thu 25/05/2017

CD: Meghan Trainor - Title | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Meghan Trainor - Title

CD: Meghan Trainor - Title

US singer's chance to prove she's about more than that bass

There are plenty of reasons to be cynical about 'Title'
No existential questions on Meghan Trainor's 'Title'

Meghan Trainor may not yet be a household name, but you’ll be familiar with her feelgood hit of last summer. “All About That Bass” is many things: insistent, catchy, possibly anti-feminist body-shaming – but it also sparked a little debate on my Twitter feed in the hour or so leading up to the Bells on New Year’s Eve. If “bass” is, as is clearly implied from the accompanying technicoloured video, a radio-friendly term for a sizeable arse, then what on earth is “treble”?

Before you start to wonder whether Title delves deep into such existential questions, I’d better make it clear: what the label would like you to believe is Trainor’s debut album sounds exactly like you think it does. Ten songs in various shades of pink (11, if you count the calculatedly retro-flavoured 24-second “interlude” that opens the album; and a whopping 15 if you spend a week convinced that you’ve been sent the most bloated pop album of all time and not the "deluxe" edition); melodies like nail bar karaoke; lyrics like ladette culture didn’t die an undignified death at some point in the early ‘00s. Themes covered include drunk-texting, early morning “walks of shame” and one of the most spectacularly crude misdirections modern pop has enjoyed in a while. None of the others, with the possible exception of “Dear Future Husband”, match that first single in terms of sheer ubiquity – although admittedly this is based only on the fact that I have woken up with “All About That Bass” in my head every morning this week.

There are plenty of reasons to be cynical about Title. We could start with the label-mandated disappearance of Trainor’s three previous albums in the run-up to its release, move on to the juxtaposition of her wholesome image with bawdy humour and doo-wop beats with too-clean production – often in the same songs – and end with the easy slating of the album’s insipid duet with John Legend. Yet there’s something about Trainor – a talent for a catchy hook; an emotive voice not dissimilar to Adele’s award-winning one – that prevents me from writing her off entirely. Any tips for removing the bass from my brain gratefully received, though.

Overleaf: it's "All About That Bass". You're welcome.


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