Review: Melanie Martinez’s ‘PORTALS’

Melanie Martinez’s newest album further explores her character, “CryBaby” as their journey comes to an end, as does Martienez’s trilogy.


Melanie Martinez

“PORTALS” by Melanie Martinez’s official album cover, featuring a dark fairy-core aesthetic.

by Ellie Larsen, Reporter, Assistant Editor

Melanie Martinez’s third album “PORTALS” released March 31, 2023 with “PORTALS (Deluxe)” following on April 5, 2023. This is Martinez’s final album following the narrative story of “Crybaby,” the central character in Martinez’s universe, completing a trilogy. 

Melanie Martinez’s eerie and supernatural aesthetic will never lack the ability to draw me in; her rebrand and new album seems completely on brand for her and I’m loving every second. Her persona for the newest album heavily reminds me of Jim Henderson’s work on his movies “Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth,” two movies I hold very close to my heart, making me love her new era even more. 

“PORTALS” heavily explores themes of morality, from the depictions of a narcissistic relationship in “EVIL” and commentary on the addictive and unhealthy aspects of social media in “SPIDER WEB.” Exploring morality and deconstructing social constructs is not something alien to Martinez’s music, her past albums featuring sexualization, power differentials, and abuse.

Martinez’s newest album feels physically and metaphorically darker than past albums, featuring the bright, pastel aesthetic of “K-12” and “Cry Baby,” and major chords. She contrasts the darker feeling and aesthetic of “PORTALS” with the distinctly raspier vocals and minor chords. 

“WOMB,” the closing track of the original release, by far intrigues me the most. Beyond being my favorite track on the album, in Martinez’s visual album “Cry Baby,” the opening and intro into the first track “Cry Baby” depicts the process of being born and coming out of the womb. 

“WOMB,” illustrates the journey of being in the womb and preparing to come out into the world, this being the closing track on “PORTALS” really makes it feel like we’ve come full circle in Crybaby’s journey as a being, even if their vessel on earth is “dead.”

“PORTALS” and “PORTALS (Deluxe)” are available on Apple Music and Spotify.