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Title (album)

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Title
A portrait of Meghan Trainor sporting a green fur jacket, posing afront a blue backdrop, with her name and the title, "Title" appearing in the portrait's corners.
Standard edition cover. The deluxe edition features brighter colors, while the special edition cover is red.
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 9, 2015 (2015-01-09)
Recordedc. 2014
Studio
Genre
Length32:27
LabelEpic
Producer
Meghan Trainor chronology
Title (EP)
(2014)
Title
(2015)
Thank You
(2016)
Singles from Title
  1. "All About That Bass"
    Released: June 30, 2014
  2. "Lips Are Movin"
    Released: October 21, 2014
  3. "Dear Future Husband"
    Released: March 17, 2015
  4. "Like I'm Gonna Lose You"
    Released: June 23, 2015

Title is the debut major-label studio album by American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor. It was released on January 9, 2015, by Epic Records. Initially a songwriter for other artists in 2013, Trainor signed with the label the following year and began recording material she co-wrote with Kevin Kadish. They were tired of the electronic dance music predominant in contemporary hit radio and drew influence from retro-styled 1950s and 1960s music.

Title is a doo-wop, pop, blue-eyed soul, and R&B record, with elements of Caribbean, hip hop, reggae, and soca music. Inspired by past relationships and her insecurities about body image, Trainor wrote songs she wished existed before she attended high school. The songs on the album explore themes such as female empowerment, self-respect, and self-awareness. Trainor promoted it with several public appearances and televised performances.

After Title's release, Trainor embarked on the 2015 concert tours That Bass Tour and MTrain Tour. The album was supported by four singles, including "All About That Bass" which reached number one in 58 countries and became the best-selling song by a female artist in the 2010s. It also produced the US Billboard Hot 100 top-15 singles "Lips Are Movin", "Dear Future Husband", and "Like I'm Gonna Lose You", the latter of which features John Legend and peaked at number one in Australia, New Zealand, and Poland. Reviewers criticized Title's repetitiveness and did not foresee a long-lasting career for Trainor, though some appreciated her wit and audacious attitude.

Title debuted at number one on charts in the US, Canada, Scotland, and the UK, and spent multiple weeks at the summit in Australia and New Zealand. It was Epic's first number-one album in the US since 2010, and in Australia since Michael Jackson's The Essential Michael Jackson in 2005. Title made Trainor the fifth female artist in history to send her debut single and album to number one and follow-up single to the top five in the US. It was the ninth best-selling album of 2015 worldwide, and earned multi-platinum certifications in the US, Australia, Canada, and Poland.

Background

Meghan Trainor developed an early interest in music and started singing at age six. She began performing her compositions and soca music as part of the cover band Island Fusion, which included her aunt, younger brother, and father. Trainor temporarily relocated to Orleans, Massachusetts, with her family when she was in eighth grade, before moving to North Eastham, Massachusetts. She attended Nauset Regional High School, where she studied guitar, played trumpet, and sang in a jazz band for three years. When Trainor was a teenager, her parents nudged her to attend songwriting conventions and took her to venues at which production companies were searching for new artists and songwriters. She used Logic Studio to record and produce her compositions and later worked independently in a home studio built by her parents.

Trainor independently released three albums of material she had written, recorded, performed, and produced, between the ages 15 and 17. These included her eponymous 2009 release, and 2011 albums I'll Sing with You and Only 17. Trainor introduced herself to former NRBQ member Al Anderson at a music conference in Nashville. Impressed by her songwriting, he referred her to his publisher Carla Wallace of music publishing firm Big Yellow Dog Music. Though Trainor had been offered a full scholarship at the Berklee College of Music, she decided to pursue her songwriting career and signed with Big Yellow Dog in 2012. Her ability to compose in a variety of genres influenced this decision. Trainor was unsure about becoming a recording artist herself; her father recalled: "She thought she was one of the chubby girls who would never be an artist." Throughout 2013, she traveled to Nashville, New York City, and Los Angeles, where she wrote and helped produce country and pop songs. Trainor recorded demos for other artists and her vocals were occasionally used on the final recordings.

