“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.
Mariah Carey does not get the respect she deserves.
You don’t have to look far to find someone on Twitter ready to catch her next vocal slip up. When she released Me. I Am. Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse back in 2013, a tidal wave articles were published lambasting the singer for the album’s disappointing commercial performance (despite some pretty great reviews). But Mariah has been there, and done that. She’s played the game, set precedents, created trends within popular music and broke countless records along the way.
There is always the designated “star” of any high profile group that is destined for a solo career. Perhaps the best examples of that theory are Beyoncé Knowles and Justin Timberlake. With emphasis on Beyoncé, the two have established themselves as two of the top recording artists working in the industry today, truly establishing themselves as solo artists. Zayn Malik looks to continue that trend.
Gwen Stefani has been away from the pop music scene for some time now. If you don’t count the No Doubt “comeback” album that never really was, 2012’s underrated Push and Shove (and I don’t), it’s been almost a decade. 2006’s The Sweet Escape was a mixed bag of a record, containing some really stellar tracks (the album’s title track, “Early Winter,” “4 in the Morning” to name a few) but was bogged down by too many filler tracks that never lived up to the level of her No Doubt efforts, or even her now iconic solo debut album Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
Though she can churn out a basic, infectious pop anthem (“Wind It Up,” “Rich Girl,” “Hollaback Girl”) Setfani is at her best when she’s being personal. “What You Waiting For,” “Cool,” “Early Winter” and No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” are all essential listens, and each detail a story or conflict straight from the singer/songwriter’s life.
Sia Furler was a major force in the world of pop music long before she exploded onto the scene with 2014’s mega-hit “Chandelier.” Before the now iconic blonde bob, before the music video featuring Maddie Ziegler, Sia was cranking out hits for artists like Rihanna, Flo Rida, David Guetta. So much of her image has been crafted around the woman behind the music, that when she thrust herself onto the main stage, one wondered if she had what it took to become a lasting presence and not just a flash in the pan. Her brilliant sixth album, 1000 Forms of Fear was recorded and released to simply release her from her recording soundtrack, and put an end to any idea that she was going to be one of the major pop girls. The rest is history.
It’s hard to talk about Rihanna’s latest album without discussing the long, seemingly never-ending, rollout that preceded it. I can’t remember an album campaign this confusing, or frustratingly drawn out as this one in my lifetime. And whether you want to believe all of the rumors concerning the singer’s dissatisfaction with various versions of the album or her search for songs to actually put on the album, is entirely up to you.