Looking for a Catchy Spring Song About Rebirth? Try “Death”
If you are emerging from entanglement with a person, or people, that mattered to you, this song might be your spring jam. It is a song about knowing who you’ve become and where you’re going. It is about differentiating from those who cannot met you “across the plane.” Its metaphors detail manipulative attempts to pull someone back into a dysfunctional dynamic, and ultimately concludes with moving on. Therefore, “Death,” is also a resolute celebration of life and rebirth.
Melanie Martinez is an artist known for pushing boundaries with her music and performances. Her newest album follows a narrative progression from her previous two albums that revolved around a persona known as “Cry Baby.” The album, K-12, which precedes her newest album, Portals, was accompanied by a feature film of the same name. In it, “Cry Baby” and her friends experience supernatural powers. At the end, “Cry Baby” must choose between staying on earth or joining her friends elsewhere, likely meaning an earthly death.
Since the release of the K-12 film in 2019, Martinez seems to have continued deep into a spiritual and artistic journey. On her Instagram account explaining the album she expresses fascination with the “between phase of life and death.” If you’re not interested in the occult meanings behind her music, she explains that all of her songs are “disguised with earthly themes for double/triple meaning, to create a frequency for humans to relate to while we are still here on earth.” It sounds like you can experience this song in many ways including: as a literal expression from Martinez if you believe she’s been talking to spirits, as a continuation of the fictional character and story of “Cry Baby,” or as a general metaphor for whatever you’re going through right now.
Clients may relate with the song’s feeling of regaining yourself when you take space from people who invalidate you. The second verse is especially compelling as a metaphor for us earth dwellers as she describes miscommunication, “they’re saying my name in their prayers again, I flicker the lights so they understand.” She hears them, but since they refuse to understand her where she is, they don’t realize she’s actually near them. “Doing all your witchcraft to pull me in,” could refer to the manipulative tactics people sometimes resort to in attempt to test someone’s boundaries and pull them back to terms they no longer accept. Finally, my favorite, “I show my presence, you run away in fear of ghosts,” depicts how one person’s authenticity can trigger the other’s struggles and barriers they are not ready to face.
There are plenty of “moving on,” songs out there. What I appreciate about “Death” and its accompanying music video is its unapologetic strangeness, as well as the vulnerable acknowledgement of how hard it is, both in the lyrics and musical shift: “When you’re not around I sink into the ground. I try to pretend you’re closer to me…” This conveys the often painful and strange way we might feel even though we know we must let go.
Ultimately, the song moves on recognizing that “I don’t want to be carrying this weight on my shoulders/ death has come to me, kissed me on the cheek, gave me closure.” In the context of distancing oneself from difficult family dynamics, “death” could mean “estrangement.” While estrangement should never be the goal, sometimes it is necessary, at least in the short-term. Sometimes you need space to heal and regain your energy.
The song depicts that burst of renewed energy with its campy, catchy, hook: “I’m back from the dead, back from the dead!”
If you want to read more about Melanie Martinez’s journey as an artist and more one why I find her so interesting follow the links below for Part II and III of my exploration: