally a part of the "Dollhouse" video, with Melanie dressed as a more traditional doll (and some shots of her as a fashion doll in its packaging) and the idealized family moving and acting like dolls.
  • Concept Album: The entire idea of the album is innocence lost through a series of sad, even dark events seen through the eyes of a child (or young woman), things society doesn't like to discuss, such as abuse, dark family secrets, and kidnapping, to name a few.
  • Domestic Abuse: Implied about the subject of "Milk And Cookies":
    The shit behind the curtains that I'm sick of sugarcoating
    Next time you're alone, think twice when you grab the phone.
    • There's also "Teddy Bear", where the narrator's boyfriend tries to kill her (and persists after they break up).
  • Double Feature: The videos for "Soap" and "Training Wheels", and "Tag, You're It" and "Milk and Cookies" were released as double features, since they encompass mini-plotlines in the overarching story.
  • Downer Ending: While Cry Baby's entire story is a downer, the album ends with her insane and unwilling to improve.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the crap she's been through, Cry Baby is alone and insane, but she's made peace with that, and Word of God confirms that she will finally catch a break in Melanie's next album, implying things get happier for Cry Baby.
  • Easter Egg: The breakdown section of "Teddy Bear" is the earlier line "I didn't outgrow you" repeated in reverse.
  • Fashion Hurts: "Mrs. Potato Head" is about people who are addicted to plastic surgery and the effects it can have on them.
  • Follow the Bouncing Ball: Done in accordance with the word-and-letters motif in the video for "Alphabet Boy".
  • Foreshadowing: At the end of the video for "Training Wheels", the most optimistic song of the album, Cry Baby's boyfriend disappears just before she can kiss him. The next song is his passive breakup with her by not attending her birthday celebration.
  • Fun with Palindromes: A musical variant in "Carousel". The main riff of the song is the same forwards and reversed to emphasize the cyclical nature of the situation.
  • Happy Ending: The only one in the Cry Baby saga is at the end of the "Mrs. Potato Head" video, where Cry Baby realizes how wrong advertised beauty standards are.
  • Hotter and Sexier: "Training Wheels" has some more overt sexual tones in its videos and lyrics.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: This imminent reaction is invoked in "Milk and Cookies".
    Do you like my cookies?
    They're made just for you
    A little bit of sugar
    With lots of poison, too
  • Innocence Lost: The shots of Cry Baby as an angel in "Sippy Cup" are supposed to represent the death of her innocence after seeing the dead bodies of her father and his mistress, then being drugged so that she thinks it's a bad dream.
  • Ironic Echo: Done visually in the video for "Alphabet Boy". Toward the beginning of the song, Cry Baby is seen under a towering refrigerator, but by the end, she's seen sitting on a tiny fridge.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune:
    • "Milk and Cookies" has Melanie counting before verses, with the following verse rhyming with the numbers ("1,2/Melatonin's coming for you"), like a twisted version of "I, 2, Buckle My Shoe." The first verse also uses the phrase "Hush litle baby". The same song also has an allusion to "Ring Around the Rosie," a nursery rhyme that in and of itself is dark. ("Ashes, Ashes, time to go down...")
    • "Tag, You're It" twists "Eenie Meenie Minie Mo" to refer to capturing women.
  • Informed Attribute: Done deliberately with the video for "Pacify Her", where none of Cry Baby's complaints about her ex's new girlfriend are true, as she is in denial about her relationship status.
  • Killer Teddy Bear: While it's clear that the song is talking about a person, "Teddy Bear" presents the murderous once-boyfriend in this way.
  • Knife Nut: Cry Baby and her mother both favor knives when dealing violently with their spoiled romance.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: Done for tragic effect at the end of "Tag, You're It", where the BGM breaks down and falls apart.
  • Literal Metaphor: This happens sometimes in the videos. One example is in "Milk and Cookies", with the line "Next time you're alone, think fast when you grab the phone". In the context of a marriage, it's a warning against cheating, but in the "canon" kidnapping context, it's shown that the Wolf's phone call distracts him from the surveillance TV, and causes him to miss the poisoning of his cookies.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Another recurring theme in her music. Similarly to Marina Diamandis, she has a talent for mixing catchy tunes with chilling lyrics. Special mention goes to "Dollhouse", a bright, music-box song about a broken home.
  • Lyrics/Video Mismatch: The video for "Tag, You're It" contains none of the pursuit and violence in the lyrics; instead it shows Cry Baby at the grocery store while the Wolf waits for her and gives her drugged ice cream to capture her.