Recording and production

Trainor found songwriting affinity with American songwriter Kevin Kadish, whom she met in June 2013, due to their mutual love of pop music from the 1950s and 1960s. Kadish had wished to create a "'50s-sounding record of doo-wop-inspired pop" for three years, but could not find any artist that was interested. He shared the idea with Trainor after the two bonded over Jimmy Soul's 1963 single "If You Wanna Be Happy", and they decided to create the extended play (EP) Title (2014) with the same sound, "just for fun". They wrote the song "All About That Bass" (2014) in July 2013, and had completed three songs before Kadish started producing a rock album for the rest of the year. Trainor and Kadish pitched it to several record labels, who said it would not be successful because of its retro-styled composition and wanted to rerecord it using synthesizers, which they refused. Trainor performed the song on a ukulele for L.A. Reid, the chairman of Epic Records, who signed her with the label 20 minutes later.

Trainor immediately began working on more songs with Kadish as Epic wanted her to record an entire album. The label briefly suggested that Trainor work with other producers, such as Pharrell Williams or Timbaland, but she insisted on continuing with Kadish: "Kevin's my guy". Her artists and repertoire called Kadish and said, "whatever you did on 'Bass,' do it 10 more times. Don't bring in any more writers. Don't bring in any other producers. Whoever you used on that song." While recording Title, Trainor took a two-month break because polyps were developing on her vocal cords. She recounted that Kadish would "calm [her] down, [they would] dim the lights, so [she] wouldn't get frustrated", and had to use demo vocal takes Trainor had recorded as guides. Some of the album's material was recorded while Trainor laid on a bed Kadish made in the studio. In September 2014, she told Billboard that it was "pretty much done" and she only had one more song left to realize. Following the initial completion of Title, Trainor and Kadish had an additional day to work together and went into the studio. They wrote the song "Lips Are Movin" (2014) within eight minutes. Trainor told USA Today in mid-August, "It was done until we wrote this smash in eight minutes, literally. I calculated it: eight minutes. We were like, we have to add this now."

Trainor wrote "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" (2015) with fellow songwriters Justin Weaver and Caitlyn Smith while working in Music Row, and intended to pitch it to Kelly Clarkson. Initially reluctant to include it on the album, her manager and uncle convinced her otherwise. Title's sound was inspired by Trainor's love of throwback-style records, and music from the 1950s and 1960s. She wanted to continue the doo-wop vibe of the album's preceding singles, and simultaneously showcase influences of Caribbean music, rapping, and Fugees. Trainor considered it distinctive and disparate from popular music at the time: "it's got the throwback in there, but I snuck some reggae in there and clever fun lyrics and catchy melodies". According to her, the writing on Title reflects on the changes in her life and artistic process. Trainor intended the album to be a source of empowerment for young people; she wished some of its songs existed before she attended high school. She gravitated towards discussing unemployed men she had dated in the past, who made her pay for them and only texted her instead of taking her out. When Time's Nolan Feeney asked Trainor what she wanted listeners to hear on it, she said, "I want to help myself. I want to make sure guys take me on a date and treat me right because I didn't do that in the past. I want to love my body more. I just hope younger girls love themselves more, and younger people in general."

Composition

Overview

A young long-haired blonde woman singing into a microphone onstage. She wears a black skirt and jacket while pink stage lighting shines upon her.
Trainor performing on the Jingle Ball Tour

The standard edition of Title includes 11 tracks; the deluxe edition contains four additional original songs. The album predominantly has a doo-wop, pop, blue-eyed soul, and R&B sound. Kadish and Trainor drew from their mutual interest in retro-styled music, as they were tired of penning hackneyed electronic dance music catered to contemporary hit radio's tastes. AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine thought it balanced old-fashioned girl-group pop and old-school hip hop. Title comprises three-part harmonies, handclaps, finger-clicks, acoustic bass guitar, bubblegum pop melodies, and reggae and soca riddims. According to Jim Farber of the New York Daily News, the album's Caribbean music tracks were inspired by Trainor's Tobago-born uncle, and Millie Small's song "My Boy Lollipop" (1964). He wrote that it roots itself in the same style as "All About That Bass" and "Lips Are Movin", and recalls "girl groups in all their glory".

Trainor performed Title reminiscent of musical theatre style, and combined rap verses with cabaret choruses. Chuck Arnold of Rolling Stone described her vocals as "torch-y" and "tangy", reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. The album has lyrics about contemporary female empowerment, self-respect, and self-awareness. It uses themes of contradiction, such as individual versus society, modernity versus tradition, and dependence versus independence. Writing for The Seattle Times, Paul de Barros noted that Title focuses on adult themes, and Trainor occasionally employs profanity on it. According to Boston's Bryanna Cappadona, she portrays a "bossy, egocentric and sexually candid" personality on the album. Helen Brown of The Daily Telegraph remarked that "Trainor tackles 'complicated' relationships and drunken one-night stands with perma-perkiness" on it, while Tshepo Mokoena of The Guardian wrote it proved that Trainor is not a feminist.

