Hello, and welcome back to Radio Rants. Let’s keep it friendly today; I’m still recovering from the holidays. How about that Hozier song, or something?
Did I miss a memo? When did Meghan Trainor notch a second hit? We’re still sort of dealing with overplay and bad, bad jokes from “All About That Bass”, and now she’s already on a new song? That seems odd, especially since this wasn’t on that EP she released. …hang on, let me check something. Quick factcheck to Wikipedia, and yep, eminent album confirmed. Meghan Trainor wants to be a pop star.
I have mixed feelings about this.
Ok, so I liked “All About That Bass” enough for it to get a passing grade. Not a high one, but still, it was a charming, catchy enough accidental hit that was hard to dislike on its face. What it didn’t do is convince me that Trainor is someone we need to hear more from. When it comes down to it, the song just isn’t that interesting as a composition, and the same holds true for Trainor as a singer/songwriter; she’s competent and distinct, but nothing suggests she deserves more than being a one hit wonder.
In fact, “Lips Are Movin” is practically Exhibit A for MT’s One-Hit-Wonder status because it’s a wholesale rewrite of “All About That Bass”. Trainor like-rapped her verses on that song? She makes Iggy Azalea sound like Ghostface Killah here! Did you enjoy the horns with jaunty piano on “AATB”‘s chorus? Guess what! “Lips Are Movin” has jaunty piano with horns for its chorus! I hope y’all liked hearing a body part-based title repeated from here to eternity, because that bullshit’s back like Shady’s back, too. Some of the same melodic ticks and backing vocals make a reappearance, and Trainor even mentions her bass by name four fucking times. Hey, she wasn’t kidding when she said it was all she’s about.
With the “All About That Bass” Radio Rant, I mentioned that Trainor would do best if she kept writing songs that became accidental hits, not planned ones. This is partly because chasing your own song from a few months ago is kind of tacky, but also because the soul/doo-wop sound she explored on that song was a novelty genre blend you can only squeeze so much life out of. Like, if you were feeling disingenuous, you could say that “AATB” sounded like an Old Navy commercial (the “pretty people doing pretty dances in pretty clothes” video didn’t exactly help), but the song was fresh enough and the iota of social commentary kept that charge from sticking. Now, remove any of that song’s smarts–lyrical or production–and you’re left with “Lips Are Movin”, the Target advert Amy Winehouse never had to write for drug money. Perhaps tired of the “is she a good feminist or nah?” commentary that’s surrounded her for months, Trainor opted for the most tepid kiss-off song ever.
“If your lips are moving, if you’re lips are moving/If your lips are moving, then you’re lyin’, lyin’, lyin’, baby” “If I copy my lyrics, I’ll stop tryin, tryin’, tryin’, baby”
“Boy, look at me in my face/Tell me you’re not just about this Bass” I was kidding, dammit.
“You really think I could be replaced?/Nah, I come from outer space/And I’m a classy girl, I’ma hold it up/You’re full of something, but it ain’t love” Dear God, I’m having “Black Widow” flashbacks, and I don’t know who I’m supposed to be insulting with that.
“I know you lie/Cuz your lips are moving/Tell me do you think I’m dumb?/I might be young, but I ain’t stupid/Talking around in circles with your tongue” This stanza would be okay, except there’s no elegant way to use “tongue” in a song.
“You can buy me diamond earrings and deny/But I smell her on your collar so goodbye” This couplet in such an upbeat voice that the lyrics barely register. Meghan Trainor takes infidelity better than I take the Chipotle line being too long.
Look, I get that Trainor’s in an uncomfortable position. She’s got a few Grammy nods, but the Title EP was met with a collective shrug, and no one wants to be a One Hit Wonder by 22. But shamelessly rewriting your first hit right down the the lyrical references is a bad look on anyone; Carly Rae Jepsen at least had the good sense to try something different on her album than write “Maybe Call Me”. Trainor’s biggest problem is a very real lack of depth; “Lips Are Movin” might be a hit, but she needs to sound exciting or fresh. This song is neither. I compared her to Lorde, but this song makes her career strike a lot closer to Taio “Two Hits For the Timing of One” Cruz. The lips might be moving, but I don’t hear a damn thing.