  • Lysistrata Gambit: "Cake" mentions this as a solution to the singer's objectification.
    I'm not a piece of cake
    For you to just discard
    While you walk away
    With the frosting of my heart
    So I'm taking back
    What's mine, you'll miss
    The slice of heaven that I gave to you last night
  • Madness Mantra: The chorus of "Pity Party", and the breakdown:
    Cry Baby: I'm laughin', I'm cryin', it feels like I'm dyin'...
  • Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Averages somewhere around a 6 thanks to her love for shockingly placed words and angsty, disillusioned lyrics.
  • Multicolored Hair: Melanie always has this, with the colors being divided down the middle, with the colors reflecting her music's juxtaposition of the dark and innocent. It's always been like this- the first time she dyed her hair, she went half-and-half because she liked the way Cruella de Vil wore it.
  • Murder Ballad: "Milk And Cookies" is about killing Cry Baby's kidnapper in the context of her story, and killing an unfaithful/abusive spouse in its own context.
  • Odango Hair: Melanie sports it on the cover of the "Cry Baby" album, and as a fashion doll in "Dollhouse"'s video.
  • Older Than They Look: Despite the fact that Martinez is an adult woman, she can easily pass for a preadolescent, or someone in their early teens.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The beginning of "Mad Hatter" and "Pacify Her", and used in "Dollhouse".
  • One-Person Birthday Party: "Pity Party" takes this trope on, using it to depict a deceptively sweet and youthful girl left alone on her birthday. Her attempts to ignore her own loneliness throughout the song show her slipping into a dark psychosis. In the context of the story, Cry Baby's boyfriend essentially dumps her by not attending, and she soon finds him with another girl in "Pacify Her".
  • Professional Killer: It's implied Cry Baby's father might be one in "Sippy Cup".
    Blood money, blood money
    How did you afford this ring that I love, honey?
    He doesn't think I'm that fuckin' dumb, does he?
  • Prone to Tears: Cry Baby, as her name indicates.
  • Sampling: "Pity Party" samples Lesley Gore's hit, "It's My Party", which also discusses a birthday gone wrong.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: Heavily implied in "Pity Party".
    It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry, cry, cry
    I'll cry until the candles burn down this place,
    I'll cry until my pity party's in flames.
  • Shout-Out: "Mad Hatter" relies heavily on some quotes from the Tim Burton Alice movie.
  • Silly Love Songs: Melanie admits that "Training Wheels" is the only true love song on her debut album.
  • Soap Punishment: "Soap" is about this, but used for different purposes. Cry Baby gives herself this punishment because she keeps saying she loves a guy, but she's not sure if their relationship is actually getting anywhere.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The narrator's love interest in "Teddy Bear" may be this, but perhaps not for long. Cry Baby herself is like this in "Pacify Her", trying to wedge herself into a relationship that's run its course. It's implied the Wolf might be this, or at least has an inappropriate interest in Cry Baby; "Tag, You're It" mentions that he'd been watching her for a while, and that he's captivated by the sound of her breathing. Melanie also made it a point to mention that since she was single at that point in the album "wolves are now on the prowl."
  • Stealth Insult: In "Alphabet Boy", Cry Baby calls the subject "the prince of the playground". While it initially sounds sarcastic, the constantly demeaning tone of the song implies differently. Prince is essentially second place to queen, which Cry Baby would be calling herself.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • Cry Baby's entire family, as seen in "Dollhouse". The video shows that anyone who gets a glimpse of the truth is forced to play along with the lie.
    • The next song, "Sippy Cup", continues on the theme, with guilt and denial playing a part in the act after the father's murder.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Cry Baby is implied to live in one, especially given the suburb-like town depicted on the cover of the Cry Baby album (that Melanie is flooding with her tears).
  • Subverted Innocence: The whole concept of "Cry Baby", which presents dark adult situations through childish visuals and music.
    • "Cry Baby" is about a troubled girl compared to an infant.
    • "Dollhouse" is about a screwed-up family putting on a front of perfection.
    • "Sippy Cup" refers to denial, with the titular line referring to alcohol.
    • "Carousel" is used to describe a relationship that isn't moving forward, but going around and around in circles.
    • "Alphabet Boy" is about a love interest whose academic ego led to friction.
    • "Soap" uses the soap punishment to relate to feelings of anxiety and regret about moving a relationship forward.
