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Sound Check

1/21/2015

Meghan TrainorMeghan Trainor
“Title”
Epic

Meghan Trainor’s 2014 single, “All About That Bass,” is this generation’s “Mambo No 5.” It is catchy, it has a good hook and was everywhere for a while. And in two years, people will wonder why they listened to it at all. If “Title” has a problem — and of course it does — it would be that the entire album is similarly constructed. Nothing is as catchy as “All About That Bass,” though there are a couple of ear worms here and there, but the entire album is ultimately put together around hooks with little meat on them. Trainor gets points for effort. She wrote or co-wrote every track on the album, which is an increasingly rare thing in pop music. But the end result is insubstantial. Tracks like “Walkashame” and the “Title” track will have you moving your head a bit while they play, but the minute they stop, you will not give them a second thought. CV

 

Marilyn MansonMarilyn Manson
“The Pale Emperor”
Hell, etc

Here is the difference an artist can make: David Bowie could take your eighth grade social studies book and make it sound amazing just by putting it to music. Conversely, Marilyn Manson could create Ziggy Stardust and make it completely unbearable just by talking about it in an interview. So I guess what I am saying is that “The Pale Emperor” is fine, as long as you can disconnect it from the person who made it. Musically, the album is creative, genre bending and some of the most inspired work Manson has done in 15 years. Tracks like “The Devil Beneath My Feet” and the strikingly poignant opener “Killing Strangers” show why Manson was so popular in the first place. Listen to what is here, and you might just be impressed. Just do not read any interviews. CV

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