The year 2014 was a big year for 21-year-old Meghan Trainor. The newcomer burst onto the scene with her smash hit “All About That Bass,” a retro-styled, upbeat track that quickly rose to the top of the charts. Basking in her newfound success, Trainor decided to enter the New Year with her debut album, “Title.” Full of fun and carefree tunes, Trainor creates an undeniably dance-worthy record. However, a lack of transparency and depth leaves listeners wondering who she really is and what to expect from her in the future.
Boys, boys and more boys. Almost every song on Trainor’s debut album seems to revolve around dealing with men. It’s almost as if the entire album is an open letter to all the fellas of the world on what they need to do to win her heart. In “Dear Future Husband” Trainor croons lyrics like, “Take me on a date / I deserve a break / And don’t forget the flowers every anniversary / Cause if you’ll treat me right / I’ll be the perfect wife.” In the album’s title track, Trainor sings about wanting a title in a relationship when it appears that her significant other isn’t in a hurry to commit. “Baby, don’t call me your friend / If I hear that word again / You might never get the chance to see me naked in your bed,” she sings over vocal harmonies and a doo-wop-styled track. At times, her unwillingness to explore other subjects is exhausting. It makes you wonder if she has anything else on her mind.
But don’t think Trainor forgot how and why she skyrocketed to fame. “All About That Bass” was praised as being an anthem for body positivity and a much-needed addition to mainstream music. Keeping this in mind, Trainor made sure to include songs like “Close Your Eyes,” a track in which she encourages listeners to always stay true to themselves. She also switches it up by singing a duet with John Legend in “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” which effectively showcases her admirable range and incredible vocal ability.
In the short time that she’s been in the spotlight, Trainor has become known musically for her throwback sound. Every song on the album is noticeably influenced by 1950s swing and doo-wop. If you heard one of her songs in passing, you might think it was a track off of the “Hairspray” soundtrack. I don’t think it’s possible to not get up and dance or at least bob your head while listening to this album. Bubblegum pop with a hint of old school seems to be her specialty and she keeps everything light-hearted and sugary sweet. Her sassy and soulful voice is the icing on the cake. However, her voice often takes on the tone of other well-known performers and this makes it a little hard to pinpoint who she is as an artist.
“Bang Dem Sticks” is certainly one of the highlights on the album but I can’t tell if I enjoy it because I’m enjoying Trainor’s unique sound or because Trainor’s sound is almost identical to Nicki Minaj’s in this song. While listening to other tracks, specifically the ballad “What If I,” I could’ve sworn that I was hearing Ariana Grande. Many could argue that this is a bad thing, and it very well may be. But as a new artist it might be what she needs to continue growing her fan base.
Despite all of these things I wouldn’t be too worried. Trainor is new and still discovering what works and what doesn’t. And more importantly than that, she’s extremely talented. She has the potential to produce an endless amount of great music and this album is a good start.
Rating: 3 stars