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“Title” Album Review: Meghan Trainor Delivers on Debut


When doo-wop music hit the mainstream in the 1950’s, it displayed mostly teenage love and heartbreak to the tune of vocal harmonies and melodies that are still marveled at today.

Doo-Wop is unquestionably one of the finest eras in music history.  Back when studios couldn’t fix a voice to sound a certain way – these artists practiced and refined their craft non-stop and sounded better live than they did recorded.  It’s always fun to think of how much more complete the sound might’ve been if recorded with today’s technology.

Female artists like The Chantels  and Kathy Young made a niche for themselves in the doo-wop era – but being women at that time – limited them in what they could sing about.  Keep in mind, “heartbreak and love” were pretty much the only topics allowed for a woman to sing.

It was unheard of back then for women to speak of promiscuity or have any sexual undertone in their lyrics.

In 2015, that is far from what’s going on.   Women are outspoken, speak their minds freely and leave nothing to the imagination.   With “Title,” Meghan Trainor takes doo-wop nearly sixty years passed it’s prime into the age of texting and facetime.

Meghan Trainor opens the album with her #1 hit single “All About That Bass” which made waves because of the playful honesty the song displayed.  Trainor is a girl with curves and is proud of every inch of herself – as she should be.  She displays this confidence in herself at every turn in this album and truly speaks to the female listeners with the song “Close Your Eyes.”

It’s here where Trainor says: “Everybody’s born to be different / That’s the one thing that makes us the same / So don’t you let their words try to change you / Don’t let them make you into something you ain’t.”  The song itself effortlessly combines the three worlds of hip hop, doo wop and country in smooth fashion.  The musical marriage of Meghan Trainor and producer Kevin Kadish are a perfect fit for this project.

Kadish gives Trainor the “doo-wop meets pop music” backdrop that is technically sound and catchy, which goes along great with Megan Trainor’s big personality and character.

Trainor’s story-telling is at times brazen and witty as it is on the track “Credit,” where she let’s it be known that she made her ex-boyfriend what he is, and although she doesn’t want him back – she would like a “thank you” from the current girlfriend.  Her melody is in classic Doo-Wop sound – even equips it with a “shooby-doo-wop.”  Meghan combines this sound with today’s lyrics with: “It’s not that I want him back, ain’t tryin’ to be mean / But I bought him brand new clothes and burned the skinny jeans. . . . she should be thanking me and sending me some flowers / I taught him everything, now he can last for hours.” 

Trainor even admits to her insecurities with  “3 AM,” where she talks about drunk texting a dude in the late hours of the night because she wants his “attention.”   She even deals with the task of trying to talk to a friend of hers who’s involved with someone that she says is “No Good For You.” Once again, the production laced with stabbing horns in the chorus and simple guitar chords accompanied by snapping fingers in the verses  are a genius touch by Kadish.

Trainor and Kadish really try to out-do each other on one of the album’s standout tracks “Walkashame.”  Here Trainor details the confusion of the morning after a one-night stand, but in true “Meghan Trainor Fashion” she owns up to it by strutting herself out of her partner’s house with a wave of her hair and confidence.

This track is simply infectious. 

Meghan can play the role of “the bad girl” and it still comes off “innocent” during the chorus thanks to the piano keys and harmonies that she rides perfectly “Don’t act like you haven’t been there / 7 A.M. with the bed head / Everyone knows it’s the walkashame / My daddy knows I’m a good girl / We all make mistakes in the drunk world.”

“What If I” and her duet with John Legend “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” displays Meghan at her most vulnerable.  “What If I” feels like the classic “Great Pretender” by the Platters and Meghan delivers a soulful ballad.  She doesn’t have the strongest voice out in the industry but stays in her pocket and delivers a genuine tone.  The chorus of “I’m gonna love you, like I’m gonna lose you / And I’m gonna hold you like I’m saying goodbye” in “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” – shows a great touch of song writing here as one proclaims to the other to never take them for granted.

The album’s few hiccups come in the form of a rap feature by Shy-Carter, who sounds like a really bad version of B.O.B on the track “Almost.”  The song was flowing fine until he comes along and basically ruins it.  There are times when Meghan herself adds her rapping “skills” to the music, as she does this on her newest single “Lips Are Movin”.

It’s not that she’s terrible when she does it, but it’s mostly unnecessary and messes up the flow she has going on some of the records.  “Bang Dem Sticks” is a forgettable track and “Dear Future Husband” is a track that is silly but is carried by the production.

Meghan exhibits a confident, young and strong personality that isn’t afraid of straying away from the norm or being the center of attention.  Unlike her female doo-wop predecessors, Meghan’s opinions and voice are not shackled by society – and in today’s world it’s appreciated and accepted.  She might push the envelope a little too much to make her “kid-friendly” and although this album definitely opens up 2015 with a pleasant surprise – this album does not give much for looking into Meghan Trainor’s longevity.  But for a girl who’s all about that bass, she bangs into the industry with a debut album that brings a fresh take on a classic musical era.

Rating 8 out of 10.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 


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