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All About That Bass

Released as the lead single from her highly anticipated album 1989, Shake It Off finds Taylor Swift completing her transformation into a mainstream Pop superstar, all together forgoing her Country roots. This article explores one of the song’s many key qualities – the nature of the storyline and lyrics.

This article features a small number of highlights and takeaways from our All About That Bass Deconstructed Report. The full report provides you with a comprehensive analysis of what made the song a hit coupled with immediately actionable insights to help take your songwriting and producing skills to the next level. To read the full report, click here.

Released as the lead single from her forthcoming album, Title, All About That Bass marks Meghan Trainor’s transformation from relatively unknown writer and performer into a mainstream Pop superstar.  At the time this report was written, the song had landed within the top 10 on 40+ charts throughout the world, hitting #1 on more than 20.

Its massive success is due in part to a number of key factors.  Some of the most important include the meticulous fusion of retro and current elements, a plethora of hooks, payoffs and stand out moments, clever – and at times controversial – lyrics, and the combination of familiar and original characteristics.

What follows are a few key factors that helped take All About That Bass from good to great:

Genre Fusion

All About That Bass features an infectious fusion of Doo-Wop, Hip Hop/Rap, Reggae, Rock & Roll (old school), Soul and Straight-Up Pop influences within the mix, wrapped in an early 1960’s girl group package.  It’s this unique combination which enables the song to easily stand out and resonate amongst its mainstream contemporaries.

Retro & Current Influences  

One of the song’s core strengths is the meticulous fusion of retro and current influences within the mix.

On the retro side, elements such as acoustic bass, “shoo-wop” backing vocals, and lyrics including “mama” and “boys” harken back to the early 1960’s.

These retro elements are combined with the use of electronic claps, Hip Hop/Rap natured vocals, “current” lyrics including “junk” and “boom boom”, and modern effects (i.e. the “bass, bass, bass” effect at the tail end of the first chorus), providing the song with a current flair.

The fusion of contemporary and retro played a pivotal role in enabling the song to connect with a wide and diverse demographic.

Clever Elements & Stand Out Moments

More than anything else, what takes a song from good to great is the inclusion of clever elements and stand out moments.  Just a few of the many that you’ll find throughout All About That Bass include:

  • The prominently featured acoustic bass within the mix perfectly jibes with and accentuates the “all about that bass” themed lyrics.  It remains in effect throughout the chorus except for where it’s cleverly pulled when Trainor sings, “no treble”.
  • The clever manner in which the electric guitar emulates the lead vocal within the second pre-chorus acts to further ingrain the infectious nature of the melody within the listener’s head.  Additionally, it makes a return appearance within the third chorus, which effectively combines the most infectious elements of both sections into one.
  • The song’s lyrics refer to being plus-sized as “bass” and skinny as “treble”.  This helps to communicate the storyline in a fresh and engaging manner.  Additionally, Trainor going down in pitch on the lyric “bass” and back up on “treble” provides the chorus with a clever, infectious spin that helps to put it, and the song, over the top.



A surefire way to increase the visibility of a song is to inject a touch of controversy into the mix.  Here, it was achieved via the use of lyrics such as “skinny bitches” and “all about that bass, no treble” Whether it was the writer’s intention or not to offend, one thing is indisputable – it has provided the song with increased exposure that it otherwise would have never attained.

These are just a few of the factors that contributed towards All About That Bass’ massive success. The ultimate proof of its power resides in the fact that it displaced Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated Shake It Off from the top spot on the Hot 100 during the week of 9/20, and kept it at bay for eight straight weeks.  Not bad for a newcomer!

For a comprehensive review of everything that contributed to the song’s success, be sure to read our All About That Bass Deconstructed Report.

Hit Songs Deconstructed PRO subscribers can access the full report by clicking here.  Not a PRO subscriber?  Click here to find out what a PRO subscription includes.

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