The success of Meghan Trainor’s new album, Thank You, will play a pivotal role in her longevity as an artist. Her first studio album, Title, rocketed her to the mainstream with hits “All About That Bass” and “Lips Are Movin”, but Trainor’s sustainability hinges on her second album. Now that the fanfare surrounding “Bass” has settled down, Thank You will need to keep her original fanbase happy and draw in new fans, too.
I must admit, Title, was not an album that appealed to me, but I still appreciate what it added to the musical landscape in 2015. An empowering album that tackled issues of body image and self acceptance was much needed in today’s age where cyberbullying and body shaming run rampant. Despite this, I felt that “All About That Bass” was a bit too cheesy and pandering, so while it was frequently stuck in my head, it was never by choice. Trainor’s talents as a songwriter and vocalist were apparent, and when Thank You landed, I was looking forward to listening to it.
Thank You opens with “Watch Me Do”, which lyrically feels like a more rhythmic and rougher around the edges version of Beyonce’s “Flawless”, with lyrics like “If you wonder how I make it look effortless / The answer to your question is / That I just woke up and I feel some type of way.” I doubt Trainor would mind any comparisons to Beyonce — and “Watch Me Do” is a strong opening.
“Me Too”, the follow up to the album’s lead single, is Trainor at her most self-loving and accepting. She oozes confidence on the track, without needing to separate herself from thinner, less curvaceous women. While “Me Too” is lyrically rather shallow and monotonous, the single shines with its infectious beat and masterful production.
It’s interesting to note that the music video for “Me Too” was controversially edited to slim down Trainor’s physique, something that her fans quickly noticed and eventually led to the clip being pulled and re-released without the changes to her body. It’s a shame that an artist known for her positive message about body acceptance, one who arguably has built her career on not being a stick figure, is still ritually and viciously edited to give the illusion she fits a certain mold. It is commendable that Trainor stood up for her message and insisted the video be changed, even though that sadly is the most interesting thing about “Me Too”.
While off to an unoriginal start, Thank You shines with its female empowerment anthem “NO”. With its clever and catchy lyrics that stay true to Meghan’s brand and the track’s incredibly dance-worthy beat, “NO” is a stellar addition to Trainor’s list of singles. She may not be an artist that can continuously deliver an album free from filler, but with single choices like “NO”, Trainor won’t be heading out of the spotlight any time soon.
Trainor veers off her usual course of self-love with the tracks “Better” and “Hopeless Romantic”, opting instead to sing about the search for true love. It’s interesting to hear her take on a more traditional love song, but the results are sadly rather generic. Trainor quickly gets back to her message of loving yourself, and the aptly-titled “I Love Me” featuring Lunchmoney Lewis is a highlight on Thank You that would surely perform well as a single.
The flow from “I Love Me” is broken with the next track “Kindly Calm Me Down”, another love-driven ballad that would be better suited beside “Better” and “Hopeless Romantic”. Trainor’s charm isn’t in her ability to sing about love lost, and while it is nice for her fans to have relatable songs like “Kindly Calm Me Down”, they would be more effective grouped together in an appropriate place towards the album’s close. Having them scattered around the album comes across as trying to be diverse with ultimately underwhelming ballads.
This happens again with the wonderful “Woman Up” situated between “Kindly Calm Me Down” and the slow “Just a Friend To You”. A wonderful track like “Woman Up” loses its sustainability when the album quickly fluxes from uptempo girl power to lovelorn wistfulness. Other songs about bravery and standing up for yourself begin to round out Thank You; “I Won’t Let You Down” finds Meghan singing about not letting a lover down, and “Dance Like Yo Daddy” finds Trainor’s message of self-love treading thin in another formulaic paint-by-numbers pop song.
Thank You closes out on a high note with “Champagne Problems”, an ode to first-world problems that cheekily and sarcastically puts in place a culture that needs to spend less time complaining and more time celebrating life.
Ultimately, Thank You is neither groundbreaking nor remarkable, but it’s an album that will surely keep Trainor building momentum in her career. At times, Thank You comes across as predictable, and it largely suffers from poor song placement that makes it hard for the album to set a tone and naturally progress from one topic to another. Perhaps the real problem is that Trainor has little to say, and Thank You is ultimately an LP that would be better off trimming the fat down to an EP of its strongest tracks.