Why Meghan Trainor's Doo-Wop Revival Can Firmly Do One

Honestly. 'All About That Bass' is the best thing on her new album by miles. And I'm not too keen on that...
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Honestly. 'All About That Bass' is the best thing on her new album by miles. And I'm not too keen on that...

Prior to reviewing Meghan Trainor's album, Title, I had no idea who Meghan Trainor was. I hadn’t listened to ‘All About The Bass’: the self love, bubble gum track that was apparently everywhere last year, the whole way through. It was a simpler, happier time, devoid of Trainor’s attempted doo-wop revival. To be honest, I was reluctant to participate with this review. I sat with friends who reasoned ‘why not try and take a positive view of it, everyone is expecting you to slate it’.

And so, with reluctance, I opened my heart to Meghan. I gave her a chance, like I had so many before her. I gave her a chance to prove me wrong, to show me she was more a one trick pony, to show me her soul. Yet again, I have been left disappointed.Trainor and I, according to her Wikipedia, are the same age: born only months apart in the glorious year of 93. This was my immediate thought when half way through Title (laziest album name ever) - I got her inspiration. It’s an album shaped by the pop boom of the later 90s - the Britneys, Christinas,Mariahs and Jessicas: their impossibly high vocal ranges and music videos set in drive throughs and school gyms. It’s the music that drew from the 50s sweetheart culture: the era that, arguably, is currently the basis of Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande’s personas. The difference here is that Swift and Grande have taken the girlish elements of generation and combined it with a Lolita-esque sensibility; they go to the drive through in little more than a leotard and god dammit will they suck that milkshake down. There’s nothing exactly wrong with this, sensibilities have changed, but Meghan Trainor hasn’t.

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Title starts pretty smoothly, with a doo-wop ‘interlude’ sliding into “All About The Base.’ Ignoring the songs lyrical issues, it’s the best track on the album by a mile and a welcome departure from the mundane uniformity that follows. Those who have complained about the distinctly un-feminist tones of Trainor’s signature track should skip forward to the following song ‘Dear Future Husband’. If you can get past the gag-inducing title, the number is an open letter to Trainor’s future baby daddy, informing him of his duties as her betrothed, such as buying her flowers on date night and apologising after every fight with the promise of ‘rubbing her body right’ if he complies. Trainor has previously compared her music as somewhere between Disney and Kesha, but fuck it, I’d rather young girls were listening to Kesha’s auto tuned wails than growing up on Trainor’s sugar coated idea of healthy relationships.

Trainor’s album dips on track 3 and never really recovers; the next 12 songs sound like something from a Grease tribute show, lamenting boyfriends not texting her, failed romances, she even manages to make a song about one night stands sound twee. When competing with acts like Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry it is impossible for Trainor to sound anything other than when your RE teacher had to do a sex education lesson.

I’m not sure why John Legend is on this album, he probably was implicated in a murder or something years ago and is slowly paying it off his mafia debts through terrible album appearances. That’s the only logical reason I can fathom. I would advise anyone wishing to seek out Trainor’s work to approach is like you would any commonly practiced illegal substance; small doses. Tiny doses. So small that any effect Trainor’s lyrics have on your soul is repairable by a pint of snakebite or a night at a Dropkick Murphys concert.

Title is out on Monday.  You can get it here (or have Krish's copy)....