All About That Bass

All About That Bass by krin.jpg

Date Aired
September 23, 2014
Running Time
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Todd plays "All About That Bass" on the piano

A pop song review

Todd: Ladies and gentlemen, there is an issue that is tearing our country apart—white girls and butts.

Clips of Miley Cyrus grinding against Robin Thicke at the 2013 VMAs; Jennifer Lopez - "Booty" ft. Iggy Azalea; more of Miley's performance; screen shots of Consequence of Sound article: "Is Taylor Swift’s "Shake It Off" video racist?", article: "Iggy Azalea Has a Fake Butt", TMZ: "Miley Cyrus Mexican Flag Ass Stunt Triggers Criminal Investigation"; and Lily Allen - "Hard out Here"

Todd (VO): In the last year or so, I have seen controversy after controversy erupt over events involving at least one white girl and how she relates with butts. Sometimes her own, sometimes the butts of others. And pop music has become the key battleground in this, the most divisive topic of our time. It is rough, and it is ugly, and it does not seem to be going away. [Brief clips of Nicki Minaj - "Anaconda"...] And I don't wanna downplay the controversy over black girls and butts either, but [...and Taylor Swift - "Shake It Off"] white girls and butts seems to be an especially toxic combination right now. So, for the sake of peace and harmony,...

Todd: ...maybe white girls should just go buttless for a while.

Clip of "Hard out Here"

Todd (VO): Like, not have butts, not be seen with butts, because, for whatever reason, the two just aren't mixing well at the moment.

Todd: Or, on the other hand, we can tackle the issue head-on.

Clip of "Shake It Off"

Todd (VO): And while most of these controversies weren't intended to spark this conversation, there is...

Todd: person who opened up the discussion deliberately.

Video for "All About That Bass"
Meghan Trainor: Because you know I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass

Todd (VO): That would be the newcomer and white girl singin' about her butt, Meghan Trainor. Now because white girls and butts is a deeply intersectional topic, Miss Trainor takes a new angle on it. This one is about big butts.

Meghan: Yeah, it's pretty clear, I ain't no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I'm supposed to do

Todd (VO): She likes her big butt and she cannot lie, and guys like her big butt, too. So if you got a big butt, you should like yours. It's a message of, you know, body positivity. It's like a "Born This Way" for big girls.

Todd: Actually, now that I think about it, it's really like "Born This Way".

Intercut clips of Lady Gaga - "Born This Way"
Lady Gaga: My mama told me when I was young
Meghan: Yeah, my mama, she told me don't worry about your size

Todd: Huh. Wow.

Todd (VO): Anyway, just like all those other songs I mentioned, it has become controversial as well. But at the same time, it has obviously struck a chord with a lot of people, seeing as it's already #1 on the Hot 100, knocking down that [clip of...] awful Taylor Swift song. See? It's already a force for positivity.

Todd: Now, when I say this is controversial, I'm not joking. It's about [screenshot of The Wire article: "Meghan Trainor is 'All About That Bass,' Others Are All About That Controversy"] women and their bodies, the whole...I don't know what the umbrella term is here, fat pride movement, or...fat acceptance? I don't know, something better than fat [picture of a riot] getting rocks thrown at you on the street.

Todd (VO): It is, in fact, a very touchy subject, and my opinion may not be worth much here because...let's be honest, this song is not meant for me. I'm not the one who needs this song, I don't feel bad about my body.

Todd: I'm a dude. And I've been a twig all my life. No one's gonna make me feel crappy for being a six-foot guy who only weighs, like, 170. Honestly, I don't even know, I don't have to weigh myself ever. Eh, let me go look.

Todd stands on a scale in the bathroom. He checks his pants just to be sure.

Okay, well, I had my clothes on. I just had lunch, like, two hours ago. That's, what, 20, 30 pounds? So, yeah...

Todd (VO): ...this song's not for me. And I can't promise I'm not gonna say something stupid here.

