Meghan Trainor, Sheppard House of Blues February 25, 2015
It's easy to look at pop music from a conspiratorial mindset. If the industry wants an act to get big, it eventually will. Whether they take a gem and polish the edges into something marketable or create something in the lab, money is being invested somewhere to get someone into your ears.
Unless, of course, you're a one-hit wonder. Sometimes an artist lucks into a song so good that a label invests in it, the entire time knowing that they'll be tossing the artist aside as soon as they've squeezed all the blood out of the stone.
If you haven't seen Meghan Trainor in concert yet, it's easy to write her off as a one-hit wonder. Surely that "All About That Bass" girl isn't going to have a real career, right?
Time may eventually render this statement silly, but here goes: get ready to be stuck with Miss Trainor for at least a few more years, because she's not going away anytime soon.
Trainor's mythology and mystique are more interesting than her music, which bizarrely might be more of a plus than you might think. Does anyone really think "All About That Bass" was offered up to Adele or Beyonce? If it was, it was offered up the same way countless well-meaning but ultimately foolish Twitter accounts spam Drake offering him their hot new beats. Find a reality where Adele releases "All About That Bass" as a single and settle their permanently; butter is probably as healthy as kale in that reality, and who doesn't want healthy butter?
So yeah, the story about offering up a hit single to other megastars only to turn it in to a chart-topping, show-closing crowd pleaser is probably a bit of a stretch, but it sounds good. That's someone we as listeners can root for.
And rooting for Meghan Trainor isn't exactly hard. Watching her live, you can see she's got the skill set to become a star. Her singing is fine, her dancing is way better than Gaga's was at the start of her career and she's charismatic as hell. She's got the "being Meghan Trainor" thing down, and it's not a bad gimmick to have.
It's a shame then that even live many of her songs come off as undercooked. She does her best to sell the hell out of them, but the run of songs that included "Close Your Eyes," "3am" and "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" somehow dragged even more than they do on her album.
Chalk it up to poor structure, because up until that point the show was better than you might expect.
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Trainor has spunk. She carries herself like a superstar. She projects confidence in a way few pop stars actually do. It's a really interesting look, and is enough to carry songs like "Dear Future Husband" and "No Good for You." Her show comes out of the gate strong, and gives a glimpse at the type of star she might grow to be.
Trainor is the post-"Firework," post-"Born This Way" figure that pop music may not have realized it needed. She's the girl who didn't need the song of empowerment and special snowflake-ness because she never doubted herself. Her gimmick is that she knows she's awesome, and there's money in that.
And if there's money in that, she's not going away anytime soon. In fact, those folks who bought in at this show were smart, because it's probably going to be a minute or two before she's hitting House of Blues-sized venues again.
But if she lives the gimmick, she's probably not too worried about it. If you asked, she'd tell you she's a diamond. Whether than diamond was natural or grown in a lab is largely irrelevant if she's what the industry wants you to hear.
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SHOW ME HOW
So, How Were the Openers? Sheppard may very well end up being a one-hit wonder here in the States, but that it's a heck of a hit they have in waiting in "Geronimo." It may very well be a perfect pop song, one of those songs that crawls itself into your brain the first play through because it's so well-constructed. The rest of their material doesn't quite live up to it, but they were enjoyable enough in the sense that if you need something to listen to while spring cleaning they're not a bad option.
Personal Bias: After watching Kanye perform "All Day" on the Brit Awards livestream earlier in the day, the bar was probably set too high for me to really enjoy anything else.
The Crowd: This show ended around 9:30 p.m., which is good because it was a school night and the inordinate amount of young kids in the building were going to need a good night sleep after the excitement of the show. I was not aware that Trainor was popular with the Nick Jr. set.
Random Notebook Dump: I'm not sure where to slot Trainor in my "pop stars as WWE wrestlers" list. That's really going to bother me now.