Songs

Trainor's love of songwriting inspired the 24-second interlude "The Best Part", which Billboard's Carl Wilson compared to the 1954 song "Mr. Sandman". "All About That Bass", a bubblegum pop, doo-wop, hip hop, Italo-Latin soul, and retro-R&B pop song, encourages embracing inner beauty, and promotes positive body image and self-acceptance. "Dear Future Husband" was inspired by doo-wop standards like Dion's "Runaround Sue" (1961), and Beach Boys songs that possess big choruses with intentionally low-pitched melodies; its lyrics are about chivalry and dating, and lists the things a man needs to do to be Trainor's life partner. "Close Your Eyes" is a contemporary ballad on which Trainor gives a soulful and "nuanced, fluttery vocal performance" over an acoustic guitar and pitch-shifted background vocals. The song features lyrics about Trainor's body image insecurities. "3am" is a "quieter and more vulnerable" song, on which Trainor succumbs to an ex-boyfriend and drunk dials him.

The soul ballad "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" features guest vocals from John Legend. In the song's lyrics, Trainor parlays her fear of losing a loved one into determination to relish and savor every moment spent with them. "Bang Dem Sticks" is a raucous, suggestive, and thematically ribald song, about her attraction to drummers. It has a simple percussion rhythm, horn and drum instrumentation, and a patois-inflected rap verse from Trainor. On "Walkashame", she details a hangover, and expresses embarrassment while defending someone returning home nonchalantly after an unintended one-night stand. Trainor wrote the title track and "Dear Future Husband" to correct issues with contemporary dating and hookup culture, like women basing their self worth on social media likes and whether their partner replied to their texts. The former is a doo-wop song with Caribbean music influences and a ska-inflected bridge, on which she refuses to be friends with benefits and pushes her partner to define their relationship more clearly.

The penultimate track of the standard edition is "What If I", a 1950s-style ballad with string instrumentation, which contemplates the dangers of first-date sex and is lyrically reminiscent of The Shirelles's 1960 single "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". The final track, "Lips Are Movin", is a bubblegum pop, doo-wop, and Motown bounce song, with lyrics inspired by Trainor's frustrations with her record label. Reviewers including The Tennessean's Dave Paulson and MTV News' Christina Garibaldi deemed it a song about leaving a significant other after being cheated on, an interpretation Kadish is open to. It received widespread comparisons to "All About That Bass" from critics; Trainor admitted they "followed the [same] formula". "No Good for You", the first of the four bonus songs on the deluxe edition, contains elements of ska, with Trainor offering her opinion about a troublesome man in its lyrics. "Mr. Almost" and "My Selfish Heart" are about being in an unhealthy romantic relationship. In "Credit", Trainor demands credit from her ex-boyfriend's new partner, for the positive qualities and habits he developed during his time with her. "I'll Be Home", a seasonal ballad, appears on the Japanese edition of the album.

Release and promotion

Trainor marketed Title as her debut studio album. She pulled her independent albums from circulation in the build-up to its release. Upon his first meeting with Trainor, Reid thought she had "lightning in a bottle" with "All About That Bass" and "was going to explode", but was unsure about what her next step should be: "All I knew is that I had one in my hand, I didn't even think about what would come behind it." Trainor felt pressured to retain her look from the song's music video after it gained popularity. In March 2015, she partnered with plus-size retailer FullBeauty Brands as a consultant for the creation of clothing for women with varying body types. Trainor's 2014 EP of the same name, which included "All About That Bass", "Dear Future Husband", "Close Your Eyes", and the title track, was released on September 9, 2014. Epic announced Title's release date in October 2014, and replaced the EP with its pre-order. The album's standard and deluxe editions were released digitally on January 9, 2015. Its special edition, consisting of music videos and behind-the-scenes footage, was released on November 20, 2015.

