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Released: 2015

“Pacify Her” by Melanie Martinez is a fiercely assertive track that grapples with the contentious themes of desire, rivalry, and possession. Bathed in the eerie ambiance of Melanie’s characteristic ‘cry baby’ aesthetics, the song navigates the heart’s clandestine corridors where love transgresses the societal norms of ‘rightfully’ claimed relationships.

The song kicks off with a narrative setup: a ‘tired, blue boy’ who’s in a relationship with a girl the narrator deems a ‘basic bitch’—in pop parlance, a term often used to dismiss someone as unoriginal or conforming to mundane, mainstream standards. The dismissal of the girlfriend, coupled with the singer’s desire to ‘take her man’, introduces us to a potent tug-of-war dynamic. It’s a classic pop trope, heightened here by the narrator’s daring assertion: ‘But was he yours, if he wanted me so bad?’

The chorus, ‘Pacify her’, is a bold demand laced with a hint of desperation. On the surface, it urges the ‘blue boy’ to placate his girlfriend to presumably divert her attention while he nurtures his illicit liaison. But subtly, it also reveals the narrator’s own struggle against societal perceptions, her need to justify her desires, and her yearning for an unreciprocated love. The repeated chorus adds to the intensity and desperation of this struggle.

The lyrics ‘Where’s her binky now?’ is a brilliant Martinez-style incorporation of childlike imagery to convey a grown-up concept. ‘Binky’ is American slang for a pacifier—a clever way to underscore the girlfriend’s immaturity. It’s as if Martinez is saying, “She’s throwing a tantrum. Where’s her pacifier?” This setup allows the transition to the paradoxical line—’And loving her seems tiring / So boy, just love me, down, down, down’. The narrator here paints the girlfriend as a forcefully maintained emotional baggage and displays her own desire as an alternative solution. The use of ‘down, down, down’ could symbolize a descent into the forbidden or the emotionally intense depth the narrator wishes the boy would explore with her.

With its haunting melody and defiant lyrics, “Pacify Her” serves as a fascinating exploration of tangled emotional boundaries in the arena of love and desire. It’s a portrait of a woman standing her ground, challenging societal norms, and battling the internal conflict that comes with forbidden attraction. The song captures Martinez’s ability to blend nursery-rhyme innocence with complex adult emotions—this is what sets her apart in the pop scene, and “Pacify Her” is a shining example of her unique style.

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