By Hayden Wright

Pop music loves a throwback. That’s why Meghan Trainor’s emergence since 2014 has made her both an instant sensation and a change of pace. Her doo-wop approach to pop set her apart from contemporaries in a musically familiar, consistent corner of the market that few others can touch.

Related: Meghan Trainor Talks New Album, Previews ‘Just A Friend To You’

Trainor doesn’t have Ariana Grande’s pipes or Demi Lovato’s hard edges. She doesn’t need them: as a singer and songwriter, she’s cultivated a following and some indelible hits that added variety to the Billboard charts.

Meghan Trainor songs are perky and polished, serving just the right amount of levity and confidence. What’s made tracks like “All About That Bass” into juggernauts is how easily shareable, coverable and easily parodied they are—without being jokes. Trainor herself seems to be “in” on the levels of irony that follow her around on the internet, turning her contradictions into an actual following.

Whether she’s courting controversy by daring to sound conventional or pushing the envelope of body confidence and self-acceptance, hers is a particular brand of empowerment that became too, well, powerful to ignore in 2015. That’s a bold accomplishment in the age of waist-trainers and Instagram diet plugs.

She struck a social chord with her image and ideas, something bubblegum pop acts rarely pack the potency to do. She may not win Best New Artist at the GRAMMY Awards, but if she does, she’d make a unique and worthy addition to the lineup of past winners.

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