Meghan Trainor performing in a pink jacket and black skirt
Trainor performing on Today

Title was supported by several singles. The lead single, "All About That Bass" reached number one in 58 countries and sold 11 million units worldwide. It was the best-selling song by a female artist in the 2010s, with 5.8 million digital downloads sold in the US. The lyrics caused controversy; some critics called the song anti-feminist and accused Trainor of body shaming thin women. It was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. The follow-up singles "Lips Are Movin" and "Dear Future Husband" reached the top 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The latter's music video was criticized over allegations of antifeminism, sexism and perpetuation of gender stereotypes. "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" was released as the fourth single, and reached number one in Australia, New Zealand, and Poland.

Trainor promoted Title with a series of public appearances and televised live performances. She performed at award shows, including the Country Music Association Awards, iHeartRadio Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and the American Music Awards. Trainor's appearances on television talk shows included The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Today, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. She was part of the line-up for the Jingle Ball Tour and Today's Toyota Concert Series. The album was supported by two concert tours, That Bass Tour and MTrain Tour. The former began in Vancouver, British Columbia, in February 2015, and concluded in Milan in June 2015. Sheppard served as the opening act. The MTrain Tour commenced in St. Louis the following month, supported by Charlie Puth and British band Life of Dillon. Its remainder was canceled on August 11, 2015, after Trainor suffered a vocal cord hemorrhage.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?5.0/10
Metacritic59/100
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic
Billboard
The Daily Telegraph
Entertainment WeeklyA−
The Guardian
New York Daily News
The Observer
Rolling Stone
Slant Magazine
Spin4/10

Title received mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 59, based on 13 reviews. Entertainment Weekly's Melissa Maerz characterized it as "real-girl pop with massive charm" and said it will help Trainor project multi-generational appeal. Arnold thought Title is "charmingly old-fashioned" and commended Trainor for co-writing each of its tracks. Farber complimented her vocals and wit-laden style of songwriting but thought the album "crosses the line from confident to smug", and noted her self-harmonizing as emblematic of its "[emphasis on] the image of self-containment". Brown described it as "relentlessly cute" and a showcase of "plenty of wit and watertight tunes", but advised Trainor to "read more self-help than she spouts".

Title's repetitiveness drew criticism. Marc Hirsh of The Boston Globe considered the album "more of the same" as "All About That Bass" and censured Trainor for pillaging herself, but was positive of its sassy attitude and catchiness. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Mikael Wood opined that it "offers a dozen variations" of her debut single and deried its opposing themes as "unexamined", accusing her of appropriating the vocal patterns of black artists. Wilson stated that though Title sends the right message to Trainor's young audience, it gets dreary.

Some reviewers thought Title signaled Trainor's commercial success is unsustainable. Slant Magazine's Alexa Camp believed that her retro style is untenable and anticipated a commercial decline reminiscent of Duffy, as she lacked Winehouse's "raw emotive talent" and ability to infuse a retro sound with "distinctly 21st-century sonic and lyrical sophistication". Dan Weiss of Spin stated he would be pleased if the album became "a gateway for body-conscious adolescents", but thought it was indicative that Trainor lacks endurance: "If she was actually as clever as her press release and titled the album It Girl With Staying Power, she might actually have staying power". Wilson noted that aside from her "understandable naïveté", her foibles are "stylistic cherry-picking" and a "compulsion to appear adorably relatable and socially correct", which she would be wise to eschew for a long-lasting career. Mokoena said it is "full of lyrical contradictions" and warned listeners not to expect "insightful and intimate songwriting". Erlewine opined that though Title was marred by "echoes" of "All About That Bass", it proved Trainor is smart enough to channel "a big hit into a real career".

Commercial performance

In the US, Title debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 issued for January 31, 2015, with 238,000 album-equivalent units during its first week, replacing Taylor Swift's 1989 at the top of the chart. Trainor became the first female artist to top the chart with her debut album since Ariana Grande's 2013 release Yours Truly. Keith Caufield of Billboard wrote that its debut-week tally included 195,000 in pure sales and that it was "an impressive figure, considering January is traditionally a sleepy month for big new releases". Title made her the fifth female artist in history to send her debut single and album to number one and follow-up single to the top five in the country. The album also entered at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart.

Title opened atop the Australian Albums Chart issued for January 25, Epic's first album to do so since Michael Jackson's The Essential Michael Jackson (2005). The album spent multiple weeks at the summit. It debuted at the pinnacle of the New Zealand Albums Chart on January 19, spending two consecutive weeks there. Title entered at number one on the Scottish Albums Chart and UK Albums Chart. It achieved success in Europe, where it peaked within the top 10 in Denmark, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Several songs from it entered charts worldwide despite not being released as singles. The title track reached the ultimate position on the Billboard Hot 100, and number nine in New Zealand. It was certified Gold in both countries. "No Good for You" debuted and peaked at number 91 on the Swedish Singles Chart, where it charted for two weeks.

