Meghan Trainor presents nothing new in ‘Takin’ It Back’

Meghan Trainor may have “Made You Look,” but was she able to make you listen? If you’ve been active on TikTok over the past two weeks, I’m sure you can’t get the lines “I could have my Gucci on / I could wear my Louis Vuitton / But even with nothin’ on / Bet I made you look” out of your head.

It’s been nearly impossible to scroll through the app without hearing snippets of Trainor’s latest single “Made You Look.” Luckily for her, this has made it a massive hit. The song can be found on her fifth studio album “Takin’ It Back,” which dropped on Oct. 21.

It is safe to say that Trainor practically disappeared within the pop music scene after her major debut success in 2014 with “All About That Bass” and 2015 album “Title,” which featured her other solid hits “Dear Future Husband” and “Like I’m Gonna Lose You (ft. John Legend).” She released a few songs afterward that reached radio stations or appeared in movies, like “Me Too” and “No Excuses,” but they were nothing extraordinary.

Without TikTok, Trainor would likely be irrelevant in the industry, or at least not have nearly as much success as she currently does. She received a surge of attention over the past year when people found out that she was married to Daryl Sabara, an actor known for his 2001 role as Juni Cortez in the “Spy Kids” film franchise. Trainor and Sabara also have a baby together, and their family content brings in a lot of engagement.

She has become a member of a core community of TikTok influencers, and it seems that her online presence is what helped her remain relevant. This past April, she appeared in TikToker Chris Olsen’s coffee series, where he travels crazy lengths to bring anyone a cup of coffee. Since, the two have become best friends and consistently appear in each other’s TikToks, and their dynamic is what keeps viewers so entertained.

The “Made You Look” music video is even packed with some TikTok fan favorites, including Sabara, Olsen, JoJo Siwa, Scott Hoying and Drew Afualo. In some ways, it is nice to see Trainor spotlight some small-scale online celebrities, but it mainly just seems like they are the people she is more closely associated with, rather than fellow pop stars.

Her album did well on the day of its release, despite being the same day that Carly Rae Jepson and Taylor Swift released their new albums. Similar to Trainor, Jepson – best known for her 2012 single “Call Me Maybe” – has an outdated popularity, but part of her recent song “The Loneliest Time” has been trending on TikTok, which helped her album gain traction. Neither of the pop stars could compete with Swift’s “Midnights” success, though.

Even if Trainor had a following like Swift, “Takin’ It Back” still would not be any better of an album. Trainor definitely returned to her glam, doo-wop pop style, which works very well in “Drama Queen” and “Lucky.” However, after listening to the album in full, her sound is more repetitive than stylistic.

Most of the songs are under three minutes and sound incredibly similar, making it difficult to differentiate between them. Even her slower ballads, like “Superwoman” and “Rainbow,” sound all too familiar.

Trainor also has a redundant way of opening her songs. Nine of the songs on this album begin with isolated vocals before any music begins. It quickly loses its charm.

Although I listened to the album from start to finish, most people did not. On Spotify, “Made You Look,” which is the second track, has over 17 million streams. The number of streams on the first half of the album goes as low as 600,000. The remainder of the album has about 400,000-500,000 streams, and the numbers decrease as the album reaches the end, leaving the final song, “Last Breath,” with under 300,000 streams.

It is a shame to see the rest of her album not live up to the current Trainor hype, but I do not foresee her popularity lasting that much longer. “Takin’ It Back” is overall a fun album that highlights a positive and spunky attitude of Trainor that I admire, but I don’t plan on listening to it much after this. I will, however, be spending the rest of this month trying to get “Made You Look” out of my head.

2/5 stars

Photo courtesy of Anthony Quintano.