    • "Training Wheels" is about more of the same, about taking off the training wheels and going all-in on a relationship.
    • "Pity Party" is about loneliness and instability on a larger scale than a forgotten birthday.
    • "Tag, You're It" compares a kidnapping to a game of tag.
    • The titular "Milk and Cookies" are poisonous.
    • "Pacify Her" compares a pacifier to kind words that may be false.
    • "Mrs. Potato Head" references the mentality of plastic-surgery addicts, who want to do anything to their bodies.
    • "Mad Hatter" twists Wonderland to relate to real insanity.
    • "Play Date" refers to casual sexual encounters that the bitter singer wishes would turn into a meaningful relationship.
    • "Cake" is about objectification in the aforementioned encounters, with the singer denying her boyfriend's apparent view of her as "a piece of cake [for you] to just discard".
    • "Teddy Bear" refers to a relationship that was built up and put together with a lot of effort, which has turned sour by her boyfriend's Yandere tendencies.
  • Subverted Kids Show: Her music is pretty much Subverted Kids Music. The tunes are childish, lullaby-eque pop songs, but the lyrics cover dark subjects and sometimes contain harsh language.
  • Take That!: "Mrs. Potato Head" to plastic surgery and those who feel it is necessary for beauty.
    Sexual, hey girl if you wanna feel sexual.
    You can always call up a professional, they stick pins in you, like a vegetable.
  • The Mad Hatter: Cry Baby is clearly one of those.
    Over the bend, entirely bonkers.
    You like me best, when I'm off my rocker.
    Tell you a secret, I'm not alarmed.
    So what if I'm crazy, the best people are.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: "Cry Baby" is a tragic story, and there are thirteen songs. (The deluxe-album songs are not part of Cry Baby's story, per Word of God.)
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Due to her neglectful and unhappy childhood, Cry Baby shows a proficiency in spelling profanities with her "alphabet toys".
  • Tsundere: Cry Baby in "Play Date" shows shades of this towards her lover:
    Whoever said I give a shit 'bout you?
    You never share your toys or communicate
    Guess I'm just a playdate to you.
    • She reveals by the end that she does have some hope in the relationship after all.
      You know I give a fuck about you every day
      I guess it's time I tell you the truth
      If I share my toys, will you let me stay?
      Don't wanna leave this play date with you
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: The narrator of "Carousel" bemoans being stuck not quite with someone she loves.
    This horse is too slow
    We're always this close
    Almost, almost
  • Vague Age: Cry Baby. In the music videos, she's played by Melanie herself (who's an adult), but illustrations of the character gives her the appearance of a child. There's no indication of her age in the songs themselves (especially given their subject matter), and the music videos have Melanie (and her love interest in "Training Wheels") dressing like kids. Then again, that could be the whole point.
  • Wicked Heart Symbol: Hearts and broken hearts are a prominent motif in the Cry Baby interactive storybook, possibly representing her romantic entanglements and futile search for love. Notably, "Carousel" contains the lines, "Why'd you steal my cotton candy heart? / You threw it in this damn coin slot / And now I'm riding, riding, riding..."
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Subverted or justified in this case, as it was Cry Baby's brother who wrote her name on the birth certificate (in response to his mother's complaining about the noise), not her mother.
  • Yandere: Cry Baby in "Pacify Her". While it's suggested that they never officially broke up, her boyfriend has moved on to someone else in Cry Baby's absence, and she can't accept it, claiming that he doesn't love her and is just lying with his compliments.
    • "Teddy Bear" is about how the narrator's boyfriend tries to kill her. What's more, he starts stalking her after she breaks up with him, implying that he really wants her dead. However, the song suggests that at some point he's a Stalker Without a Crush, returning no love to the singer.
    Gave you love
    Put my heart inside you
    Oh, what could I do?
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • In "Dollhouse" Cry Baby's dad is having an affair. Her mother is aware of it, which drives her to drink.
    • "Pacify Her" is presented as the POV of a woman dating a cheating man, but it could be about a Clingy Jealous Girl refusing to let go of a relationship that's fallen apart and moved on. This is supported by the video, where the new girlfriend has done nothing wrong, and Cry Baby is portrayed as an awkward and psychotic third wheel.
    • This is invoked as a consequence of plastic surgery- the man urges the woman to undergo surgery to improve her appearance, but when it predictably reduces her beauty, he goes with another woman.

"So what if I'm crazy? The best people are."
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report