“I’m the shh, be quiet, I been on the no-hater diet,” Meghan Trainor proclaims on the opener to her second album, Thank You. “Watch Me Do” is a far cry from the cutesy, doo-wop sound that dominated much of Trainor’s debut album Title. When she sings, “I get all choked up, and see how much I made/ And I feel so good, like James Brown in his day,” it may shed some light onto Trainor’s state of mind following her meteoric rise to fame, but it also tells us a lot about the album itself. It’s funky, upbeat and sees the singer/songwriter exuding a confidence that was missing in her previous work. And while you may find yourself nodding along, you can’t help but notice the weak composition. There’s talk of “breastases” and “textes from exeses” which sounds as awkward as it reads. Trainor may have upgraded her sound, but her songwriting is still in need of some growth.
Trainor has talked a great deal about her songwriting process, which apparently doesn’t take very long; “Lips Are Movin'” was allegedly written in just eight minutes. And while simple hooks and melodies might work when releasing singles, it doesn’t make for a great album. There’s not a whole lot here that justifies inclusion or listening for that matter.
Lead single “No” is not only the album highlight, but perhaps Trainor’s best song, and by best I mean the least irritating. That being said, I can’t help but think what it would have sounded like in the hands of a more capable, dynamic artist. Part of what makes Thank You such a failure is that Trainor’s lack of personality; she fails to really sell these songs, as evidenced by whatever the music video for “No” was. The success of that particular song lies within its production. It sounds like the very best of Destiny’s Child and 90s Max Martin and Britney Spears put together, and yes it’s very catchy. However, you could’ve thrown anyone behind it and it would have been a hit; nothing about it screams Meghan Trainor. In the hands of an Ariana Grande or even a Fifth Harmony, it could have been a full on smash.
“Champagne Problems” (not to be confused with the Nick Jonas song of the same name) might take the award for the worst song released this year. “Champagne problems champagne problems, so pour a glass and drink up on my champagne problems” Trainor sings over and over and over again, threatening to drive you crazy. The rest of the song leaves even less to be desired. “Can’t believe my Uber is late again, gonna be late for dinner with my friends, these shoes hurt so bad can’t feel my toes, and I forgot my jacket back at home,” she laments before unfortunately jumping right back in the chorus.
There’s some guest appearances from LunchMoney Lewis and Yo Gotti (which make no sense) and even Trainor’s mother for the bonus track cut “Mom” which is a bland, but cute, ode to her mother. Though she’s aiming for her full on pop star moment, Trainor does have some stringy songs that recall the doo-wopy work done on Title. “Hopeless Romantic” and “Just A Friend To You” are much more within her wheelhouse than reductive power ballad “Kindly Calm Me Down” or “No’s” less memorable cousin, “Woman Up.”
Thank You looks to catapult Trainor into a whole new stratosphere of pop superstardom. While I’m sure her ‘Megatronz’ will absolutely love the album and radio will find another hit or two with the 15 songs she’s provided us with, there’s nothing here that demands to be listened to. If anything, it’s just more of the same, hollow music wrapped in a sleek, shiny new exterior.
***Essential Tracks: “Me Too,” “No”***