Most of the songs on ‘Thank You’, the follow up to last year’s ‘Title’, are catchy, solid pop tracks. From lead single NO and funky opener Watch Me Do, through fifteen songs to the title track (on the deluxe edition), the album is laden with infectious hooks. But you’d expect that from the writer of All About That Bass, no matter how irritating that song may be.
That said, the whole album is based on pastiche rather than originality. Watch Me Do? Pure Timberlake. Me Too? A really bad Will.I.Am track. NO? Classic Destiny’s Child meets Britney. Better? Reggae inflected, Rihanna-esque R&B. And that’s just the first four tracks. Not once does Meghan Trainor show an ounce of novel thought across the whole album. Most likely, that’s due to her career as a songwriter and producer for others. Trainor was behind Fifth Harmony’s banger Sledgehammer and latest J-Lo single Ain’t Your Mama amongst others. ‘Thank You’, then, is on a par with Sia’s latest – songs that should’ve been performed by others.
Imagine if Timberlake had sung Watch Me Do, though he’d never do anything this basic. Imagine if Rihanna had sung Better, though she’s too busy courting an edgier hip-hop sound. Imagine if Beyoncé had sung Woman Up, though she’d never agree to such a terrible lyric.
Speaking of which, it’s with lyrics that Trainor massively falls down. “I been on a no-hater diet,” she sings on Watch Me Do, before boasting about her “nice curves, nice breasteses”. Woman Up may be a twist on the misogynistic phrase “man up”, but isn’t it just conforming to female stereotypes? And that’s before we hit the terrible tropical house of Champagne Problems, where Trainor moans about her Uber being late and her wi-fi not working before dousing herself in champagne. Mom, meanwhile, is the sonic equivalent of dried vomit on the side of the street.
The real crux of the matter, though, is that Trainor simply is not a popstar. Her voice is nothing special. Her aesthetic lacks distinction. Her music is just an amalgamation of other genres without originality. She is completely lacking the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to be an actual popstar. All it takes is one look at the video for NO. That half-arsed dance routine. The terrifyingly blank stare. There’s no denying that Trainor is dead behind the eyes. If this ends up being the best music 2016 can provide, then pop is dead.
* Watch Me Do
Listen: ‘Thank You’ is out now.