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Treat Myself is Meghan Trainor's third studio album that was released on January 31, 2020 on Epic Records.

Album BackgroundEdit

In a March 2018 interview, Meghan Trainor described her forthcoming third major-label studio album as her "best work yet", revealing that her family members would provide background vocals on every track and teasing "Treat Myself" as a potential song title.

Following the release of several singles, she confirmed "Treat Myself" as the album's title on June 19, 2018. Its pre-order went up the following day. She delayed releasing the album for an undefined period in August 2018, saying that she was in "such an amazing place" and could not "stop writing songs"

In November 2018, Trainor said that she had worked with Sasha Sloan and Lennon Stella on a track for the album titled "Working On It", which she called "about loving yourself and just trying."

In February 2019, Trainor announced the release of an EP called "The Love Train", describing it as "something of an appetizer" to "Treat Myself." Her reasoning was that her father had told her there were "way too many love songs" on the album, which led her to put them out as a separate project.

On November 6, 2019, she announced the release date for "Treat Myself" as January 31, 2020, on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and shared the official artwork on social media later that day. Billboard confirmed that "Workin' on It" had made the final cut for the album.

Trainor said in a January 2020 interview that she had written four albums worth of material trying to adapt to new trends in the music industry

"Genetics" features the American girl group, the Pussycat Dolls who reformed in 2019. Trainor revealed the collaboration came about when she bumped into Nicole Scherzinger whilst both artists were filming The Four and The Masked Singer respectively.

Trainor sent the song to Scherzinger who liked it, and the pair agreed to collaborate on the song; at the time, The Dolls' reunion was not confirmed, so Scherzinger recorded the vocals for the group's part.

She elaborated in an interview with Billboard, saying that "she was saving ["Genetics"] for her album, and if it's true that they are coming back together, we can put 'Pussycat Dolls'" in the credits.

Trainor had previous connections to the group, having sampled Pussycat Dolls' member Ashley Roberts' song "Woman Up" for her own song of the same name included on her second major-label studio album, "Thank You."

InspirationEdit

When asked about her inspiration for "Treat Myself" in a March 2018 interview, Trainor said that she missed pop songs that were "big anthems", citing "Stronger" by Britney Spears as an example. She also revealed she was listening to a lot of ABBA's music, hoping to create a big pop song that is "actually kind of vulnerable."

In May of 2018, Trainor said that the album had developed into "fun, dance-y stuff with a little funk" and had an '80s and '90s feel, reiterating she wanted to bring Spears, NSYNC and Backstreet Boys-inspired pop songs back to radio.

Trainor released several love songs that were originally part of the album on her second EP, "The Love Train." She said of the songs that were left on the album: "This is what I want my music to sound like and these are the songs I love. I don't care what's playing on the radio or what they don't accept. I love this, and I'm proud to perform these songs".

In January of 2020, having changed musical direction, Trainor described the new version of "Treat Myself" as her attempt to adapt to "what's going on in the music industry", wanting to answer the question: "[H]ow do you make pop records that feel relevant in an era when hip-hop reigns?" She kept writing "the best songs [she] could", until Epic Records and Trainor agreed that she could not "beat these songs"

CompositionEdit

"Treat Myself" is a pop album. It makes use of club-ready dance rhythms, contemporary R&B hooks, screwdriver bass lines, shimmery synths, and bright vocal overdubs. According to AllMusic's Matt Collar, Trainor fully engages the "slick, hip-hop-infused funk" musical styling of Bruno Mars on the album.

The record consists of some "irresistible bops" alongside mature love songs according to Mike Nied of Idolator. With a number of ballads on the tracklist, the sonic choices include the use of a coconut opener as an instrument, a children's choir, and funk and EDM-influenced production.

Lyrically exploring the theme of female duplicity, the album features "the same girl gang hoots and hollers and fluffernutter hooks" as Trainor's previous two full-length albums according to PopMatters' Jessica Brant.[16]

The album opens with "Wave", an electropop and house song, featuring Mike Sabath, whose lyrics detail the highs and lows of a dramatic love story.

The second track "Nice to Meet Ya" (featuring Nicki Minaj) is a pop and R&B song with a chorus whispered by Trainor and a "characteristically confident" verse by Minaj.

