"All About That Bass" was written in 40 minutes by Trainor alongside American songwriter and producer Kevin Kadish in September 2013. At the time, Trainor had yet to obtain a recording contract but was writing tracks for other artists. Kadish recalled the session as "a blind date" and felt they had a strong chemistry. The pair intended the song for another recording artist. Kadish initially proposed the song's title to be "All Bass, No Treble" to Trainor. She was in a phase of saying "I'm all about that Mexican food", and responded to Kadish with the track's hook, "I'm all about that bass, no treble". Trainor suggested "Let's do booty! And thickness! Like, it's about the bass, not the treble".
"All About That Bass" served as Trainor's debut single, and appeared on her debut extended play, Title (2014), and 2015 major-label studio album of the same name. The single was first digitally released in several countries on June 30, 2014. Epic Records serviced the song to contemporary hit radio and urban contemporary radio in the United States on July 1, 2014.Streaming and digital release dates were held back on different dates for the song to increase download sales in the United Kingdom. The song was made available for streaming on Spotify in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2014, as well as for digital download on September 28, 2014. An "All About That Bass" EP was released in German-speaking Europe on October 3, 2014. The EP featured the tracks "Title", "Dear Future Husband", and "Close Your Eyes" as its b-sides. On the same day, a CD single for the song was issued in Germany, with only "Title" as its b-side.
An alternate version of "All About That Bass" was recorded by Trainor, with more family-friendly lyrics for its impact on Radio Disney in the United States. Trainor and Kadish agreed to this on the condition that it be relegated to Radio Disney and not be made available for purchase. Radio Disney vice-president of programming, Phil Guerini, felt the alternate version ensured support from their targeted kids and family audience. This version was later used on adult contemporary radio in the United States.
A variety of critics predicted it as a strong candidate to be 2014's "Song of the Summer". It was later awarded the title in a poll held by NBC's Today in September 2014.Yahoo! writer Paul Grein deemed it "one of the biggest and best 'message' songs of recent times".The Guardian journalist Caroline Sullivan stated that the song was significant on combating "the media-propagated notion" that only small buttocks are sexy and said the track had the "aura of a hard-won victory against self doubt". Evan Sawdey of PopMatters commended the track's lyrics for showcasing Trainor's personality and wrote that it was "one of the funnest songs" of 2014. Erik Ernst of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called it "universally catchy" and "shamelessly dance-ready". Gary Trust of Billboard felt that the song sounded completely different from every other pop song on radio at the time.Forbes journalist Hugh McIntyre described it as "insanely catchy," "easy-to-love" and "heartwarming," adding that it would be an interesting song for young children to listen to, while praising Trainor's lyrics choice.
Beejoli Shah of The Guardian stated the song has "instantly-memorable" lyrics and an "addictive" bass line, but saw it as a novelty song. Jon Carmanica of The New York Times echoed Shah's view and called "All About That Bass" a "cheeky novelty hit," and quipped, "'I'm bringing booty
back,' she sings, though there's probably already a line forming to assure her it never went anywhere". In a mixed review, Slate journalist Chris Molanphy commended the lyric "Every inch of you is perfect / From the bottom to the top," which he felt was "effortlessly memorable". He went on to compliment Kadish's production on the song and felt that he created a "wispy tune in vintage white-girl, Italo-Latin soul, expertly aping the sound of peak Rosemary Clooney and Eydie Gormé". However, Molanphy was critical of the track's use of the word "treble" as a metaphor and concluded, "Let's just hope Trainor's gross misuse of 'treble' as a metaphor doesn't wreck the word's definition for a generation". In a negative review, Time named "All About That Bass" the sixth worst song of 2014.
The song's lyrics became a subject of controversy among music critics who felt that the song did not promote a positive body image as Trainor intended. Trainor was accused of anti-feminism and shaming thin women in the song. Kris Ex of Complex said that the track "jacked both the stereotyped body priorities of black beauty and the codes of black slang". Naomi Schaefer Riley of the New York Post dubbed the song as "faux empowerment" and wrote, "feminists want her to know she's not going to get away with it". Kelsey McKinney of Vox felt that some verses in "All About That Bass" uplifted ideas of body positivity and self-worth while destroying those ideals in others by putting down other women.The Independent writer Yomi Adegoke said that the song's replacement of one ideal with another was a poor representation of body positivity, and felt that its enforcement that "real men love curves" was insulting.