Title received certifications, including 3× Platinum in the US, Australia, and Canada; 2× Platinum in Poland; Platinum+Gold in Mexico; Platinum in Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK; and Gold in the Netherlands. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, it was the ninth best-selling album of 2015, with 1.8 million copies sold worldwide.

Track listing

Title – standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."The Best Part (Interlude)"Meghan TrainorKevin Kadish0:24
2."All About That Bass"
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish3:07
3."Dear Future Husband"
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish3:04
4."Close Your Eyes"
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish3:41
5."3am"
Gelbuda3:06
6."Like I'm Gonna Lose You" (featuring John Legend)
  • M. Trainor
  • Justin Weaver
  • Caitlyn Smith
  • Gelbuda
  • M. Trainor
3:45
7."Bang Dem Sticks"
3:00
8."Walkashame"
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish2:59
9."Title"
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish2:55
10."What If I"
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish3:20
11."Lips Are Movin"
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish3:02
Total length:32:27
Title – Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
12."No Good for You"
J.R. Rotem3:36
13."Mr. Almost" (featuring Shy Carter)
Kadish3:16
14."My Selfish Heart"M. TrainorKadish3:47
15."Credit"
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish2:51
Total length:45:57
Title – Special edition (bonus tracks)
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
16."What If I" (guitar version)
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish3:18
17."Title" (acoustic)
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish2:55
18."I'll Be Home"M. TrainorM. Trainor3:39
Title – Special edition (bonus DVD)
No.TitleDirector(s)Length
19."Title" (music video)Anthony Phan2:55
20."All About That Bass" (music video)Fatima Robinson3:10
21."Behind the Scenes of 'All About That Bass'" 2:08
22."Dear Future Husband" (music video)Robinson3:21
23."Behind the Scenes of 'Dear Future Husband'" 1:56
24."Like I'm Gonna Lose You" (music video)Constellation Jones3:47
25."Behind the Scenes of 'Like I'm Gonna Lose You'" 3:41
Title – Japan version (bonus tracks)
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
16."I'll Be Home"M. TrainorM. Trainor3:39
17."All About That Bass" (instrumental)
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish3:08
18."Title" (instrumental)
  • M. Trainor
  • Kadish
Kadish2:53
Total length:55:37

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a vocal producer
  • The physical special edition includes "Good to be Alive" as the 16th track.

Personnel

Credits are adapted from the liner notes of Title.

Recording locations

  • Recorded and engineered at The Carriage House (Nolensville, Tennessee) (tracks 1–4, 8-11, and 13–15), The Green Room (East Nashville, Tennessee) (tracks 5 and 6), Germano Studios (New York City) (track 6), Meghan Trainor's home studio (Nashville) (track 7), and Beluga Heights Studio (Los Angeles) (track 12)
  • Mixed at The Carriage House (Nolensville, Tennessee) (tracks 1–4, 8-11, and 13–15), Larrabee North Studios (Universal City, California) (tracks 5–7), and Beluga Heights Studio (Los Angeles) (track 12)
  • Mastered at The Mastering Palace (New York City)
  • Management – Atom Factory, a division of Coalition Media Group (Los Angeles)
  • Legal – Myman Greenspan Fineman/Fox Rosenberg & Light LLP

Personnel

Charts

Certifications

Certifications for Title
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA) 3× Platinum 210,000double-dagger
Canada (Music Canada) 3× Platinum 240,000double-dagger
Denmark (IFPI Danmark) Platinum 20,000double-dagger
Mexico (AMPROFON) Platinum+Gold 90,000double-dagger
Netherlands (NVPI) Gold 25,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ) Platinum 15,000^
Poland (ZPAV) 2× Platinum 40,000double-dagger
Sweden (GLF) Platinum 40,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI) Platinum 300,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA) 3× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history

Release dates and format(s) for Title
Region Date Format Edition(s) Label Ref.
Australia January 9, 2015 CD Deluxe Epic
Germany
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Ireland Digital download
United Kingdom
United States
Australia January 13, 2015 CD Standard
Germany LP
United States
  • CD
  • LP
Germany March 4, 2015 CD Japan Sony
November 20, 2015 Special
Australia December 4, 2015 Epic

See also

External links