Todd: But if I do, I just wanna say pre-emptively, it's okay, I have a big, fat friend. [Clip of Nella in the kitchen with a beer] Or at least I rented one for this episode.

Nella: A big, fat friend—not only making you look thinner, but giving you the cover to say whatever you want about women of size.


Todd: Thank you, best friend for this episode.

Todd (VO): Now, let's talk about Meghan Trainor specifically. Don't know much about her, she's new. But the first thought I had from seeing her is that...

Todd: ...Adele has blown open some doors.

Clip of Adele singing "Rumor Has It" at the Royal Albert Hall
Adele: Rumor has it...

Todd (VO): Now, you might say, "hey, wait a minute, the two don't have that much in common besides what they look like." But that is a big deal. [Clips of...] I watched many seasons of American Idol, and you can tell there was some closed-mindedness whenever the bigger white girls showed up. The black girls, they were more open to because there is a [clip of the Weather Girls - "It's Raining Men"] strong tradition of those in popular music. Not so for white girls. You've got, what, [clips of Heart - "Alone"...] Ann Wilson, [...Wilson Phillips - "Hold On"...] Carnie Wilson, [...and the Mamas and the Papas - "California Dreamin"] Mama Cass. They all came as a package deal with at least one skinny chick. [Clip of Heart performing "Barracuda" in 1977] And when Ann broke into music, she was a lot thinner.

But now that Adele has established the success of this model of pop singer, [clip of America's Got Talent] I've seen those reality show judges be a lot more open. I've seen them say, "hey, I like you, you remind me of Adele," even if they sound nothing like Adele.

Todd: Which is a stupid, knee-jerk reaction, but hey, at least they're open to it.

Respective clips of "Rolling in the Deep" and "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)"

Todd (VO): But the big girls of pop music, your Adeles, your Missies, other various inspirations, they've never come out and made a big deal about their size in their music. They inspired simply by just being themselves and not needing to call attention to it.

Todd: But it's not like there's no value in pointing it out either...

Todd (VO): ...'cause, you know, why not talk about it? There is, in fact, a horrible double-standard about the way women are expected to look.

Todd: You know how much effort I put into how I look this morning? Zero! You know how bad I feel about that? Not at all! I probably oughta feel a lot worse, honestly, I mean...come on, society! How am I gonna learn to dress myself if you don't start putting some pressure on me?! I look like shit!

Todd (VO): And there's no way I could get away with that as a chick. Even as...

Todd: ..a shadow! I know it, you know it, that's messed up.

Todd (VO): So no, I don't mind that she's talking about it straight out. And honestly, you look at Meghan Trainor, she's not even that big. I mean, she's thick. But you know, on the body shape chart, she's more on the [pictures of Danielle Fishel, known for playing...] Topanga side than, you know, [...and Gabourey Sidibe as the title character...] Precious. I've heard some people say that maybe she's not big enough to really be a good spokesman for this because, you know, she's Hollywood fat, not, you know, like, fat fat. No, I don't think I agree.

Todd: Matter of fact, I really don't think I agree because you don't gotta be very big to start getting shit for it, especially for pop music. I mean, did you know that [picture of...] Kesha's too fat?

Clip of "Die Young"

Todd (VO): Kesha had to go to rehab for an eating disorder [TMZ article: "Ke$ha blames Dr. Luke for eating disorder: HE CALLED ME FAT] because her manager kept telling her she's too fat. Think about that! Kesha, fuckin' Kesha is too fuckin' fat! [Clip of "Timber"] Look at her, just gross, beached whale, rolls of fat fallin' everywhere, disgusting.

Todd: Kesha is sooooo fat that when she sits around the house, she really sits around...

Todd (VO):, one little tiny corner of the house. That's how fat she is. Heifer.

Todd: Women who are so hot that they've made a living entirely out of being hot [cover of New York Daily News featuring Coco Rocha: "Is She Too Fat to Be Runway Model?"] get flak for not being hot enough.

