Whatever form her music takes, the most unmistakable quality in Meghan Trainor's songs is her irrepressible positivity. That's all the more remarkable given the challenges she's faced, whether it's the rejection she received from the music industry before her breakout in 2014 with "All About That Bass" or the problems with her vocal cords she endured as her musical career grew ever more demanding. Those pressures and expectations were sky-high after the success of Trainor's first two albums, 2015's Title and 2016's Thank You. Work on the third began when she was recovering from her second vocal-cord surgery and coping with the panic disorder that had been exacerbated by her medical challenges. What emerged from the many months of writing and recording, and the dozens of new tracks, was a direction that no one could've predicted. TREAT MYSELF is the sound of Trainor shaking off her troubles and revitalizing herself and her music with a wholehearted embrace of hip-hop, dance music, and modern R&B. The fact she's synthesized these new elements with everything else that makes her special is the best kind of bonus. On the opener, "Wave," she seamlessly integrates house beats and electro-pop panache into an inspirational, gospel-infused anthem. "Funk" is just as arresting, thanks to the explosion of fun she unleashes by tapping into her inner Prince and turning herself loose. Brimming with confidence, Trainor holds center court even when she's sharing tracks with the dextrous Nicki Minaj on "Nice to Meet Ya" or The Pussycat Dolls on the sultry "Genetics." Despite the equally impressive array of heavy-hitter talent behind the board for TREAT MYSELF—a roster that includes Sigala, Ojivolta, King Henry, and Jacob Kasher Hindlin—Trainor's personality continually shines through, ensuring the album stays as coherent as it is compelling. Expressing her resilience in the face of hard times, she's now more than ready to own it. Or, as she puts it in "Another Opinion," a song whose lilting tone and warm Caribbean rhythm cleverly disguise a defiant tone, "If you don't like me, it's not my fault at all."

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