The last time Meghan Trainor released an album in late January 2020, the world was weeks away from shutting down. And despite bops like “Nice to Meet Ya” with Nicki Minaj, a collaboration with the Pussycat Dolls, and earworms like “Funk” and “Evil Twin,” spoil myself easily became one of Trainor’s most underrated works.
Also, with the lockdowns caused by the pandemic, Trainor couldn’t perform a single song from the perfect pop record. “It was sad and heartbreaking. I was like, ‘Well, that sucks,'” Trainor says rolling stone.
Fast forward to 2022 and Trainor prepares for a new era in her life and music as she announces her musical comeback with LP Take it backreleased on October 21.
Things are much different now for the singer. “She’s a whore!” says Trainor, who welcomed son Riley with actor Daryl Sabara in 2021. “I feel like my writing is a lot better since I had a C-section.”
The album is filled with relatable lyrics, bop reggae, Latin banger with Natti Natasha and, of course, some Trainor-style anthems.
“It’s like Title 2.0. It’s my old school,” she says, referring to her 2015 breakthrough, which included songs like “All About That Bass” and “Dear Future Husband.” “It’s true to myself in all the weird genres I go to, but also modern with my doo-wop in there.”
She adds: “The lyrics are stronger than ever, and it’s always a party.
Discuss with rolling stone From a plush couch in his basement studio, Trainor shares details about the upcoming album, learns to re-love his body and regain his confidence, and why his therapist probably deserves songwriting credit.
It’s called Take it back. Why is that?
I knew before writing this song that it would be called “Takin’ It Back”. I had with Mozella, who wrote [Miley Cyrus’] “Wrecking ball.” And she said, “You know what’s crazy? All these artists and songwriters coming in are like, ‘I want to do the Meghan Trainor sound. “And I was like, ‘What the fuck? I have a sound? Do they mean the doo-wop stuff? And they’re like, “Yeah.” And I was like, “Oh, hard! I could do this in my sleep. Like, this is easy. So I was like, ‘Let’s do this.’ And then we did, ‘Don’t I Make It Look Easy”.
I heard that and got this exciting feeling that I haven’t had since “Dear Future Husband” from “Oh, wow, people are going to love this.” I wanted to “bring it back” to that first sound I had. And this song “Takin It Back” is about bringing it back to good music when they had real instruments.
I think it could also be like you’re taking back your-
What? Take back my power? Yeah, because during the pandemic too, I lost that. I must have lost it, because I went to an event where Miley Cyrus was. And my team said to me: “You know her, go say hello to her!” And I was like, “I don’t want to bother him.” And they’re like, “What?”
I just felt like everything I ever achieved is gone. I did not go out in public and [for] so long trying to be safe, and it crippled my confidence a bit. And so coming back with music, I was also very hard on myself. I thought all those songs were garbage. Every idea I came up with, I was like, “Is this lame or amazing?” “Is it garbage or is it drugs?” And everyone was like, ‘This is your best work yet.’ I think when I started to see [and] hearing people who don’t have to be nice to me telling me that this music is good, that’s when I thought to myself, “Maybe I have something special.
Tell me about “Mama Want to Mambo” with Arturo Sandoval and Natti Natasha.
We were looking for old-school music and what was going on at the time, [and] also how I was able to incorporate new sounds. And I remembered, “Daddy loves Mambo” [by Perry Como]. And I was like, Mom want to fuck Mambo. And I love alliteration. I love Ms and Ms and I thought of all the moms on TikTok who are going to eat this and love it like me and my mom. It’s about being a working mom who wants to go out at night. I love my baby boy, but I really need a dance break… Natti Natasha is a queen and a mom. So it was fate. The day it was due was the day she decided to do it for me. She did this shit in an hour. I swear to god. I was like what? I was convinced it wouldn’t happen, but she did. When I say Natti Natasha is on my song, people’s eyes go wide because they’re like, “How?” I don’t know, I got lucky.
What’s one of your favorites on the album?
I have always been subconscious of my body. And it was really hard for me to love my body. Obviously. I write a lot about this. But after I had a c-section and a baby, I got new stretch marks, and then a c-section scar cuts through them. Not only am I like, “What body is this?” I never had a scar, so seeing all these new marks on me, literally, I got PTSD after having a c-section because you have to be awake. So I would lay in my bed at night and be like, “She’s still inside me.” I had to learn to love my body with all this new shit on top of it. And it was scary and terrible.
I never felt sexy. I didn’t want to have sex with my man because I was like “Ew, rude”. and he was like “You are literally gorgeous.” So I write these anthems and bangers about loving me for me because I need it the most. “Made You Look” was one of those songs.
My therapist told me “look at yourself naked for five minutes”. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do. I wrote the song about, yes, I could wear all the fancy clothes and I could be dressed up with my stylist and makeup artist. But I can still be warm without anything. I can still look good naked. So it was that song. It is special.
Tell me about “Bad for Me” and working with Teddy Swims.
I wrote it about a real situation that happened. Toxic relationships can be in your family and you can walk away from them and it sucks. But it is doable. I wrote this song with Wrabel and Stint. They were literally strangers! Then that night I was lying in bed with Daryl – my husband – and he knew how much of a Teddy Swims fan I am. I always say “I will have my Teddy duo one day.” Daryl looked at me and said, “Is that your Teddy song?”
I texted the writers and they said, “We know Teddy.” They put me in a group chat and I was in bed screaming. I sent the song and he said, “I’d be honored to be a part of it.” And then literally, a week later, he came to my house, met my whole family. And I cut her voice in [my studio]. I taught him the song and accompanied him and he’s been my best friend ever since.
How has becoming a mom changed music for you?
I feel like half the songs are about being a mom. But I also made it accessible, so it’s not just like “I’m a mother”. “Don’t Make It Look Easy” is about being a mom, but it’s also like posting on social media. You only show the good shit and will never show the bad. It’s like “Don’t believe everything you see online because life is a lie on social media.”
Things definitely got more emotional. And life is very precious. I have always been terrified of death. Like, that’s my biggest fear. That’s why “Last Breath” [dedicated to husband Daryl] close the album. You also hear a lot of my impending doom for death on this album. But when you have a baby too, it’s like, “Oh, I want to live to be 110 so I can stay here as long as possible. I can’t imagine a world where I don’t have him and he doesn’t have me. That’s having a baby. Your fear of death is only increasing!
Let’s talk about the album cover.
My body is amazing. I worked really hard on my body. My lifestyle is different. I have a dietician and a trainer because I am blessed. They helped me learn to live forever and be healthy. And 60 pounds of weight fell off. He did not fall. It got screwed up. I have never felt better, more confident, happier and healthier and my skin is flawless. What was the question?
Oh that’s right ! I wanted to show my body and I did it well. I don’t photoshop. I don’t break my bones like that. Leave that shit clear! But if we see a nipple…hide it. We also wanted: it’s the mother but it’s elegant. And she’s classy. She therefore wears a complete Balenciaga bodysuit. I was really proud and impressed!