Trainor responded, "I didn't work this hard to hate on skinny people, I wrote the song to help my body confidence—and to help others".PopMatters writer Evan Sawdey defended the song, writing, "This song is so positive, so energetic, and so universal—it's something people of all shapes and sizes can get behind". Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian wrote that the fact critics took offense to the song's lyrical content, manifested the delicacy of the issue of body image.
"All About That Bass" topped the national charts of 58 countries internationally and sold over 11 million; it was deemed as a sleeper hit. In the United States, "All About That Bass" debuted at number 84 on the Billboard Hot 100 issued for July 26, 2014. It climbed to number one on September 10, 2014, replacing Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" at the top of the chart. The achievement made Trainor the 21st female artist in Billboard history to top the chart with their debut hit. Additionally, "All About That Bass" spent 25 consecutive weeks in the Billboard Hot 100's top 10, becoming the tenth song to achieve this milestone. On September 20, 2014, it became the fourth song in Billboard history to simultaneously attain top gainer awards on Digital Songs, Radio Songs and Streaming Songs. It was the Hot 100's top airplay gainer for five consecutive weeks, becoming the first Hot 100 debut entry by a woman to do so since Ashanti's "Foolish" (2002). "All About That Bass" became the longest-running Billboard Hot 100 number one by an Epic Records artist after it spent eight consecutive weeks atop the chart. After its eighth week atop the chart, it was finally succeeded by Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off", which had spent eight weeks at number two. As "All About That Bass" and "Shake It Off" occupied the top two of the Hot 100 chart for eleven consecutive weeks, it marked the longest span for the top two positions being held by female artists consecutively since Alicia Keys' "Fallin'" and Jennifer Lopez's "I'm Real (Murder Remix)" locked the top two for 10 weeks in 2001. "All About That Bass" marked the longest-running Billboard Hot 100 number one by a female artist in 2014, and the longest since Lorde's "Royals" (2013).
"All About That Bass" led an all-female top five on the Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks. It is one of six singles, and the sole debut single to spend 15 weeks in the top two in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. "All About That Bass", together with Swift's "Shake It Off" and "Blank Space", occupied the Hot 100's top two for 14 consecutive weeks, marking the longest top two reign by any two acts in the chart's history. "All About That Bass" was ranked at number eight on Billboard's Hot 100 year-end chart for 2014, and was certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on January 23, 2018. The song sold 1.8 million copies during its reign at number one, and became the fourth best-selling song of 2014 in the United States with 4.38 million copies sold within the year. As of February 2015, the song had accumulated a total of 4.6 million units sold in the United States. In Canada, "All About That Bass" debuted at number 82 on the Canadian Hot 100 for the issue dated July 26, 2014. The song peaked at number one on the issue dated September 20, 2014, before being replaced by Swift's "Shake It Off" the following week. However, the track replaced "Shake It Off" the week after and went on to spend a total of eight non-consecutive weeks at number one. It was certified octuple platinum by Music Canada for sales of 640,000 copies, was the seventh most-successful single on the Canadian Hot 100 for 2014, and had sold 408,000 copies as of January 2015. In Mexico, the song peaked at number one for three consecutive weeks.
Oceania and Europe
"All About That Bass" debuted at number 36 on the Australian Singles Chart on August 3, 2014, and reached number one two weeks later, spending a total of four non-consecutive weeks atop the chart. It was certified nonuple platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), indicating sales of 630,000 copies. The song was the second best-selling single of 2014 in Australia. "All About That Bass" entered the New Zealand Singles Chart at number 14 on August 4, 2014. It climbed to number one two weeks later and went on to accumulate six non-consecutive weeks at the chart's summit. The single received a triple platinum certification from Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ), denoting sales of 45,000 units. It became the second best-selling single of 2014 in New Zealand. "All About That Bass" debuted at number 75 on the UK Singles Chart. Spotify substantially contributed to the song's success in the country; during its first six weeks of availability on streaming services in the United Kingdom, "All About That Bass" generated 1.18 million streams. 90% of these streams were through Spotify, which helped the song rise to number 33 on the UK Singles Chart. It made history by becoming the first single to enter the chart's top 40 based on streaming alone.
