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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Meghan Trainor, Jennifer Nettles, Corinne Bailey Ray, Mark Knopfler and more...

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016

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Meghan Trainor

"Thank You"


Grade: B-

It's about a lot more than that bass for Meghan Trainor the second time around. After the platinum success of last year's "Title" and its chart-topping hit "All About That Bass." "Thank You" is not so much an expression of gratitude as of triumph as empowerment. "I feel so good/Like James Brown in his day," she sings at the start of the 12-track set, while later on she teams with LunchMoney Lewis to declare in the gospel-tinged "I Love Me" that "I don't mean to brag/I don't mean to boast/I love all y'all/But I love me the most." The chest-thumping extends to the men in her life ("No," "Better" with Yo Gotti) and to Trainor's BeyHive-like sisterhood in "Woman Up," all bathed in overwhelmingly spare, clever (and in many cases gimmicky) arrangements by primary producer Ricky Reed. "Thank You" definitely nods towards the 90s and early 00s, particularly on the Britney Spears-aping "No" and the Destiny's Child/Beyonce-leanings of "Woman Up," and the set touches all required bases of ukulele pop ("Just a Friend to You"), urban swagger ("Watch Me Do," "Me Too"), power ballad ("Kindly Calm Me Down") and EDM ("Champagne Problems"). Trainor certainly sounds assured from start to finish, and between that and Reed's crafty touch "Thank You" fits nicely in the contemporary pop sphere, even if it doesn't necessarily stand too far apart from the rest of the dross.

New & Noteworthy:

Sawyer Fredericks, "A Good Storm" (Republic): The debut major label outing from the 17-year-old singer-songwriter who's the youngest winner in the history of "the voice."

Hard Working Americans, "Rest In Chaos" (Melvin): The second outing by the Americana "supergroup" of Todd Snider and members of Widespread Panic and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

Mark Knopfler and Evelyn Glennie, "Altamira" (Verve): A low-key collaboration between the former Dire Straits leader and the Scottish master percussionist.

Jennifer Nettles, "Playing With Fire" (Big Machine): The Sugarland singer's second solo albums features a batch of new original material as well as a collaboration with Jennifer Lopez on "My House."

Pierce The Veil, "Misadventure" (Fearless): The fourth studio album, and first in four years, from the San Diego headbangers.

Corinne Bailey Rae, "The Heart Speaks in Whispers" (Virgin): The third studio album from the British singer-songwriter -- and critic's darling.

Also Out: Avatar, "Feathers and Flesh" (eOne); Rob Baird, "Wrong Side of the River" (Hard Luck); David Banner, "The God Box" (+180); Civilian, "You Wouldn't Believe What Privilege Costs" (self-released); Dance Gavin Dance, "Tree City Sessions" (Rise); DevilDriver, "Trust No One" (Napalm); Aaron Einhouse, "It Ain`t Pretty" (Vision Entertainment); Hatebreekd, "The Concrete Confessional" (Nuclear Blast America); Bill Lloyd, "Lloyd-ering" (Spyderpop); Modern Baseball, "Holy Ghost" (Run For Cover); Nothing, "Tired of Tomorrow" (Relapse); Darrell Scott, "Couchville Sessions" (Full Light/Thirty Tigers); Trashcan Sinatras, "Wild Pendulum" (Red River); The Struts, "Everybody Wants" (Interscope); Foy Vance, "The Wild Swan" (New Elektra)

From The Vaults: Grateful Dead, "July 1978: The Complete Recordings" (DeadNet/rhino); New Order, "Complete Music (Expanded)" (Mute); Rainbow, "Boston 1981" (Purple Pyramid); The Wallflowers, "Burning Down The Horse (Deluxe Edition)" (Interscope)

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