Album Review: Meghan Trainor’s ‘Treat Myself’ Was Worth The Wait
The wait is (finally) over! Meghan Trainor came through with the release of her long-anticipated third album Treat Myself (out January 31). And she made up for the lengthy gap between projects – it’s been four years since her last LP Thank You – by packing the tracklist with no shortage of sugary pop delights. Clocking in at 15 songs, her latest contains some familiar numbers that span the already two-year long era. It also features a string of collaborations with everyone from the Pussycat Dolls to Nicki Minaj and AJ Mitchell.
It’s an exciting listen. And what keeps listener’s engaged throughout is Meghan’s charisma and artistry. The feisty pop star has rarely sounded more confident than she does here. And she uses the lengthy project to showcase her creative range. There’s plenty of the irresistible bops she does so well alongside some more mature love songs. Even better, there are a few tracks that could set her career on an entirely different course in the years to come. All said and done, she delivered a project that deserves respect and was well-worth the wait.
Take me like a wave, pull me back and forth.
Treat Myself opens with what may very well be Meghan Trainor’s best song to date. That would be “Wave.” Produced by and featuring the vocals of Mike Sabath, the frothy, electro-bop details the highs and lows of a dramatic love story. And it does so with a grace that elevates it to a class above the saccharine bops M-Train churns out with inexplicable ease. This is the sort of mature anthem that could very easily take her career to another level, and it is offensive that it didn’t rocket up the Billboard Hot 100 in 2019.
I don’t know you, but I’m just what I wanna be.
Opening with a whispered intro over bouncy beats, “Nice To Meet Ya” may very well become the era’s first chart-dominating smash. Meghan’s collab with Rap Queen Nicki Minaj is the sort of self-assured banger that both women do so well. And there’s no denying the chorus, which only grows in power as Ojivolta’s beats pick up. Nicki’s verse is predictably fierce, and it is a serious co-sign to have the (clearly not retired) diva on your record.
I want you back. Baby, come dance on me.
“Funk” is a case where the song title tells us exactly what we should expect. The track is a funk-laden reverse break-up anthem. Laying her voice over supersized beats, the siren details her thirst for a former parter. And suffice to say that she is parched. Paired with the lively production (it was co-produced alongside Eddie Benjamin and Mike Sabath), this is an irresistible gem.
Baby, go ahead and take your throne.
Meghan and Mike Sabath should work together more often. The duo clearly has undeniable chemistry in the studio, as evidenced by the fact they created many of Treat Myself’s best songs together. One of their strongest collabs is “Babygirl.” The moody, well-appointed midtempo highlights the importance of self-love. It’s a heartfelt message, and you can feel the compassion in the hitmaker’s voice as she imparts wisdom upon listeners.
Time to be good to me. I should give myself way more love.
The theme of self-love carries over to the Sasha Sloan and Lennon Stella-assisted “Workin’ On It.” Only this time the lyrics detail the women’s personal experiences with learning to love themselves flaws and all. Which makes it even more relatable. It’s also nice how the trio comes together to create a lush soundscape instead of restricting themselves to individual verses. This is the sort of pop collaboration that I’d love to see more of in 2020.
All that we had is lost in the fire, burned into ashes.
One of the reasons Meghan decided to postpone the release of Treat Myself was that she couldn’t stop writing love songs following her marriage to Daryl Sabara. Songs like “Ashes” make it abundantly clear that she got over that in later writing sessions. This one is an emotional breakup song that finds her moving on from what sounds like a strained prior relationship. The imagery has been done before, but the siren finds a way to make it uniquely hers.
7. “Lie To Me”
Lie to me. Tell me that you love me and you’d die for me.
Co-written with her brothers Justin and Ryan, “Lie To Me” continues to prove that the entire Trainor family is musically inclined. On it, Meghan pleads with a former partner for a second chance. And if they can’t provide that, then she’d greatly appreciate a lie. The whistle that comes in on top of a dance break on the back half really makes the song what it is. More of this please.
8. “Here To Stay”
Darling, I know you’re here to stay.
The tracklist moves back into romantic territory on “Here To Stay.” Here Meghan celebrates the sense of consistency that comes when you’re in a committed relationship. There’s not the slightest sense that she’s bored, either. Instead, the diva is very much enthralled by this development. On the album it gets a little lost in the mix. But there’s something undeniably sweet about the hidden delight.
Better not blink, ’cause you don’t wanna miss this.
Meghan is on another plane when it comes to feel-good pop. Since the breakout success of “All About That Bass,” she’s taken over this corner of the market. And the trend very much continues on the new album. Produced by Sigala and Steve Manovski, “Blink” is another example of her seemingly unshakable self-confidence. And this breezy bop is certainly tailored for the clubs.
“Genetics” was good when it first arrived as a solo track last year. However, the addition of The Pussycat Dolls takes the ferocious, self-assured banger to another level. Nicole Scherzinger and Co. bring even more sassy energy to the raucous hit, and they prove to be a surprisingly adept addition. I can only pray this gets a single treatment at some point in the near future. If not, I at least demand a live performance.
11. “Evil Twin”
I can’t help that she’s a wild one, baby.
We’ve all done things that we’d like to blame on someone else. And that’s exactly what Meghan does on “Evil Twin.” The rollicking bop introduces us to her “crazy bitch” alter ego after a wild night filled with regrets. However, it is an outlier on the tracklist for me. In that the track is a little too twee for my taste. That being said, there’s no denying the performance she delivers over the breezy beats.
12. “After You”
Don’t wanna give my heart to someone new. Won’t be anybody after you.
Last Valentine’s Day Meghan put together some of the love songs she wrote and gifted them to us on The Love Train EP. The best of those was “After You,” which returns to Treat Myself. Only this time the gorgeously written ballad has been improved with the addition of AJ Mitchell. Both artists serve vocals, and the end result is a marvelous tribute to never-ending love. If this doesn’t soundtrack first dances for years to come, then people truly lack taste.
13. “Another Opinion”
Probably hate me ’cause you love me. You obsessed with me.
Meghan very politely delivers a middle finger to her naysayers over laid back beats on “Another Opinion.” Instead of going off on the haters, this is a decidedly classier approach that puts her on the moral high ground over the rude people on Twitter. Plus the ukulele segments and cheeky lyrics feels like such a throwback to the hitmaker’s older material. In the best way.
14. “No Excuses”
Your mama raised you better than that.
Fourteen songs into Treat Myself, and we’re finally getting to the one that started it all. Of course, I’m talking about the LP’s initial lead single “No Excuses.” Two long years after its initial release, the Andrew Wells co-produced bop still holds up as a gem. With its supersized production and unapologetically sassy message, this is a track that is so quintessentially Meghan it simply could not have been forgotten.
15. “Have You Now”
I’ve waited all this time so don’t let me down. Stay with me for life.
Speaking of songs that belong in Meghan’s DNA, that takes us to the closer “Have You Now.” The album’s final Sabath production (he had some help from Some Randoms) is another candy-coated delight. It’s also one of the collection’s sugariest love songs. Keep an eye on this because I wouldn’t be surprised if it got the single treatment at some point during the era.