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Meghan Trainor's excellent new album 'Takin' It Back' is her welcome return to form

Meghan Trainor's "Takin' It Back" is full of bops. – Photo by Meghan Trainor / Twitter

The modern-day doo-wop queen has made her return.

Meghan Trainor’s last full album came about nearly two years ago, with her underrated 2020 album "Treat Myself" (though she also released an EP, "The Love Train," in 2021). Since then, the pop singer has entered motherhood, welcoming a baby boy into the world with her famous husband, Daryl Sabara.

Trainor took over the world in 2014 with her hit single "All About That Bass," shooting her to superstardom and making her into a household name. She made waves for touting messages of body positivity and breaking free from the industry standard of what a traditional pop star should look like.

While many people did not like Trainor due to her bubblegum pop sound and her outward critiques of misogyny and fatphobia, her newfound platform made history and created a place for those outside of society’s ruthless norms to belong.

Trainor followed up the success of "All About That Bass" with her debut studio album "Title," spawning the hits "Like I’m Gonna Lose You," "Lips Are Movin'" and "Dear Future Husband."

During this era of her career, I was in eighth grade, and I was a self-proclaimed superfan. I knew (and still know) every word of her debut album and even attended her tour in 2015. While she’s fallen off for me over the years, I will always appreciate her talents immensely.

When it was announced that her newest album "Takin’ It Back" would be a return to her iconic doo-wop sound, I knew I had to give this project a listen. One thing I’ve always loved so much about Trainor was her use of the doo-wop sound in a modern, fresh and unique way, especially in an industry where you don’t hear those sounds much anymore.

Let’s take a look at the newest addition to Trainor’s discography, highlighting some of the highs and lows of the pop star's newest musical endeavor.

The album opens with "Sensitive" featuring Scott Hoying of the Pentatonix, an emotional and doo-wop-centric ballad that starts off this project with that classic and nostalgic sound. The lyrics discuss themes of being sensitive yet content with watching someone toxic walk out of your life. This song is a beautiful opener to the album and sets the tone perfectly for what’s to come.

The next highlight on this album is the second track, "Made You Look." This song is Trainor’s most recent single and has recently become a popular trending sound on TikTok. I absolutely love the fun and playful vibes of this song in addition to the classic doo-wop elements in the instrumentation and melody. Overall, this song is hit-worthy.

The album’s title track "Takin’ It Back" is another high point in the tracklist, incorporating funky disco-inspired melodies and smooth vocals for a fun and effortless listening experience. This song is one of my favorites on the album, and the vibes are immaculate.

"Don’t I Make It Look Easy" returns back to Trainor’s tried and true doo-wop elements, big band instrumentation and complex harmonic melodies. I also absolutely love her use of playful speak-singing in the second verse of this track in addition to her soft vocals.

Both "Superwoman" and "Rainbow" are beautiful ballad moments on this album, and I truly love both songs so much. While I think their relative placement right next to each other on the tracklist wasn’t a great move, they stand beautifully as individual tracks on this project.

An interesting standout track for me on this album is "Mama Wanna Mambo" featuring Dominican singer Natti Natasha and Cuban-American trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. This song is unlike any other I’ve heard from Trainor, and it’s extremely fun.

Inspired by the music she grew up listening to, this song truly ties elements of pop and traditional Trinidad and Tobago calypso music together phenomenally. The song has lyrics regarding needing a night out to dance and unwind with your partner, and I absolutely love it.

As a whole, I think this album is outstanding and was a much-needed move in Trainor’s career. After years of growing up, navigating the music industry and entering motherhood, she has finally returned to her roots to deliver a gorgeously mature and cohesive album that will live on for years to come.

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