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ATP! Album Review: Meghan Trainor - Title

Fans of Meghan Trainor circa the opening moments of the 2010s might’ve been surprised when the breakout star released seminal single “All About That Bass” back in mid-2014. The Nantucket, Mass. Chanteuse made her first big cracks into the industry from a country angle, writing songs like “DJ Rewind” for Rascal Flatts and performing Hunter Hayes covers on YouTube. With that said, once June of 2014 had came and went, the entire world was all about that bass – Trainor had solidified herself in pop history with one doo-wop of a hit. The question from here, naturally, was whether her mainstream success as an artist would begin with a song that, while enjoyable to millions, also came into criticism by critics as a representative one hit wonder.

Whether it was an impeccable promotional team or her own pure gusto, the whirlwind of a pop life kept on turning for Trainor, who had a second hit with “Lips Are Moving” during October of the same year. People had become genuinely interested in her as a new-fangled overall sensation and not just a lucky girl with a catchy chance single. Anticipation had hit an all-time high when it was revealed she’d landed a duet with John Legend on her album, Title, and when it had finally released on January 13, it even debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in some countries, including Australia. The question to ask now, though, is – “Will the fame last?” or, maybe for some, “Does she truly, musically, deserve it?”

Title opens with the charming opening interlude “The Best Part,” in which Trainor delivers a memorable barbershop quartet-esque melody in twenty-five seconds flat with a story of appreciation towards her fans. The old fashioned delivery of Trainor’s overall melodic soundscape, though, is exactly what has brought the singer her best acclaim and highest forms of criticism since her mainstream debut, of which both sides maintain a slew of justified arguments.

On one hand, Title offers a collection of songs unique to the overarching pop landscape. The album’s tracklist, as a whole, maintains slick production values ensuring that the classical composition of her overall delivery are met by more modern twists, like with the electronic, hip-hop synth on “Close Your Eyes.” Elsewhere, Trainor exemplifies her ability to deliver a tune worthy of every high school slow dance imaginable with the impeccable John Legend on “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” and “What If I.”

However, for every good thing about Trainor’s debut release, there’s a question raised about the staying power of her music in the fast-moving pop world as it is today. While the tracks are undeniably unique when compared to the industry as a whole, some might argue that the classic-meets-modern doo-wop sound of the LP all sounds the same amongst its own contemporaries, track-per-track. Despite their empowering electricity, “All About That Bass” and “Lips Are Movin’” both sonically rely on the same dynamic of schoolgirl saccharine as the other, right down to the catty backing vocals and staccato- friendly hook. It’s all good fun on the first couple of listens, but there is an eerie sense of sameness which pervades the overall record, keeping it from becoming as classic as the melodies it experiments with.

Title offers up a solid debut for Trainor, but not without its fair share of bumps in the road. Her continued success will rely on an ability to act as a musical chameleon in future releases, allowing her to create something actually different in her incoming singles (we might recommend the aforementioned “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”), and especially for her sophomore release sometime in the future. While Trainor’s feisty overall persona, empowering sassiness, and Winehouse lite delivery are infectious at first, it all easily wears off between the first few listens as something gimmicky and droll. Still, Title acts as an inoffensive pop debut for Trainor. With her momentum, the world is hers for the taking – she just needs to exemplify a knack for knowing how to use it.


Jonathan Frahm

Title is available now via Epic.

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