Following the digital release of "All About That Bass" the week after, it climbed to number one on the UK Singles Chart, with sales in excess of 144,000 units. It became the second-fastest selling single of the year in the country. "All About That Bass" returned six-figure sales in the UK for three consecutive weeks. The song was the longest-running number one of 2014 in the United Kingdom, alongside "Happy" and "Rather Be". The song was certified double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). As of December 31, 2014, "All About That Bass" had sold a total of 651,000 units in the United Kingdom, and ended the year as the ninth best-selling single in the country for 2014. In Ireland, "All About That Bass" debuted at number 76 on the Irish Singles Chart issued for August 14, 2014. On October 2, 2014, the song climbed to the top of the chart, and went on to spend a total of four consecutive weeks at number one. Elsewhere in Europe, "All About That Bass" remained number one in Austria and Germany for six weeks, Denmark and Switzerland for five, Scotland for four, Spain for three, Poland for two, and Hungary, Slovakia and Luxembourg for one.
Background and concept
"All About That Bass" was accompanied by a music video directed by Fatima Robinson and choreographed by Charm La'Donna. The clip was shot over a two-day period which began on May 8, 2014. It was premiered online by music website Idolator on June 10, 2014. Robinson conceptualized the clip's look "with pastel colors", trying to show Trainor as "a little innocent-looking girl doing, like, booty-bumping dance moves", to which Trainor agreed. Robinson and Trainor wanted to make the visual as fun as possible to co-relate with the song's lyrical themes. When Trainor first received the video, she cried, and said, "I don't want to do this anymore". As a result, Trainor was involved in performing several s to the clip because she disapproved on some of its shots and felt her face looked "weird" in some segments. She later approved of the video's final and felt that it depicted her as a "pop star". Trainor said she envisioned it as "a[n] [adorable] cartoon" she would play, but then the video became "bigger than anyone expected, it's like, crap, I have to kind of look like that now".
Social media played a key role in how the video was made and marketed. Robinson discovered one of the video's dancers, Sione Maraschino, online through the now-defunct social media service Vine, where Maraschino rose to popularity. Maraschino later shared the "All About That Bass" music video with his followers on Twitter and YouTube, which became a contributing factor to the clip going viral. Trainor stated she could not dance and that Robinson "made [her] a rock star in two days". She added, "Charm made up most of those dance moves, and taught me how to perform and [told me to] 'make sure you smile!'"
Trainor and her accompanying dancers performing intricate choreography in front of a pink pastel-colored backdrop in the music video for "All About That Bass".
Predominantly, the music video comprises candy colors and choreography, as well as a pastel 1950s-theme. It features Trainor in an uncharacteristic wardrobe of sweaters and white knee socks. It opens with Trainor dancing in front of a pink pastel backdrop. She sports a light blue collared sweater beneath a sundress of the same color, and a material bow headpiece. The clip then switches to a scene with Trainor wearing a headpiece made of roses and a light pink collared sweater beneath a sundress of the same color. The video returns to the original scene where Trainor engages in a dance scene with four other female dancers who sport similar outfits to hers. The scene later sees the five women dancing while sitting on chairs. The routine is intercepted with Maraschino donning a white collared shirt and light blue shorts performing a dance sequence on his own, which includes him doing split acrobatics. Three women, wearing platinum blonde wigs that cover their forehead and eyes, are also pictured in their own dance routine.
In another scene, Trainor, with her hair now loose, sports a yellow sweater and sings in front of a variety of colorful balloons and on top of a wide range of colored material. The singer is also pictured at a dining table topped with candy, offering a young man a cupcake and forcing him to smile with her hands. Two children, in a separate scene, are shown playing with dolls in a dollhouse, dancing in a bedroom and riding bicycles. Trainor is later seen posing next to the dollhouse, and while singing, "I won't be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll," she tosses the doll across the room. In another segment, other girls are pictured smiling while holding magazines with their faces on the front covers.
The music video resulted in "All About That Bass" rising to prominence as a viral hit. Jim Farber of the New York Daily News observed "the 'debate' over [Trainor's] size—is she too big? Too small?—has taken on a life of its own" in the comment section of the video on YouTube. It was YouTube's most-streamed music video for most of September and October 2014, and was the ninth most-viewed music video on the website for 2014. It was Vevo's second most-streamed music video of the year, behind Iggy Azalea's "Fancy".
