A primary note before I get into the full extent of this album: Meghan Trainor is a very talented artist. She has certainly proven that to even her casual listeners, as her top 10 hit “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” was without a doubt one of the best songs of 2015. The nagging problem with the vast majority of her music lies within her inconsistency. Over the course of Trainor’s 2nd full length album after quickly rising to superstardom with earworm “All About That Bass”, Thank You, we hear brief glimpses of the aspects of Trainor which won her Best New Artist at the most recent Grammy Awards, but to get to this material, we must also slog through track after track of extremely watered-down, consumer-ready songs which undermine the great artist hiding underneath. When half of your album sounds like All About That Bass 2.0, a problem with the personnel may be present.
Nearly every song on this album is produced by Ricky Reed, a producer behind hits for artists such as Jason Derulo (“Wiggle”, “Talk Dirty”), Pitbull (“Fireball”), and Fifth Harmony (“Bo$$”), and his brand of hip hop-infused, confidence-exuding pop music is certainly upheld, although without producing much of the desired result. Often, the usual flaws present in this style of music can be overlooked if the song is fun enough – but many of the lyrics Trainor delivers on this project seem to be aimed only at creating a caricature of herself as a pop music persona, the kind that came across in that viral All About That Bass video. Numerous references to her weight are made, and there are multiple songs entirely devoted to Trainor’s self-confidence and love of herself despite her image. It feels like we’ve heard it all before too much for us to submit to the pulsating beats. There may be only one time it succeeds, on the synth-laden dance track “Me Too”. This is one of those tracks that is “so bad it’s good”, and I can see it becoming a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s also the next single set to be released to radio, so we may have to hear Trainor proclaim to her haters “If I was you/I’d wanna be me too” ad nauseam this summer.
For an album that I disliked as much as I did, the fact that I was compelled to download 3 of its songs highlights Trainor’s inconsistency. How can an artist that I’ve come to dislike so much have so many songs that I love? A glance at the album credits reveals the answer: all the best songs on this project have a production credit given to Trainor herself. She truly is an amazing composer and songwriter, and a full album of Trainor-produced and written songs without interference with lowest-common-denominator pop music producers would likely be one of any year’s best. “Hopeless Romantic”, “Just A Friend to You”, and “Champagne Problems” rise above the pack of endless dance-pop bores. All in all, this album is a frustrating listen, as the evidence of what could have been is so beautifully presented to the listener, and then snatched away by dismal tracks like opener “Watch Me Do”, in which Trainor states – no really – “I ain’t saying I’m the bestesest/But I got nice curves, nice breasteses/I don’t erase the texteses from my exeses/All in my DMs, leaving messages”. Sigh.
Favorite Tracks: Hopeless Romantic, Just A Friend To You, Champagne Problems
Least Favorite Track: Dance Like Yo Daddy