By Simran P. Gupta
Meghan Trainor dropped what would become a mega hit on March 4 and proved to any naysayers that she is more multi-dimensional than many believe. The single, “NO,” is perhaps one of her most empowering— a perfect clapback to the backlash surrounding “Dear Future Husband.” Since winning “Best New Artist” at the 2016 Grammy Awards, public opinion seemed to split in half: her fans have been celebrating since the year began, but others say the win was not well deserved.
“NO” silences any and all criticism masterfully. The first thirty seconds defy any expectations of it being “simply ‘All About That Bass 2.0,’” as Billboard pointed out. An anthem of independence and strength, the single is at once a demand to a pushy dude to back off and also a celebration of enjoying the single life. “If I want a man/Then imma get a man/But it isn’t my priority,” she asserts in the lyrics. In the refrain, she imparts some wisdom to her listeners who may also be harassed in a club: “if that boy ain’t givin’ up/lick your lips/and swing your hips, girl/all you gotta say is…” and the beat drops— and Trainor shuts down virtually any unwanted inquiry that might come her way.
The lyrics are not the only amazing part of the song. The song is a new twist on a nostalgic sound; specifically, it is reminiscent of girl-power music from the early 2000s. It is retro and modern, dance-pop and hip-hop all at once. This is a song that is perfect for a girl’s night out or a girl’s night in; from getting through a breakup, or for celebrating and embracing the single life, to getting amped up to spend a night out on the town.
In an era of music that expresses dangerously possessive tendencies towards women, this pop anthem is a refreshing breath of air. It’s a new portrait of Trainor, a step up from “Lips Are Movin’” and “All About That Bass” and even her duets with Charlie Puth and John Legend. The video continues the feeling of freedom and self-love. Meghan Trainor and her posse of back-up dancers wear outfits of black mesh, sequins, or leather. While it may evoke the image of an over-glamourized femme fatale, the final product is quite the opposite. Trainor and her group look like the modern definition of “badass” as they dance in an underground club reminiscent of the “Step Up” era.
With already 42,308,099 views on YouTube, both the video and the song are making a bold statement: make way for the new, reborn, modern Meghan Trainor. She’s back, and she’s earning every bit of that Grammy awarded to her.