Meghan Trainor is a popstar trapped in a doo-wop, wannabe viral world who must be stopped
Her new single begs us to call her Mother, but I’m afraid we never will
Free Meghan Trainor. Now. This is not a hot take, but a call to arms. She’s trapped in a Back To The Futurean 50s hellscape, forced to record only the worst of the doo-wop worst until they go viral on TikTok. And we shall not stand for this anymore – we need her freed, or stopped. After a recent upwards trajectory with her first top 20 single in six years, it’s all coming crashing back down for Meghan Trainor with her new single Mother as it gets dragged mercilessly ‘cross the coals online. But what went wrong?
All About That Lack of Identity
Meghan Trainor burst into superstardom with All About That Bass, a sickly and inescapable “body postitivity” “anthem” that aimed to tell you how gorgeous big bodies were whilst dragging the “skinny bitches” and “stick-figure, silicone Barbie dolls”. It was a monstrously large hit that put M-Train everywhere – and had a few insufferable follow up hits.
The vibes shifted with era two, however – Meghan Trainor died her hair brown and dropped No, a lead single that lured you in with promises of doo-wop by numbers only to switch it up with a Overprotected-era Britney drop. Along with Me Too, it became her best song with ease – Little Mixian pop tunes that don’t sound like they were made to play in a diner in 1954.
Her third album – expected in 2018 but not seeing the light of day until 2020 where it was marred with a nary a blip on the commercially successful radar despite Nicki Minaj and Pussycat Dolls features on the tracklist. Sonically this album was all over the place, and public eye wise Meghan Trainor no longer had any presence at all. Even in the pop circles within the darkest depths of Gay Twitter – she had no presence.
After a few tepid Christmas albums, Takin’ It Back arrives in 2022 with little fanfare, until a song goes viral and everything changes.
Made You Look
“I could have my Gucci on / I could wear my Louis Vuitton / But even with nothing on / I made you look” sings Meghan Trainor, on the chorus of her return to doo-wop that against all odds goes extremely viral. There’s a dance trend, there’s a charming TikTok likability from Meghan herself and there’s international chart success.
All things considered and doo-wop ‘Hairspray music’ aside, Made You Look is quite a great pop song. Slick harmonies, catchy chorus – it made a convert of me. It even got a nice little Kim Petras remix with some new vocals, a release so rushed for extra streams that it got released with a single cover art that I could have made in 30 seconds – someone please tell me who that laced glove hand belongs to because it is neither the hand of Kim Petras or Ar Meghan.
The right thing to do after the success of Made You Look was nothing. It was to go “Hmm that was a nice and unexpected viral hit!” and let everyone recede back quietly to the natural order of things. But Meghan Trainor, her record label – or a lethal combination of both – had more nefarious ideas in store for us.
This week, Meghan Trainor announced her new single Mother – previewed on YouTube Shorts before a scheduled release sometime in March. It’s the lead single for the deluxe rerelease of Takin It Back, a rejigged attempt at a big album after the success of Made You Look. To put it bluntly, Mother is a fucking monster.
A hideous and transparent attempt at capitalising on pretty much everything they possibly can capitalise on, Mother is built around a repugnant sampling of Mr Sandman and references Gay Twitter’s affinity for calling pop stars and female icons of pop culture in general ‘mother’. It stems from Drag Race, and Ball culture – Mother of the house, RuPaul releasing Call Me Mother – it lives online. Recently, Sam Damshenas of Gay Times sat next to me as we met Sarah Michelle Gellar at the launch of her new show Wolf Pack and educated her on why we call her mother. Her charming response went viral, organically.
“I am you mother / You listen to me / Stop all that mansplaining, no one’s listening / Who gave you the permission to speak? / I am your mother, you listen to me” goes the snippet we’ve got so far, accompanied by a choreographed TikTok-ready dance that basically screams PLEASE INTERNET, I’VE SEEN WHAT YOU DID FOR MADE YOU LOOK, DO IT AGAIN FOR US RIGHT NOW. My question for Meghan Trainor, her record label, and the entire marketing build up of Mother is: Do you think we’re thick?
It must be stopped
I understand that labels and the music industry in general is at panic stations, because they have not a single clue what to do. In the past, it was easy. Pick your singles, get them sent to radio, show the video on the music channels, bish, bash, pop star. It isn’t that simple anymore. A stupid sea shanty goes viral on TikTok and then a month too late he’s got a record contract and a Joel Corry remix. Okay, and then what?
I would like to speak directly to the people in charge of campaigns like we’re seeing Meghan Trainor undertake for Mother and ask… do you know why things go viral? Do you actually know how this stuff works? When Binley Mega Chippy went viral I was there at said chippy and was asked by BBC Coventry “Why is this happening?” To ask why is to admit this is not for you.
We accept things go viral randomly, such is the organic nature of the internet. “Mousse ain’t sticking, water ain’t slicking” is a Kiwi kids bop viral on TikTok right now for no reason whatsoever, no trend built up to it – it just happened. Lightning does not strike twice.
I must reiterate that despite my strong words I do very much wish Meghan Trainor well. She comes across lovely, and she’s got a great voice. Let Meghan Trainor go and mother her child in peace rather than forcing her to tell us all to call her Mother and that we have to listen to her under duress. Let her release her parenting book Dear Future Mama and sink into the onesie wearing relaxed future she deserves. Please.
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