The music video garnered generally favorable reviews from music critics. Yahoo! writer Paul Grein opined that the clip was the leading candidate to win Best Song with a Social Message at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.Cosmopolitan or Joanna Coles stated that her readers and staff saw Trainor as an ambassador for embracing creativity and individuality. Evan Sawdey of PopMatters deemed the video "fun and buoyant". Jon Carmanic of The New York Times opined that the video "bolstered" the song and called it "vivid". Idolator's Robbie Daw praised the clip's "memorable" dance routine and vintage aesthetic.Out journalist Stacy Lambe described it as "a retro pop world that makes you want to dance in your seat", and according to Erin Kean from Salon, the clip "offer[ed] a hard sell for" the song.
Lauren Valenti of Marie Claire felt that the video put an end to the unattainable standards of the beauty industry.USA Today writer Brian Mansfield described the clip as "'Baby Got Back'-meets-'Beauty School Dropout'", while Stereogum's Chris DeVille commented, "the video, for all its foibles, is both cute and effective".Billboard writer Andrew Hampp described the clip as "slyly satirical"; Julie Zeilinger of the same publication gave the clip a negative review, and wrote that Trainor was "mimicking music videos by the 'silicone Barbie dolls' her song references". Zeilinger opined that the clip's body imagery should have imparted a different message and stated that Trainor "points out the focus on women's appearance... by focusing on women's appearance". Emma Garland of Vice opined that it was fun, safe and easily palatable. However, she felt that the clip did not require much thought and dismissed its choreography as the kind "year 2 schoolgirls would invent". Diana Cook of Cracked considered the video for the song an example of skinny-bashing and noted a double standard: "imagine if Taylor Swift started singing about how boys prefer her awesome pert ass, while dancing around a chubby chick ... the Internet would explode".The Fader placed the music video third in their list of "Music's 8 Most Cringe-Worthy Acts Of Cultural Appropriation In 2014".
Trainor performing "All About That Bass" during the Jingle Ball Tour on December 10, 2014.
Trainor first performed "All About That Bass" live in Nashville at an Emily West concert on July 16, 2014, and made her live television debut on Live! with Kelly and Michael where she performed the song on August 7, 2014. Trainor performed an acoustic version of "All About That Bass" for Entertainment Tonight on September 2, 2014. Two days later, Trainor performed it on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The rendition featured Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, who made use of a variety classroom instruments for the performance. Rolling Stone writer Ryan Reed commented that "their unlikely interpretation was just as good as the original, with their sparse percussion and intimate doo-wop harmonies anchoring Trainor's passionate lines". On September 11, 2014, Trainor performed "All About That Bass" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She made her Australian television debut on September 15, 2014, performing the song on The X Factor Australia.Billboard published a mash-up of "All About That Bass" and Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" on September 18, 2014, which Trainor performed for Australian radio station 2Day FM that week. A journalist from the magazine, Erin Strecker, wrote that "the results aren't a huge surprise—mash up two super-catchy tracks and the result is, well, a catchy track".
Josh Duboff of Vanity Fair wrote that the song had achieved "pop-cultural touchstone-status", while The New York Times's Joe Coscarelli called it "a cultural phenomenon". Yahoo! reported that the song was the eighth most-searched topic on their website for 2014. According to Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian, the song resulted in Trainor being viewed as "the poster girl for the larger woman" and "pop's emblem of self-acceptance".Billboard wrote that the success of "All About That Bass" made Trainor a "breakthrough star virtually overnight" and one of the "biggest breakout stars" of 2014. In a different article, the magazine wrote that the track became "a water cooler topic among young girls and parents". In a press release, Trainor elaborated: "Some girls are like, 'I've hated myself. I hated life. I didn't want to go to school. I get bullied. And then I heard your song and I cried'". Following the song's rise to prominence, its co-writer and producer, Kevin Kadish, was signed to Sony/ATV Music Publishing in October 2014. Sony/ATV CEO, Martin Bandier, stated, "'All About That Bass' is clearly one of the biggest songs of the year and we know there is a lot more to come from him". According to Billboard, the song's success "also brought acclaim" to Trainor's label, Epic, by becoming the label's first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 since Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" (2007).
