What does Detention mean?

Melanie Martinez: Detention Meaning

Tagged:   No tags, suggest one.
Album cover for Detention album cover

Detention Lyrics

I'm not a bad guy
So don't treat me bad if I'm feeling sad, alright?
Please don't be mad if I don't smile back, alright?
If I fuck up my words, don't think I'm absurd, alright?
I'm physically exhausted
Tired of my knuckles...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jul 14th 2020 !⃝

    To me this song sounds a lot like a couple trying to solve all the underlying problems in a relationship with sex. Oftentimes in toxic relationships, the only reason couples stay together is because of the sex. So they pretend everything is alright in the relationship so they can continue having sex. Here I believe Melanie is comparing having sex to mask the real problems in a relationship with after school detention: “Baby can you meet me tonight in detention.” Which can translate to, “meet me in the bedroom.” “I can feel your blood pressure rise.” This is something that occurs during sex, it is high energy and your blood pressure rises without a doubt. “Fuck this tension” Again, trying to solve the tention in a relationship with sex. “Let me crawl up into your mind” which obviously is a reference to Melanie seducing her partner. “Did I mention pretending everything is alright is detention.” Again referencing having sex with your partner to avoid addressing the real issues in a relationship. This isn’t the only thing that suggests to me that this song is about sex. If you watch the music video for Detention, you can see Melanie and two other dancers dancing in a very sexual manner, as “children” throw bugs at them. I believe this is a direct parallel to a strip club in real life. At a strip club, people come to watch dancers on the stage, and instead of throwing bugs at the dancers, they throw money. Let me know what you think about my Interpretation, there are many different ways to interpret a song but this is just how I view it


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Feb 22nd 2020 !⃝

    Crybaby is tired of being treated badly. Everyone goes insane if she makes one little mistake and gets mad at her for no reason. She tries to find things to pass the time, even though she is very sad. She says that they're too busy being selfish to see how she's feeling. No one cares about her, they only want her to make money, making her feel like 'chopped meat'. She begs to be treated properly, but they only ignore her pleading. She doesn't want to keep pretending she's alright, or for anyone else to say they aren't doing anything wrong. It's making her exhausted, sad, and frustrated.

  3. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 18th !⃝

    Okay, before I start I just wanna say, everyone is doing a really good job at interpretation what this song may mean. I'd like to add my two cents, and try to incorporate a few other interpretations in with my opinion. I saw that the main interpretation is basically about a relationship that is negative, they pretend everything is okay because they want to continue having s3x. And this sounds very accurate (to the point where I am considering it a fact). However, that doesn't fill om all of the blanks(this theory alone doesn't tell the whole story). In order to understand the full story of this song, you have to first understand that there is no 1 direct meaning. It is a song covering multiple things that are bothering crybaby, but somehow relate to one another because they all remind her of "detention". Meaning that even the word detention can mean different things throughout the song. For example lines "baby can you meet me tonight in detention," is possibly something that was said to crybaby, by this person shes having the encounter with, and "i can feel your blood pressure raise" these two lines are describing the encounter, lastly "pretending everything's alright is (shh)" the fact that this sentence was interrupted says that someone is embarrassed to finish the thought(obviously not crybaby, because she eventually finishes the sentence) and why would someone interrupt this sentence (because it's a secret, because they're embarrassed, because they're pretending) because maybe the person she had s3x with is embarrassedabout what happened in detention, and wants to tell lies and secrets now becauseof it. So in this section detention = pretending and keeping secrets. How does that remind crybaby of detention? Because a lot of the times when you're in detention, you're in there for a bad reason, so it can be considered taboo, bad, or embarrassing if you're the one being put in there. Sometimes kids who go to detention don't want to tell their parents they went, because they'll get in trouble(regardless of why exactly they were sent to detention) which says to me, detention, is not only an action, but a feeling, and not only a feeling, but a place(not a literal place but a feeling that is so strong it may feel like an entrapment). Another line in the song that proves this theory is " I sit chewing gum to pass the time" this makes detention sound like a spiritual purgatory. A holding place, a waiting place for troubled children. Or more accurate, for
    a description of what it may feel like to be in the public eye, and being accused of something. And realizing how people view you can dictate your success and financial growth. So you have to be careful what you say and do, and who's toes you step on. Even if your intentions are pure. So the waiting, could be wauting for yhings to "blow over" after youve already explained your side of teh story. perhaps the feelings that is associated with waiting sadly, is the same feeling crybaby feels when she feels like she's been wrongly accused of something " I'm not a bad guy, so don't treat me bad" and the lines after suggest she is talking about the public, and even possibly what the public may feel about this said "relationship " She's done something "bad" or been accused of something and now is being sent to detention for her actions. And If you've ever watched "k-12" the movie, when this song plays, that's exactly what is happening in this scene. So it goes along very well. And the dance being sexual definitely suggest that it's about a sexual relationship, but the glass wall and people watching suggest that the public doesn't like or agree with the relationship. But not only with the relationship, or sexual encounter, but it also suggests that the public doesn't like her. However, regardless of their hatred towards crybaby. They still want to consume her "like chopped meat". Meaning the "teachers" still see her as a valuable little money maker. Meaning she's not only succeeding for herself, but so that the "teachers"(aka producers and whoever else) can say "hey, look i taught her that, oh but let's forget about all that negative stuff. She's learned her lesson, and well keep her in line" (in otherwords im sayings the teachers are not only feeding off her success, but also further intensifing the accusations..to make themselves look good " all you care about is your own selfish ways" So she's definitely talking about a relationship/sexual encounter...but also about that person, and how they want to hide the specific details of the relationship, and how the public views her because of the misinformation and accusations put upon her by this person. And through all this, she's the only one who seems to be on her own side, which is obviously making crybaby very sad and lonely during the spiritual purgatory.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 24th 2023 !⃝