Todd (VO): So yeah, I don't think I'd care if this song came from Beyonce, honestly. So yeah, as a concept, I support this. Now, you might notice I haven't actually talked about the song yet.

Todd: Well, the message and identity are pretty important to understanding it. But, okay, there is a song here too.

Todd (VO): And Adele and Meghan Trainor do have at least one other thing in common. They use that...I don't know the word for it, that neo...doo wop, jazz, retro girl group, blue-eyed-soul thing, you know what I'm talking about.

Todd: But...that seems to be it as far as similarities.

Brief clip of "Rolling in the Deep"

Todd (VO): Adele is all angst and pain, and Meghan Trainor seems quite happy and self-assured, so... actually, what it reminds me more of is [clip from...] the Hairspray musical, which also featured a big, white girl, and I swear that's a total coincidence, that's just what the song sounds like, is why I'm making that comparison.

Todd: But anyway, butts.

Meghan: She says, "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night." (Booty, booty)

Todd (VO): She likes her butt. Guys like her butt, too. So she feels no worries about dat ass. Or, as she refers to it, "that bass."

Meghan: Because you know I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble

Todd: Wait, if bass is the butt, what's the treble? Does she not have anything up top?

Todd (VO): Doesn't look like it. Okay, I assumed "bass" meant butt because it's low and that's what the song's about. But apparently, "bass" just means...curves, and I guess "treble" would be skinny. That's confusing.

Todd: Now honestly, am I the only one disappointed that...

Todd (VO): ...this song isn't very bassy, like, at all? Like, look at [clip from This Is Spinal Tap] Spinal Tap's tribute to fat-bottomed girls, "Big Bottom".

David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean): Big bottom, big bottom

Todd (VO): A lot of people don't notice this joke, but look. They're all playing bass guitars. That's awesome! God, Meghan Trainor, what a wasted opportunity!

Todd: Now where's the controversy here?

Todd (VO): Well, like I said, she's selling a song about body acceptance. And, as I understand,...

Todd: ...she's kind of off-message.

Meghan: 'Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase

Todd (VO): See, there's the problem. It's mostly about your body looking good to guys. And the party line, I believe, is that it shouldn't matter how you look to guys, or at least, it shouldn't matter as much.

Todd: Which, you know, that makes sense to me. I'm a guy, I know guys, most guys are idiots. Why should girls care what I think? [Pause] Of course, in my experience, girls don't care what I think. [Pause] Actually, maybe they should care a little more what I think... hold on, I'm getting off-track here. Anyway...

Todd (VO): Apparently, Meghan messed up the message in one other big way, too. Now, I don't claim to be an expert on feminist theory or anything,...

Todd: ...but I'm pretty sure one of the main tenets is ["Don't Be a Player Hater" poster] "hate the game, not the player."

Meghan: I'm bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
No, I'm just playing

Todd: [fake laugh] No, I don't think you were.

Todd (VO): Because the whole song is about being hotter than skinny chicks.

Meghan: "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night."

Todd (VO): So yeah...that's a good case that the song is not actually that positive.

Todd: But hey, who said positivity was such a positive thing anyway?

Clip of Snoop Doggy Dogg - "Gin and Juice"

Todd (VO): I've listened to "Gin and Juice" a billion times, and it sure as hell wasn't 'cause it made me a better person.

So yeah, there's some "mean girl" bullshit in there, and it's kind of pandery.

Todd: Honestly, it's a little too obvious with the pandering, for my taste.

Meghan: She says, "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night."

Todd: In my experience, that is not true. But I am just one man, and in my observation, guys are not as uptight about their own body preferences as you might imagine.

Todd (VO): But whatever. We all deserve a little pandering, I think. If you want a song that tells you you're prettier than the other girls, I don't think that's a problem.

Todd: Except...

Meghan: 'Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

Todd (VO): The main selling point of this song is its positivity. That's the entire point.

Todd: Like, I think I'm the only person in the universe...

Clip of...

