In most of the eight weeks that fresh pop face Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" ruled the Billboard Hot 100 last summer and autumn, it was easy to figure it would be recalled as a one-off novelty. It got by on balancing nostalgic girl-group and doo-wop sounds with hip-hop attitude and a positive, love-your-body moral. (No mystery that Grammy-voting moms and dads lapped it up.) Then, in October, Trainor hit No. 4 with her follow-up, "Lips Are Movin'," in which the knowing line, "Tell me that you're not just about this bass," did triple duty: a rebuke to a shallow lover, a comedic callback and Trainor serving notice that she had more going on than a topical trifle -- though it also risked "Lips" coming off as "Bass, Part 2."
Her first major-label album subjects Trainor to a more exacting test. Sharing its meta-title Title with September's four-song EP, it's the culmination of the 21-year-old Trainor's meeting of minds with Nashville writer-producer Kevin Kadish, who is twice her age. He had reportedly nursed for years the concept of an early-1960s-styled revival sound -- think upbeat Amy Winehouse, sans drugs or demons -- before finding a conduit in Trainor's musical and lyrical skill as well as her girl-next-door, post-millennial sass. She was initially signed, Taylor Swift-like, as a Music Row composer in high school, though her graduation to fronting artist was less predictable -- she only released "Bass" herself after other artists, including Beyoncé, reportedly passed on recording the song.