When you debut at the top there’s nowhere else to go but down, right? Meghan Trainor replies with a defiant “nah to the ah to the no, no, no” on her impressive sophomore effort, THANK YOU. After giving us a colourful selection of Doo-Wop-Pop offerings on her debut disc TITLE in 2015, she comes back quickly with this seamless progression, which better showcases the 22-year-old Massachusetts native’s maturity as both a singer and a songwriter.
The 12-track offering, with a 15-track Deluxe Edition option, veers more to the rhythmic with the exception of a few phenomenal ballads. More so than on her debut, the Grammy winner’s vocals shine on this collection paying homage to the “big vocal” R&B-dominated early 2000s, an era when the vocal flourishes of Beyoncé, Mariah and Christina were just as memorable as the actual hooks and choruses of the sangs they sang. Although nothing new, can we say how refreshing it is to hear some “real” singing here? Not to name names, we don’t deny raising an eyebrow seeing some recent nominees for Best Pop Vocal Album on Music’s most important night. Producer Ricky Reed (Pitbull, Jason Derulo) helps Trainor sculpt a sound on a majority of the Disc, which brings us a bit of comfort in familiarity, tweaked with production sensibilities in a Bieber-Drake-Rihanna era on the airwaves.
Brassy James Brown-inspired Watch Me Do takes a moment to reflect on her rapid rise at the top of the Disc, giving us a bit of that familiar sing-rapping we’ve come to expect of Trainor. Me Too is an interesting clash with those Doo-Wop-tinged harmonies we love, a bit of EDM on the verses and full-on R&B on the choruses. First plug No is wildly-infectious and a bona fide smash peaking in the Top 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and we’re still not bored of it! The last quarter of the Track has us in awe at Trainor’s musicianship as a vocalist and this is about as dark as she gets on the collection.
The gears are switched on breathtaking ballads Hopeless Romantic and Kindly Calm Me Down, transporting us to another place and reminding us again why that Grammy was no fluke. Production Trio The Elev3n lend a hand on the dancehall-infused rhythms of uplifting Woman Up, a cut from the same empowered cloth as No. Just a Friend to You sounds like it could have been a track on Trainor‘s debut, possessing a simplistic charm and once again those recognizable Doo-Wop harmonies, violins and ukulele. Interestingly, title track Thank You is reserved for the Deluxe Edition of the Disc only and it is a mid-tempo number heavy again on the reggae influence, featuring Virgin Islands-hailing collaborators R. City who brought us catchy Locked Away (ft. Adam Levine).
Although a bit of a departure from that endearing innocence we heard on Trainor‘s debut, Thank You is a smartly-advised and necessary progression she needs to be a lasting force in the Pop genre. There are certainly enough reminders there that the same confident, sassy girl is still here. Expect big numbers.
Sony Music Entertainment Canada release Meghan Trainor‘s THANK YOUFriday, May 13, 2016.