The third track, "Funk" is a funk-influenced pop song with brass licks, spoken-word breakdowns and lyrical innuendos.

"Babygirl", which has been called a mission statement for the album, has been described as a "glitchy, throbbing wail" with a chorus that includes a scream: "Love yourself! Love yourself! Love yourself! Love yourself! AHHH".

The fifth track, "Workin' on It" (featuring Lennon Stella and Sasha Sloan) is an intimately written song about the singer's struggles with self-acceptance.

"Ashes" is an emotional breakup song that finds Trainor moving on from a strained relationship.

On the seventh track, "Lie to Me", the singer pleads with a former partner for a second chance, and if that is impossible, she asks him to lie.

On the track "Here to Stay", Trainor celebrates the consistency of being in a committed relationship. Nied wrote that there is "something undeniably sweet about the hidden delight".

"Blink" sees her sing about her newfound confidence over dubstep-inspired production. It was described as a "motivational anthem" by Claire Shaffer of Rolling Stone.

On the 10th track "Genetics", featuring the Pussycat Dolls, Trainor sings: "how you get that bod? Is it from God?", and spells out the song title like a Eugenics cheerleader.

"Evil Twin" is an electropop song where the singer "apologizes for — and embraces — her wild side, or her 'evil twin'", according to Shaffer.

"After You", featuring AJ Mitchell, is a ballad whose lyrics as a tribute to never-ending love. "Another Opinion" takes a "classier approach" at addressing Trainor's haters, with a production of laid back beats and ukulele instrumentation.

The 14th track, and lead single, "No Excuses" is a pop song with country influences.

The standard edition of "Treat Myself" closes with "Have You Now", which was described as a sugary love song and "candy-coated delight".

"All the Ways" was described as a perky pop song, whereas the title track was called a "bass-driven, fun-loving song that is the perfect soundtrack to any night out" and a "shimmering tune".

TracklistingEdit

  1. Wave (featuring Mike Sabath)
  2. Nice To Meet Ya (featuring Nicki Minaj)
  3. Funk
  4. Babygirl
  5. Workin' On It (featuring Lennon Stella and Sasha Sloan)
  6. Ashes
  7. Lie To Me
  8. Here To Stay
  9. Blink
  10. Genetics (featuring The Pussycat Dolls)
  11. Evil Twin
  12. After You (featuring AJ Mitchell)
  13. Another Opinion
  14. No Excuses
  15. Have You Now

Target deluxe edition bonus tracks

  1. All the Ways
  2. Treat Myself

Chart PerformanceEdit

In the United States, "Treat Myself" debuted at #25 on the Billboard 200 issued for February 15, 2020 and remained for three consecutive weeks on the chart. It debuted at #25 on the Canadian Albums Chart.

The album charted at #27 in Spain, #28 in Switzerland, #40 in Scotland and at numbers #41 and #58 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It reached #13 in Australia and #40 in New Zealand.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"Treat Myself" received mixed reviews from critics. Idolator's Mike Nied called it an "exciting listen", adding that the album effectively showcases Trainor's creative range, "deserves respect and was well-worth the wait".

Lauren Alvarez of Forbes described the album as "a spectacular showcase of Trainor's talent, lyricism and overall range", agreeing that the project was worth the wait.

AllMusic writer Matt Collar said that with it, Trainor "continues to evolve her sound", but it lacks some of the effortless charm of her debut major-label studio album, "Title." He added that she employs a sophisticated production style that "sometimes threatens to lose her in the mix", but "there are plenty of fun moments."

According to Russ Coffey of The Arts Desk, Trainor is "at her finest when she's kept some of her cheeky, girl-next-door charm", and despite its inconsistencies, Treat Myself does exactly that.

Writing for PopMatters, Jessica Brant stated that "Treat Me" caves under the pressure of entertainment industry feminism, and delivers "the usual lip service branding agencies employ to beef up the portfolios of their sexy, feminine clientele".

NME's Hannah Mylrea called it a "frustrating listen", adding that it is "sickly sweet and filled with cliché lyrics", describing it as "a lesson in saccharine theatrics stuffed full of insipid songs".

Dani Blum of Pitchfork was critical of the album, saying that it "tries to be all things to all people", and referring to it as "a sonic overload that bludgeons the listener with bastardized 'empowerment'".

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