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Released: 2015

“Cake” by Melanie Martinez is a deeply textured anthem of self-affirmation and declaration of independence in a love relationship turned sour. Martinez uses the rich metaphorical language of baking to illustrate the imbalance of giving and taking, power and respect in a relationship. She’s serving up a feisty dessert-themed rebellion, folks. And boy, is it a treat.

Let’s tuck into the verses, shall we? Martinez starts off by describing her lover’s warm, sweet, comforting attributes, rivalling dessert ingredients, hinting at an intoxicating, even addictive, relation. But, ah, there’s a hook, “something whenever you leave” is missing, the key ingredient probably being genuine love and respect.

The chorus is the main course of this pop meal. Martinez roots her stand in the line, “I’m not a piece of cake,” rejecting the idea of being savored and discarded at convenience. Oh, and “with the frosting of my heart,” is a sweetly bitter accusation of emotional robbery. She decides to reclaim her self-worth, warning that the jilter will “miss the slice of heaven” she once offered.

The verses with a vanilla aroma and buttercream taste underline the superficial pleasures disguising deeper emotional malnourishment. We’re talking empty emotional calories, people. That’s pop for “this ain’t nourishing the soul”.

And then comes the whipped cream on top, where she brings in the meat metaphor – “If I am just a piece of cake…Then you’re just a piece of meat.” A clever and straightforward way to reduce her lover to an object as well, adding a cold, raw contrast to the warm dessert imagery, and driving home the point of their emotionally canned relationship. Savage, Mel!

The repetition of the chorus in the end is the cherry on top, reinforcing Melanie’s defiance and reclaiming control over her emotional bakery. She’s not afraid to use the power of repetition to make sure her point is well understood, much like pop giants before her.

All in all, “Cake” dishes out a sharp critique of one-sided relationships, served with a dollop of sweetness and wrapped in sumptuously tantalizing pop tunes. Bring a fork to digest this; it’s a hearty slice of pop power. So, bon appétit, pop aficionados!

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