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Sunday, October 26, 2014

All About That Bass

Hey, everyone!  Welcome to another exciting edition of the Sunday Jukebox!  And this time around, I'm going to do something that I have never done before in the history of the Sunday Jukebox.

Over this past year, I've been focusing on the songs of the past.  Specifically, I've been focusing on the #1 hits of yore.  I thought that it would be a fun way to encourage discussion when it comes to the subject of #1 hits, especially since there's been so many of them through the years.

But in all the weeks that I have been featuring #1 hits in the Sunday Jukebox feature, I have never done a current #1 single... least, not until now.

Yes, for the first (and perhaps only) time in the Sunday Jukebox, I am going to be showcasing a song that hit the top of the charts a few weeks ago, and is STILL a #1 single as of October 26, 2014.

So, let's have a look at this single that is currently topping the charts, shall we?

ARTIST:  Meghan Trainor
SONG:  All About That Bass
ALBUM:  Title
DATE RELEASED:  June 2, 2014
PEAK POSITION ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS:  #1 for 7 weeks and counting!

Ah, this is going to be a fun song to discuss, won't it?  The great thing about this song is that because it's a current hit, there's certainly a lot of information to find about it, as well as Meghan Trainor, who sings this chart-topping hit.

Okay, so let's talk a little bit about the singer, shall we?  It pains me to say this, but Meghan Trainor was born on December 22, 1993 in Nantucket, Massachusetts - making her twelve and a half years YOUNGER than me.  I tell you, props to her though for having a hit song currently on the charts.  As someone who has absolutely zero rhythm and vocal talents, I am always impressed by anybody who can sing their way to the top of the charts.

I suppose it makes sense that Meghan would have muscial genes in her blood.  After all, she was born into a musical family and started writing songs when she was just eleven years old!  I don't even think I knew how to write a proper poem when I was eleven!  Again, that takes real credit.

By the time Trainor had entered her twenties, she had already accumulated a number of songwriting cuts with artists such as Sabrina Carpenter, Rascal Flatts, and R5, and she had already released two full-length studio albums of original songs before she turned eighteen years old.  I mean, sure, I doubt anyone could name a song that she recorded before "All About That Bass", but hey...recording two albums in your teens is a remarkable achievement. 

So, because Meghan Trainor had developed a keen interest in music from an early age, she went on several writing trips to Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York City.  On one of these trips, she crossed paths with producer Kevin Kadish who co-wrote "All About That Bass" with Trainor in late 2013-early 2014.  When the demo was recorded, Trainor's publishing company believed that they could get dozens of artists lined up to record the song, but once producer L.A. Reid heard Trainor's demo, he believed that she could make enough of an impact singing the song herself.  She was immediately signed to Epic Records by Reid, released the song as a single, and it immediately shot to the top of the charts in thirteen different countries!

In fact, the song actually made history in the United Kingdom charts.  It became the first single to enter the UK Top 40 charts on the basis of internet streaming.  What that means is that enough people downloaded the song from iTunes or mp3 files that it helped push the single onto the charts based on sales alone!

So, why do I think this song is such a huge hit on the charts today? 

Well, I think it has to do with the subject of the song.

I think that it's no secret that Hollywood and the music industry in general can be incredibly judgmental.  So often, you hear people talking about celebrities having "the look".  Well, either that, or they were listening to Roxette on the radio, I don't know.  The point I'm trying to make is that over the last few years, the argument in high society and celebrity circles is this.  The thinner you are, the more beautiful you are considered to be.  And the more beautiful Hollywood thinks you are, the more you'll get to enjoy it.

Well, Meghan Trainor noticed the obsession that the world of celebrity seemed to have on thinness equating beauty.  And she heard enough of that message to write a rebuttal in song form.

Because she's all about that base, about that base, no treble.

She puts it right out there in the first verse of the song.  She's no size two, and honestly, I don't even think she cares to be.  Why would she care anyway?  I find her absolutely beautiful, and she looks like she's having a lot of fun in the video anyway.  In fact, I would make a guess that every single person in the video had a blast doing the video shoot from the girls who served as her back-up singer/dancers to the guy busting a move on the dance floor every fifteen seconds or so.

It could be argued that the song could be a feminist anthem, with the message that women could be whatever size they wanted and they could still feel like a beautiful woman inside and out.  However, Trainor wanted the song to be a universal anthem, wanting everybody of any age or gender to feel comfortable with themselves and their "booty".

Okay, so I suppose that's one reason I enjoy this song.  I'll openly admit it.  I have a big booty.  There.  I said it.

And musically speaking, this song certainly is very catchy.  It's kind of got an interesting recipe of different genres mixed together to create this song.  I definitely can hear a little bit of 1960s era Motown, blended with a little 1990s era rap, with a little bit of 1950s era imagery thrown in for kicks. 

Of course, while I was doing research for this blog, I watched this video a few times, and on the comments section of the video that was posted on YouTube, certainly not everyone was liking the song.  Some even went as far as calling the song an anthem for "skinny-shaming" based on the lyrical content of the song - an accusation that Trainor denies, and that I disagree with.

I don't see Trainor purposely saying that skinny=evil.  That's not the case at all.  Rather, I think that she's promoting the idea of self-respect and loving and caring enough about yourself to look the best way you want to look regardless of whether the scale reads 100 pounds or 250 pounds.  And she also wanted people to realize that people of all body types have struggles with self-image.

All in all, it's a great song with a great message.  And it's the #1 hit on the Billboard charts right now!

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