"All About That Bass" along with "Anaconda" by Nicki Minaj (left) and "Booty" by Jennifer Lopez (right) were recognized by a variety of publications for playing into pop culture's "Era of the Big Booty".
The success of "All About That Bass" promted Kris X of Vogue to state: "We're Officially in the Era of the Big Booty". On September 23, 2014, Steven J. Horowitz of Billboard wrote that "booty records" had "made a mainstream comeback thanks to records like Jennifer Lopez's 'Booty' and Meghan Trainor's 'All About That Bass'". Erika Ramirez of the same publication placed "All About That Bass" fifth in her list, Top 10 Moments of the Year in Ass, and deemed it 2014's "most catchy self-love song". The coinciding release of "All About That Bass" and Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" in the United Kingdom resulted in a chart battle dubbed by British publications as "the battle of the booty songs".Rolling Stone journalist Steve Knopper wrote, "If we assume the latest sing-about-your-butt trend in pop music has finally reached its, uh, conclusion, the unquestionable winner is Meghan Trainor's 'All About That Bass'". Sullivan opined that the three songs signaled a shift in mindset in pop history, where female artists frequently endured "scrutiny" from society for their weight. Yomi Adegoke of The Independent wrote that the tracks helped "curves" reach the forefront of pop culture. On November 11, 2014, it was reported that American company Booty Pop experienced a 47% increase in demand as a result. A New York doctor, Matthew Schulman, told Billboard that Brazilian buttock augmentationplastic surgery had risen by 25% at his practice in 2014. Boston entrepreneur and gym instructor Kelly Brabants stated in an interview with the magazine that she experienced a waiting list for her Booty by Brabants class. Brabants went on to opine, "It's not about being stick-thin anymore, every girl now wants a booty".
The song's "smash hit status", according to Jason Lipshutz of Billboard, made it a popular focus of "viral videos and musical tributes". On December 1, 2014, in an episode of Canadian comedy series This Hour Has 22 Minutes, the cast made a parody music video of the song, releasing it as a Conservative political ad smearing the Federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, with the video titled "Just a Pretty Face". On December 7, 2014, Nerdist Industries released a parody song "All About That Base: No Rebels", performed by Team Unicorn. Their video comprised a Star Wars theme and its premise sees men, depicted as stormtroopers, engaging in choreography alongside cheerleaders dressed in attire inspired by the fictional character Darth Vader. Mitchell Peters of Billboard opined that the parody was "catchy" and "hilarious". On December 12, 2014, a parody music video by NASA entitled "All About That Space" went viral. The video featured NASA interns performing choreography and shots of the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The parody also comprised altered lyrics written by Sarah Schlieder. NASA's parody video attained over one million views in four days. Lee Moran of the New York Daily News called the rendition "wonderfully a-dork-able". The high amount of parodies created eventually led to Time publishing an article titled "No More 'All About That Bass' Parodies, Please" on December 15, 2014.
On August 4, 2014, American boy band Emblem3 performed an acoustic cover of "All About That Bass". The Roots covered the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on August 20, 2014. Their rendition was deemed "angelic" by Chris Payne of Billboard. Canadian singer Justin Bieber posted a cover version of "All About That Bass" on his SoundCloud on October 15, 2014. In early September 2014, Kate Davis performed the song and played double bass under the leadership of pianist Scott Bradlee; in three months their 1940s jazz-style version, called "All About that (Upright) Bass", had received 8 million views on Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox YouTube channel. On October 24, 2014, American group Pentatonix's Avi Kaplan released his cover version of the song online. Kaplan's rendition was positively reviewed by James Grebey of Spin who wrote, "Trainor's tune sounds very different a few octaves lower," and added, "We think it might just be an improvement". "All About That Bass" was also covered by Jamaican-American singer Anita Antoinette during the seventh season of the American series The Voice, receiving praise by the show's judges Pharrell Williams and Adam Levine. Ashley Lee of Billboard wrote that Antoinette provided the song with "a reggae twist". In the beginning of 2016, Trainor and James Corden performed a parody of the song about failed New Year's resolutions on The Late Late Show with James Corden.