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Released: 2015

Melanie Martinez’s “Pity Party” is an outpouring of raw and relatable emotion, showcasing an intense feeling of disappointment, abandonment, and self-pity. Blending pop with a hint of dark, anthemic melancholy, the song is a fierce, defiant declaration of taking ownership of one’s vulnerabilities.

The song opens with a sombre scene: a birthday party with no guests. Lines like “Did my invitations disappear? Why’d I put my heart on every cursive letter? Tell me why the hell no one is here” reveal the protagonist’s feeling of rejection. This scenario symbolizes Martinez’s personal experiences of feeling left out or not being understood. The use of the phrase “my heart on every cursive letter” is a poetic representation of how much effort and emotional investment she had put into her relationships.

The refrain, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” is both a nod to Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit and a statement of self-affirmation. Martinez isn’t afraid to express her sorrow publicly, shedding the societal expectation of putting on a brave face at all times. The phrase “Cry if I want to” signifies her choice and right to display her emotions on her own terms.

The verses, “I’ll cry until the candles burn down this place, I’ll cry until my pity party’s in flames” reflect a destructive, rebellious side of her sadness. The act of letting her tears metaphorically ‘burn down’ the party suggests a cathartic releasing of pent-up emotions, a pathway to healing and transformation.

Martinez’s line “Maybe if I knew all of them well, I wouldn’t have been trapped inside this hell that holds me” prompts listeners to reflect on the superficiality of many relationships, and how lack of true understanding can lead to feelings of isolation and emotional ‘hell’.

The repeat of “I’m laughing, I’m crying, it feels like I’m dying” towards the end of the song encapsulates the internal emotional turmoil Martinez is experiencing. Amidst the laughter, perhaps forced or feigned, the crying signifies deep-seated pain, making it feel like an emotional death.

In spite of it all, Melanie Martinez’s “Pity Party” isn’t meant to be a downer. At its core, it’s a fierce affirmation of individuality, an invitation to embrace all aspects of our emotional spectrum, no matter how messy or non-conforming they may be. More than anything else, it’s a celebration of authenticity in a world that often demands otherwise.

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