Melanie’s sophomore album and film, K-12, is another ambitious triumph. K-12's music is a vibrant and singular melting pot of low-key hip-hop, soulful pop and indie-leaning electro. K-12's universe is an expansion of the one introduced in Cry Baby. Using lyrics rich with metaphor, songs address the struggle to find a place to belong—including within friendships, the physical world and romantically—even when fitting into society feels like an uphill battle.
To accompany the album, Martinez wrote and directed a 90-minute movie (also called K-12) that incorporates the album's music and mirrors the themes and characters introduced. Filmed on location in Budapest, Hungary, the movie focuses on Cry Baby (portrayed by Martinez) and a class of students who find themselves trapped in a horror house-like residential school. As they experience the usual grade school rites of passage—a lunch room food fight, the embarrassment of gym class, a romance with nefarious intentions, courses taught by checked-out teachers—they have to figure out a way to escape.