No Excuses

Credits

Release Date

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Performance

Reviewer

Adam R. Holz
Kristin Smith

Album Review

You’ve heard of Meghan Trainor, right?

You know, the Massachusetts native who rose to fame with her 2014 hit “All About That Bass” and since then has been all about landing big singles (six in the top 20 in the last four years)? And in contrast to many pop songs, Trainor’s tunes are known for promoting a healthy body image and for setting boundaries—two themes we don’t hear a lot of in the modern pop world.

Now Meghan’s back with another hit entitled “No Excuses,” the lead single from her upcoming (and as yet unnamed) third solo album. Like some of her previous efforts, this song pairs empowering messages with a video that undermines them.

A Modern-Day Aretha?

By now, anyone courting Meghan Trainor’s attention should know that she doesn’t suffer fools easily. It’s a lesson she makes plain once again in “No Excuses,” where she calls out a would-be suitor for the disrespectful way he’s pursuing her.

We don’t know exactly what this dude’s done as he’s apparently hit on her. But, clearly, it wasn’t the right approach: “What you sippin’ on that got you talking crazy?” Meghan begins. “Boy, I keep it real with you, but you trying to play me.” It ain’t working: “Have you lost your mind?/Open up your eyes!”

A bit later she describes his failure more specifically: “Why you, why you acting like you never met a lady/I don’t disrespect you, don’t you disrespect me.” And if that wasn’t blunt enough, Meghan then drags the guy’s mama into the mix, too: “There ain’t no excuses, excuses, babe/ … ‘Cause your mama raised you better than that.” She also pokes, “Why you acting hard when you just a baby?”

Ouch.

In a press release for the song, Meghan explained that she wrote “No Excuses” as an anthem for this cultural moment in which women are bravely calling out men’s bad behavior. “I love how so many women are standing up for what’s right,” she said. “I wanted to write us all a powerful anthem. Sometimes, people talk down to me, because I’ve only been doing this for four years, so I wrote this song. It’s my modern version of [Aretha Franklin’s signature hit] ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T.’ It’s all about equality and being kind.”

Too Much Show Business?

Meghan’s request for respect is definitely a positive message here. But when it comes to the song’s video, we run into some images that (again) put more focus on Meghan’s sex appeal.

The video features Meghan dancing in a variety of interesting outfits: from a jean jacket and red pants; to a futuristic body suit; to a black leotard of sorts paired with what appears to be a chrome bra on the outside. Throughout, however, one thing is for sure: Meghan Trainor is back … and this time with more to, um, show.

In almost all of these scenes, Meghan sports cleavage as she wears only a bra (with jackets over top, but opened) with her variously styled pant selections. She’s quite flirty with the camera, dancing to her own beats and swaying to the music as she takes the guy referenced in the lyrics to task for that aforementioned bad behavior.

Competing Messages

Meghan Trainor launched her career with a hit that promoted healthy body image for young women. And many of her other songs promote redemptive themes, too, such as a strong mother daughter relationship, boundaries in relationships and nurturing strong self-esteem and worth.

But it seems Meghan’s also determined to imitate the sexually objectifying culture she insists that she wants to critique. Once again, she’s managed to take a positive song and load up with video visuals that run counter to the empowering messages about respect that she’s trying to send.

Adam R. Holz

After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.

Kristen Smith
Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, loving raising their little guy, Judah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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