Something about bubblegum pop just feels — empty. Meaningless lyrics, profane themes and overused synthesizer sounds are just a few of the classic pop elements found in Meghan Trainor’s debut studio album, “Title.”
Sure, we have all heard the feel-good hit “All About That Bass” and her latest single “Lips are Movin’,” but unfortunately, the album has little to brag about aside from more formulaic catchy songs about boys and heartbreak. Seriously, more? Her Nicki Minaj-esque voice goes from rapping to singing and back to rapping, leaving the listener unsure whether Trainor has talent, or has an excellent producer that can feign it.
Honestly, how many songs can she write about partying, being “too tipsy” and making a regretful mistake until she has exhausted the topic? From “3am” to “Walkashame” to “Bang Dem Sticks,” it is clear that partying is an incessant part of Ms. Trainor’s lifestyle. While this is fine and quite typical of a college student, this is not music that would be indulged in outside of a loud Friday or Saturday night. Some songs try to provide a saving grace of emotion, such as “My Selfish Heart,” but back-up vocals drown out Meghan Trainor’s own voice, and the constant sound of snapping fingers is more annoying than catchy.
“What If I” has a cabaret feel, but it has an over-eager soul sound as she sings: “I want to kiss you tomorrow.” Her naivete is practically written between the lines, and it is overbearing how 21st-century pop has turned all remotely good music to annoying junk singing of “swagger” and boys who are “whack.” She even sings, “We look better on paper/I am way too young for this” at the ripe age of 21 in “Mr. Almost.”
Of course, guest artists appear in the bridges of songs, from John Legend to Shy Carter, spewing out words about girls looking fine, which is certainly more “middle school dance” than “intellectual use of time.”
Body image, women’s rights and other ideals are admirable in Meghan Trainor’s songwriting, but these hardly fare when paired with computerized pop sounds and otherwise empty lyrics. “Dear Future Husband” is overwhelmingly honest and frank for a 21-year-old, who sings of having a “one and only” and demands nice dates and flowers on every anniversary. However, there are some positive feminist undertones when Trainor writes,
“You got that 9 to 5/But, baby, so do I/So don’t be thinking I’ll be home and making apple pies.” It is clear that Trainor has staunch opinions, most of which are positive for the intended audience of teenagers. In “All About That Bass,” Trainor writes, “It is pretty clear/I ain’t no size two.”
“Title” was released on Jan. 9 and is already at number one in Australia. It is well on its way to the top of the charts in the United States. It seems this is because while these catchy pop songs are mindless, they are also somewhat enjoyable. However, the whining of autotune is cringe-worthy, and Trainor practically strains her voice to reach any high notes.
After one listen to the album, only a few songs were memorable. And with a few more listens, all songs sound the same. This element of radio pop is what makes it so forgettable, and while this album may do wonders for Meghan Trainor‘s pop-music career, it is unlikely that her true talent will shine. Save “Title” for extreme boredom only — or perhaps a high-school prom.