    So i always interpreted as teachers being paid but treating the children or students badly but after rethinking I think it’s about toxic parenting. Hear me out, being sent to detention is being in trouble such as being sent to your room or being grounded just like detention. She says things such as “please don’t be mad if I don’t smile back, alright.” She could be talking about being mad or angry and how she assumes her parents will be mad if she isn’t perfect. Also “You write me up and say it’s love.” This could be referring to when parents saying they’re punishing you because they love you and they want you to learn from your mistakes (which is complete bullshit to me). She also says “pretending everything’s all right is detention.” To me this talks about when the family would have guests and the parents would act completely normal. Last of all, She says “they let them do whatever they want to me, their the costumer I’m chopped meat.” This means something along the lines of her telling and no one listening or not caring/believing her. This is just how I interpreted it, all the other theories may be right. Idk this is just what I think

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 3rd 2022 !⃝

    One of the top interpretations explain how detention is about a relationship that is only being held together by sex and neither of them are addressing the actual issues. I think that’s a good interpretation but some bits could also mean something else.

    For example, the first part.
    ‘I’m not a bad guy, so don’t treat me bad if I’m feeling sad alright. Please don’t be mad if I don’t smile back alright. If I f**k up my words don’t think I’m absurd alright, alright?’
    This is similar to a celebrity life, where celebrities can’t show emotions or mess up something or they’ll be afraid that people will make fun of them or leave them, despite the fact that they are human too. If someone is upset and you smile at them, you can’t always expect them to smile back. If someone messes up something, you can’t always expect them to be perfect. So I think that some of it could be referring to a famous person’s life, and how fans don’t treat them like they are human.

    Also, the pre-chorus could refer to both the sexual relationship or the hardships of a famous life.
    ‘I’m physically exhausted, tired of my knuckles beating. I’m chewing gum to pass this time of sadness can’t you see it? You’re too busy seeking selfish wishes don’t care how I’m feeling.’ This could mean that Melanie or celebrities in general are sick of always having to impress their fans all the time and it’s become exhausting. That they’re too busy seeking ‘selfish wishes’ (what they want them to do, like the puppet in Show and Tell), not caring how they feel.

    This is what I think about Detention, sorry if any of the interpretations are wrong!

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 2nd 2022 !⃝

    I think this is about melanie being tired of her fans and producers etc putting pressure on her and that she's so done with pretending everything is alright in front of people.
    Detention can also be a meaning for "The Tension" and it could be called "Detension" for the school theme.

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 28th 2022 !⃝

    I love this song because it can be interpreted in many different ways! Here's my interpretation- Cry Baby opened up to her loved ones about having major depressive disorder, but they didn't care, and they told her things like "depression isn't real" or "you'll move on eventually". Everyone tells her to "smile" or "cheer up". "Pretending everything's alright is detention" can be translated to "Pretending everything's alright is torture." "You write me up and say it's love" may mean her family tells her "I love you and don't want you to be brainwashed to believe in myths like depression!" when Cry Baby knows that depression is a real and painful thing.

    Storywise, the song aired when Cry Baby was detained for her plans to destroy the school.