Todd (VO): ...who didn't outright loathe Nicki Minaj's "Stupid Hoe".

Nicki: You a stupid hoe
You a you a stupid hoe

Todd (VO): And that was basically a song version of one of those VH1 reality show catfights. But that wasn't trying to be an inspiration. This is.

Meghan: Yeah, my mama she told me don't worry about your size

Todd (VO): So that part about "skinny bitches"? That's a problem. That's a big problem.

Todd: Eh, whatever, you can like a message, not like a song; like a song, not like the message, whatever. Do I like the song? Well...

Meghan: So if that's what you're into then go ahead and move along

Todd: Yeah, I guess...

Todd (VO): You know. It's catchy, it's upbeat, well-constructed. I like how the melody goes, I like old school. I don't know, there's something about just how...

Todd: ...chipper it is.

Meghan: But I can shake it, shake it
Like I'm supposed to do

Todd (VO): I don't know, something kind of irritating and forced about it. Makes me feel like I'm at an early-morning office presentation, like, "come on, guys, let's get...

Todd: ...pumped up to learn about dynamic consumer workflow!"

Clip from Office Space
Female Temp (Jennifer Jane Emerson): Uh-oh, sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays.

Todd (VO): Yeah.

Todd: It's kind music.

Todd (VO): You know, for people who liked Amy Winehouse, but were turned off by the crack and the tattoos. It''s you know, it's unthreatening.

Todd: And it's kinda childish.

Backup singers: That booty, booty
That booty, booty

Todd (VO): I don't really wanna hear a song where a grown woman calls her ass her "boom-boom".

Meghan: I got that boom boom

Todd (VO): Who are you, Honey Boo Boo?

Todd: For that matter, making a song about big butts being good? That's, you know, that's not that brave.

Meghan: I'm bringin' booty back

Todd (VO): "Bringin' booty back." The booty never left. Sexy might have needed to be brought back, but booty did not. [Clip of Sir Mix-a-Lot - "Baby Got Back"] We got plenty of songs about big butts; you're not smashing anyone's conception of the world by promoting big butts. No one's ever stuck up for flat butts.

Todd: To be honest, I'm sick of the focus on butts. I'm not really a butt guy to begin with. We've got too many songs about butts, there are other body parts.

Clips of Nicki Minaj - "Anaconda" and Florida Georgia Line ft. Nelly - "Cruise"

Todd (VO): Hip hop likes butts, country music seems to like legs.

Todd: But you know, where's the upper half? Here to here. Boobs, midriff, hair. Hair is important. Why don't songs focus on that?

Meghan: Because you know I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass

Todd (VO): So yeah, I like to think I'm not a total moron. Even though this song's not for me, I think I'm open-minded enough to give a fair judgment on it, and...yeah, I guess I'm not feeling it.

Todd: I'm not sure if I'd call this song a mild failure or a partial success.

Todd (VO): Like, I like it in theory, and it sure could've been a lot worse, I'll take it over Taylor Swift anyday, but I like it a lot more in conception than in execution. Like,'s filling a need, we kind of needed a song like this. I just think it could've filled that need a little better. Like, if you like it, and it gives you a good, happy feeling, well, you know, like the song says, tell me to move along.

Todd: But you know, the stuff like this...

Meghan: But I can shake it, shake it
Like I'm supposed to do

Todd (VO): Ehh. I mean, if you like shakin' it, by all means, shake, shake, shake, senora, shake it like a saltshaker. But like you're supposed to do? Ehh? You know who else thinks shaking your ass is what you're supposed to do.

Clip of Jason Derulo ft. Snoop Dogg - "Wiggle"
Jason: You know what to do with that big fat butt
Jason and Snoop: Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle

Todd: I rest my case.

Gets up and leaves

Video ends

Closing tag song: The Lonely Island ft. Lil Jon and Sam F - "When Will the Bass Drop"

"All About That Bass" is owned by Epic Records
This video is owned by me

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