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All About That Bass

by Meghan Trainor

I don’t think I’ve heard such an enjoyable combination of pop song and social message since Ms Dynamite’s ‘It Takes More’, but that’s certainly not the only thing to admire here. The vocal line’s extended use of faux triplets (ie. a pattern of two dotted eighths followed by a straight eighth) across the four-four beat during the pre-chorus is great, for instance, and there are plenty of ear-catching vocal stylings besides: the stutter edit on “bass” at 0:13; the striking drop in pitch for “size two” at 0:18; and the pitch scoop at “booty back” (1:27), which to my ears draws a rather ironic parallel with the title hook of Robin Thicke’s fratboy smash 'Blurred Lines'.

The drum programming is worthy of examination as well. Although a bit of phase cancellation between different sections of the arrangement confirms that the main part is a loop, it’s more engaging than most stock loops on account of the messy little ratchet-like sounds that lurk around the main hits and somehow help glue them together with the various clap sounds overlaid on top. It’s as well to notice that there are no cymbals at all in this arrangement, which is pretty uncommon in chart productions, but leaves plenty of room for such HF details, as well as for vocal nuances. The drums are mixed pretty starkly dry in this mix, in contrast with the vocals, which are clearly flattered with an audible reverb effect. Although the danger with a tactic like this is that the vocals can begin to feel too distant if you’re not careful, the slightly retro reverb timbre and (judging by the stereo Sides signal) touch of effect predelay seem to have avoided that in this case.