Music, OldVenue

Review: Meghan Trainor’s Title

The confidence was always there. Throughout even her first forays into media and television appearances, as well as in the video for debut single All About That Bass, Meghan Trainor exuded a winking, “ready-when-you-are” sense of belonging. This self-assuredness, coupled with a mastery of the new world of album-release Twitter campaigns and Instagram teasers, ensured that Trainor’s debut LP, Title was to be the type of release that was pre-destined to be a success.

I’m aware that I’m a grown man, listening to this album alone in my room on a Friday night. This is not what I’d originally had in mind for my evening, and it’s (hopefully) definitely not what Trainor’s PRs had had in mind as their target audience. Rather, the music sounds like it’s been written to be played at those girls-only sleepovers you always used to see in teen movies and were never sure actually happened in real life. Because of this, the album can make its listener feel almost voyeuristic: these lyrics and stories weren’t ever intended for someone like me to hear, and while I’m usually a member of the younger demographic, this is an album that makes me feel I should be applying for my Freedom Pass and signing up for AARP newsletters.
Title fluctuates between, to borrow from Sum-41’s phrasebook, killer and filler. Dear Future Husband, the album’s third track, falls into the latter category – as any song that follows Bass was bound to. The album’s fifth track, 3am, wins this article’s award for ‘Most Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr-worthy Quote’ for its hook: “3am, I’m texting you once again, even though I’m hanging with my friends”. Three in the morning is an exquisitely illicit time for Trainor’s presumably pre-to-mid-teen audience. It’s late enough to be an unfathomable hour for them to be typically be awake at, yet attainably early enough that if they really tried, or were really hung up about a guy, they’d be able to stay up for it.

However were they to, they’d need to listen to some other music during the wait, as none of the album’s 15 songs come close to the four-minute mark. The attention span of the #Megatrons, as Trainor has christened her fans, presumably falls somewhere between the six-second length of a Vine and the 15-second limit on an Instagram video. And while I’m sorry to keep coming back to them, it’s hard not to be reminded of mobile applications when one thinks of Trainor. She’s an artist whose success owes so much to social media, and many of whose song titles read as ready-to-share hashtags (see Bang Dem Sticks, Walkashame). From 3am, the album cruises onto Trainor’s second single, Lips are Movin’ , itself then followed by the ever so slightly sapphic No Good For You, a soon-to-be guaranteed appendage to all high school romantic dramas.

It’s an odd thing to review an album that is so strongly directed at a totally different age range and gender to one’s own.

However for Trainor, identifying and marketing to a pre-selected niche, as well as staying committed to specific themes, seems to have paid off – and influenced her peers. Taylor Swift’s inescapable Shake it Off, released two months after Bass, seems to derive from the same lucrative school of self-love, enabling the two artists’ fandoms, within which there is presumably some significant crossover, to (deservedly) gorge on anthems of positivity. So what if some of us weren’t invited to the party – they’re having a lot of fun inside.

10/02/2015

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louischeslaw Louis Cheslaw once was the substitute on his school basketball team, until lack of skill derailed his career. Hoop dreams behind him, he now writes about arts, culture, and social media. See website (below) for more information and a video of him attempting to cover Bonnie Tyler.