Meghan Trainor

Title

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"All About That Bass" spread throughout the globe with the speed of a pandemic disease, and its viral nature neatly camouflaged how Meghan Trainor was no naïve ingénue. She landed a publishing deal at the age of 18 and had one of her songs recorded by pop-country superstars Rascal Flatts, show-biz bona fides that belied her Internet sensation status. Title, Trainor's full-length debut, suggests this tactic was deliberate: snag an audience via a near-novelty, then rely on her well-honed craft for the rest of the record. Certainly, echoes of "All About That Bass" can be heard throughout Title, particularly in how she and her chief collaborator Kevin Kadish balance a love of old-fashioned girl group pop with old-school hip-hop, but the cumulative effect of the album's 15 tracks is to shift attention away from her cutesy style to her songwriting skills. Admittedly, Trainor is eager to embrace her enthusiasm for musical theater -- she's the first post-Glee pop star, consciously putting on a show as she sways between rapped verses and cabaret choruses, liberally borrowing from Dion's "Runaround Sue" for "Dear Future Husband," making sure that she laughs after delivering a pun on her own last name -- but over the course of a record the affectations don't seem quite as potent as they do when they're distilled to a single. By the time the record winds its way around to the Motown bounce of "Lips Are Movin" -- a single equally inspired by vintage 45s and Amy Winehouse's snazzy new-millennial revival that's the best song here -- Trainor's giddiness has become ingratiating, so it's easier to warm to her considerable skill at pastiche and performance. Far from consigning her to one-hit wonder territory, the blend of strength of personality and music-biz savvy on Title shows that Meghan Trainor is clever enough to parlay a big hit into a real career.

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