“DEATH” by Melanie Martinez
Melanie Martinez fans rejoice, as the highly-creative songstress finally has a studio album on the way, “Portals”, which comes nearly four years after its predecessor, 2019’s “K-12”. As with her previous outings, this forthcoming LP will be backed by Atlantic Records, whom the NYC artist signed with in 2012.
And its lead single, which was made public on 17 March 2023 – i.e. a couple of weeks before the album itself – is titled “Death”. And to note, Melanie has been teasing this track for about a month leading up to its release, with it originally being known as “Back from the Dead”.
Melanie Martinez, At It Again
The multi-talented and, may we say esoteric Melanie Martinez, who plays guitar and programs songs as well as sings, wrote and produced “Death”. In that latter sense, she worked alongside a regular collaborator in CJ Baran, who is also from New York though more specifically a part of Long Island known as Melville.
The Lyrics of “Death”
Melanie Martinez is an artist who tends to rely on eye-catching imagery. Such is definitely the case with the visuals associated with this song. And the reason we’re pointing that out is because whereas this track may have been officially described as one centered around the concept of “death is life”, it’s obvious that the lyrics aren’t all literal, if at all.
For instance, at the beginning of the first verse, the vocalist puts forth that “they’re craving my name in the grave again”. The first part of that assertion would imply that she is referring to death, i.e. her name being inscribed on a tombstone.
But saying that they are doing so “again” would indicate that Melanie dying is a metaphor. That is to say that this is something which has happened to her at least once in the past. But we know that a person being buried, i.e. being the subject of a funeral as presented in the first verse, is actually a one-time thing.
Later on, pre-chorus gives the impression that the primary addressee is a romantic interest, though such is never actually specified. What is made clear though is this being a person whose absence has a negative effect on Melanie and who is “always on (her) mind”. And usually when we find such sentiments in song, it would be in reference to the vocalist’s sweetheart.
So once you’re able to weave through all of the death- and afterlife-related lingo present in this song, what it actually reads like is Melanie likening being without the addressee to dying. And if interpreted in such a manner, then her being “back from the dead”, as implied in the second verse, is another way of saying that she has not given up on this relationship.
“Back from the dead, back from the dead
I’m back from the dead, back from the dead”
Indeed, as far as the second verse is concerned, the addressee is depicted, once again in an indirect way, as being a toxic partner. In other words, he or she engages in “witchcraft to pull [Melanie] in”, which we will take as Martinez being able to ascertain that this individual desires her presence.
But then, when she is around, they “run away in fear of ghosts”. So it reads a lot like she’s dealing with someone who, more simply explained, has mutual feelings for her alright but is afraid of commitment.
She’s talking about death literally. Pertaining to her character CryBaby who’s the character in all her writings in previous albums besides the After School EP.