When Meghan Trainor says in her introductory track, The Best Part (Interlude), that “The best part of being a singer at all / Is singing to the world my songs” I can only assume it’s said with the same glee as one who farts in a room, then blocks the door and closes the windows. It’s quite startling to hear someone be so aggressively self-sexist, but it’s a feat Trainor manages on a good majority of her songs, to not even mention her harmful representations of body image (I’m sure you’re all tired of arguments over All About That Bass). She attempts to put on a larger-than-life egotism that is ultimately confused, forced, and undeserved. But I’d like to turn to the aural qualities of her album instead.
In this sense, All About That Bass isn’t quite so bad. It’s a catchy song, for sure. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I found it stuck in my head more than a few times. What’s disappointing is that it is the second track on the album – first, if you don’t count the 25 second introductory track – and, I can assure you, it is all downhill from there. At every subsequent turn through the album, just when you don’t think things can’t possibly get any worse, in comes a track like Bang Dem Sticks, flanking you with the brute force of its sheer vacuousness:
I love it when it’s loud, I love it when it’s big, You can feel it in the crowd, Come on, bang dem sticks.
A tour de force of cringe-worthy double entendres, Bang Dem Sticks had me planting my face firmly on my desk, begging for Trainor to throw me a bone, anything that would redeem this listening experience. And then she began to rap. As if her awkward self-harmonies and strange sex noise-esque vocal runs punctuating various songs weren’t enough. Let’s just say Kendrick won’t be raising any eyebrows yet, and leave it there.
I struggle to believe that, at what seems like such a great time for pop music, someone can be so offensively generic, so outstandingly bland. And yet the album doesn’t even possess the neutral quality held by so many others (Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran, etc.) of at the very least not being annoying to have pop up in the background. No, her obnoxious vocal arrangements and lyrics make sure that you will smell her fart. Meghan Trainor attempts to be inclusive, quirky, fun, chilled, crazy, hyper-egotistical, committal, and hyper-sexual all at the same time in some bamboozling combination that screams of someone trying to hard to be something, but they don’t even know what it is that they’re trying to be.
I can only applaud the Herculean efforts of the producers, engineers, and session musicians for having not rammed pencils in their ears during the recording process.