"No" (stylized as "NO") is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor for her second major-release Thank You (2016). Written by Trainor, Eric Frederic, and Jacob Kasher, the production was handled by Ricky Reed. The song was released as the lead single from the album on March 4, 2016. A dance-pop song featuring R&B, early millennium-pop elements and ripping guitars leading instrumentation, its lyrics incorporates themes of female independence. It was well received by music critics, who found the musical direction new for Trainor and a noticeable departure from her previous work. "NO" was serviced to US contemporary hit radio on March 8, 2016.
In an interview with Fuse's Jason Lipshutz, Trainor stated the song is "a big anthem for ladies about telling a dude, 'Nah, I'm good—I’m out here on my own, and I'm good with it.'" She also said "The scene is me in a club, and the dude comes up to me and I go, 'No no no. I don't need your hands all over me. I'm good. I'm gonna dance on my own with my girls.'"Billboard gave a preview of the lyrics: "My name is 'no'/My number is 'no.'"Musically, she described the material as "something that's not on the radio" and "different."
In an interview with Popdust, producer Ricky Reed described Trainor’s single as “a bizarre song.” He explained how the song was evolving musically: “It started with this dance-hall drum rhythm, and Meghan ran into the studio after an upsetting meeting with her record label. We started with a rap, and that turned into a chant. Then, we brought in some funk elements. It is the core of the album, but more so, it is a gateway drug. It is definitely a perfect introduction to her next musical journey.” He added, “[She was] angry, and we immediately started a concept for the song using that energy. She is very involved with every song and is easily one of the most talented people I’ve ever been in a room with. This song is very different from what’s she’s done before. It’s urgent and has a very strong female-forward message.”
Refering to the meeting, Trainor revealed label director L.A. Reid, told the singer she didn’t have a proper lead single yet for her upcoming album: “he said I have an album of Nice Meghan". Trainor said it took little time to craft the song with producer Ricky Reed. “I told my producer we needed a big eff-you song, an anthem about girl power that sounded like nothing on the album. We wrote it that day.” She added “I was too scared to go by myself [play the final result for Reid]. L.A. played it 29 times—and we kept counting. I’ll never forget that moment. "Ultimately, the song changed the direction of its parent album, as they started experimenting with new musical styles and produced six more tracks.
Lyrically, the song discusses men who approach women and "can’t take the hint" when their advances are rejected. Musically "No" is a dance pop song, with ripping guitars leading instrumentation. The song opens with modern doo-wop vocals, before it charges up into a R&B, early millennium-pop vibe with its beat and crunchy guitar;for Billboard's Joe Lynch "there's a twist - the retro music plays through an old-timey crackle, and then it suddenly comes to a stop. A massive, Neptunes-esque beat kicks in."Trainor half-sings, half-raps "My name is no / My sign is no / My number is no / You need to let it go."Music Times' Carolyn Menyes noted influences from early 2000s girl groups and pop stars a la In the Zone Britney Spears and NSYNC's "It's Gonna Be Me".
Writing for Billboard, Joe Lynch stated Trainor "is making one thing clear from outset of her new song "NO," it's that there's a lot more to Meghan Trainor than what you think you know", adding "Trainor was confident on "Bass," but on "NO," she's entirely in charge."In a positive review, Brennan Carley from Spin wrote “NO” "is definitely a new direction for Trainor, who’s mostly tossing aside her sock-hopping persona for no-nonsense truth-telling." Digital Spy's Amy Davidson described the song as "gloriously '90s". Forbes contributor Hugh McIntyre thought it is "a noticeable departure from her previous hits. It’s sultrier and a little more aggressive."Carolyn Menyes from Music Times wrote "No" "is the sort of anthem that women have been looking for. She sings in an out-of-character show of female empowerment and independence."
"No" debuted at number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on the chart dated 26 March 2016, marking her highest entrance among seven entries so far. The single opened at number 2 on Digital Songs with 113,000 sold in its first week of release. "No" also debuted at number 21 on Radio Songs (46 million in airplay audience), marking the highest debut on the chart since Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" debuted at number 6 more than five years prior. Also, "No" added 3.3 million first-week domestic streams, without an official music video or audio on Trainor's Vevo channel. In its third week, "No" entered the Hot 100's top ten on the chart dated 9 April 2016, ascending from 12 to 6 and becoming her fourth top-ten hit. The song marked her fastest climb to the top ten, besting the four-week ascent of "All About That Bass." Additionally, "No" became Trainor's second number-one song on the Digital Songs chart, after selling 128,000 downloads during that week. The following week, besides descending to number 2 on the Digital Songs chart with 147,000 downloads sold, "No" ascended from 6 to 3 on the Hot 100, becoming Trainor's second top-three song. "No" debuted at number 59 on the UK Singles Chart. It later reached number 23.
The Music Video was directed by Fatima Robinson. In an interview with Time magazine, Trainor confirmed the filming of the accompanying music video took place on March 4, 2016. The music video was released on March 21, 2016 on Trainor's Vevo page. Visually darker than her previous clips, the singer joins a female dance troupe in a warehouse. Joe Lynch from Billboard opined "Trainor gives serious early '00s Britney and mid '90s Madonna vibes. It's a much sexier look than we're used to seeing from Trainor, but she owns it." For Fuse's Emilee Lindner, Trainor is "shedding the bubblegum pink and pastel blues of her Title era and delving in the darkness of her new brown-haired persona."
Live Performance and cover version
Trainor performed "No" live for the first time at the 3rd iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 3, 2016. She performed the track on The Graham Norton Show on April 8 and The Voice UK final on April 9.
The song was covered by Allison Iraheta and other alumni at the series finale of American Idol on April 7, 2016.
A-cappella group Pentatonix covered "No" in a video released via their YouTube channel, in April 2016.