  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 19th 2021 !⃝

    I am confused at this point, but here is MY interpretation:
    I believe this song is about Crybaby being pressured by piers and teachers (I say piers ‘cause we all know that their not her “friends”). She is being used to make money against her will, causing her to be depressed. This is clearly stated in the lyric “Fu*k how I feel as long as I make money”. She is faking her happiness just to please everyone, stated in the lyric “I’m chewing gum to pass this time of sadness”. To top it all off, nobody cares how Crybaby feels. This is clearly stated in the lyrics “You’re too busy seeking selfish. Don’t care how I’m feeling” So I am assuming that detention = the tension (as stated in an other interpretation).

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 6th 2021 !⃝

    The other interpretations are way off. Especially the first one. This song is definitely about Crybaby being pressured. But there is more to that. Crybaby is being used (possibly by her “friends” or the school) to make money, which is clearly stated in the lyric “ Fuck how I feel as long as I make money”. They are using Crybaby to earn money for their personal benefits but her peers don’t really care about her mental and physical state. Crybaby is absolutely tired which is stated in the lyrics “ I'm physically exhausted
    Tired of my knuckles beating”. So, no, this song is not about a abusive relationship or sex. It’s about Crybaby’s peers pressuring her to make more money when she is exhausted for their personal gain.

  10. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 29th 2021 !⃝

    Detention = The tension.
    It's called Detention cause of the school theme and I think that the song is about melanie being tired of fans and music producers etc putting pressure on her

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 4th 2021 !⃝

    This song is about Crybaby being treated badly, probably in a relationship. In the music video, you can see her being injected by a substance that makes her look happy. And what is detention? It's boring. So "Pretending everything is alright is detention" could mean like she is tired of pretending that everything is fine and lovely. It also implies that someone, probably her partner, is ignoring that she is unhappy "I'm chewing gum to pass this time of sadness, can't you see it," and "You're too busy seeking selfish wishes, don't care how I'm feeling."
    Also in the music video, she is seen dancing in a sexual manner in a glass cage (I love the outfit tho ngl) and people are throwing bugs at her, referencing a strip club and how people aren't happy with her, so they throw things at her. At the end of the music video, crybaby breaks out of the cage, referencing that she finally had enough of being trapped in the relationship.

  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 25th 2020 !⃝

    This song is probably about how she pretends to be alright. In the music video you see Melanie performing and dancing while the viewers throw bugs and laugh. I think this is about people hating on her and her remaining quiet because the song says ¨I can feel your blood pressure rise¨ ¨If I don´t snap back alright¨. At the end of the music video you see how she stops performing and faces them, making them back away and scared. In other words, Melanie is probably getting hate so she pretends everything is alright and doesn´t say anything back because she doesn´t want to make more chaos.

  13. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 14th 2020 !⃝

    I think this song means she is in a relationship with someone and only somewhat likes them. In the line "let me crawl up into your mind" it obviously means she is trying to seduce him but the in the line "pretending everything is alright is detention" kinda sounds like she doesn't have feelings for him and she needs to find a way to tell him. Also, when crybaby and her friends are dancing, the kids are throwing bugs at them wich reminds me of a strip club but instead of people throwing bugs, they throw money

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 14th 2020 !⃝

    To me this song sounds a lot like a couple trying to solve all the underlying problems in a relationship with sex.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 20th 2020 !⃝

    I think the meaning about this song is how people judge her to much and everything she does people still find away to make her look bad and she's tired of it and how people could be selfies and not care about her feeling and she trying to say that her "crybabies" trate her like its school because people don't care how they trate her and they don't care because she's making money and for her its like school because you have to be "perfect" for them not to get mad at you.

  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 20th 2020 !⃝

    I think of this song more of like a love sexual thing because how she says “I can feel your blood pressure rise”

  17. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 5th 2020 !⃝

    I feel like this song is about people that kidnap girls to make them dance for them and their guests. I know this may not be why Melanie wrote this song but, all people hear different things from songs. This is personally what I think about this song! This is a great song though!

‹ prev 12

More Melanie Martinez songs »


Latest Articles


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Blog posts mentioning Melanie Martinez

Just Posted

From a Distance anonymous
22 anonymous
Cradles anonymous
Been to Canaan anonymous
1994 anonymous
Meeting Across the River anonymous
Monkey Wrench anonymous
She Talks To Angels anonymous
Boyfriend anonymous
This is Home anonymous
In My Room RawrRobin
In My Room RawrRobinRawr
Clint Eastwood anonymous
Badge anonymous
The Zoo anonymous

(We won't give out your email)