There’s one word that’s consistently associated with Meghan Trainor again and again, and it’s “sassy.”
That is, of course, by design. Trainor makes anthems for the era of commercialized empowerment feminism, with lyrics and delivery that epitomizes finger-wagging. Her new single/video, “No Excuses,” released on Thursday (from her third album), follows the same terrain, and has therefore been described as a “Sassy Time’s Up-Inspired” jam, “the sassy pop bop we need in 2018,” and a “Sassy, Respect Demanding New Track.”
The gist of the song: Respect me because your mother didn’t raise you to be a dick!!! And stop mansplaining... You get the feeling the song creators wanted a (nuked) version of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” or, at the least, a song with the potential to soundtrack a Gap ad. Trainor sings: “What you sippin’ on that got you talkin’ crazy?” And “Why you actin’ hard when you just a baby?” And “Yo mama raised you betta than that.” The orchestrated sass (and the connotation of that word as positive in her case compared to the trope-y history of the sassy black woman) is built into Trainor’s voice, mannerisms and marketing, the blatancy of which has made her my nemesis.
Trainor told People the song was inspired by Time’s Up:
The first time I heard it, I saw some parallels between the lyrics and the Me Too and Time’s Up movements.
Care to expand?
Well, mansplaining is very real. It’s like, you don’t realize you’ve had those experiences until you look back. Now when I do look back — especially to when I was 18 and 19 in the industry, talking to older adults, mansplaining was very real, and it’s still real — you feel like you’re fighting for your word, fighting to show them you do know what you’re talking about. It’s frustrating sometimes. I finally reached a point where I needed to write a song about it. So I immediately went to the studio and wrote the song in a day — I was just so fired up!
It’s certainly valid to point out the frustrating, offensive and often criminal interactions women have with men in the music industry, but I did not hear this song and think of that.
Anyway, it’s sassy. In an interview with Billboard published today, Trainor says:
“This is definitely the sassiest song. But what I did was, if I had a love song, I remembered to like keep it sassy and cool. So I have this one love song that’s a big anthem like ‘I just want to be foolish with you.’ In the verses you almost think I’m being sassy and aggressive, when I’m saying ‘I want to be with you and no one else, and I wanna do it right now!’ So I kept it all fun and upbeat, and it’s a different approach as a songwriter on a love song, which is cool.”