The International Writers Magazine: Music Review
by Gwen Stefani
solo album by the lead singer of the worlds biggest rock-ska-punk-pop-new
wave group shouldnt really come as a surprise considering
her track record of collaborations from the early Saw Red
with ska-punkers Sublime to the Eve hit, Blow Ya Mind.
There are those, however, who may be surprised by the albums
there is little evidence of No Doubts more rocky influences, but
the tapping foot and keen ear will spot the band's hallmark new wave
feel and spot-on bass lines. There is, of course, still reference to
Stefanis bandmates on this solo album: Tony Kanal (No Doubts
bassist) produces three tracks and A. Young (Adrian, the bands
drummer) mysteriously appears with a writing credit on Rich Girl.
Later, the fourth track, 'Cool ', is about how Stefani and Kanal are
"still good friends" after "the dreaming days where the
mess was made", their relationship and difficult break-up.
Stefani's lyrics are, as always, closely observed: in the tingly love
song The Real Thing Gwen tells her lover "Youre
a salty water ocean wave. You knock me down, you kiss my face."
Her trademark vocal acrobatics and ear for a body-throbbing beat are
also present and correct, but this time they're bound up in a much more
dance-styled vibe. The jittery effects on Bubble Pop Electric
combined with its catchy chorus and fun feel are enough for me
to bet on it being a future single as well as an awesome song to dance
to. In fact, I really hope there haven't been any hidden cameras in
my room when I've been listening to this album - it's that jump-around-your-room-like-a-loon.
The only track I'd call an absolute dud is 'Luxurious' - the cringeworthy
male speech in the introduction and its beat and synthesisers are cheesy
R & B at its trying-too-hard-to-seduce worst.
The album is an amalgamation of Stefanis loves, giving us a frenetic,
fun dance record that is, most importantly, unique. It comes at an exciting
time for Gwen - her clothing line has been released to critical praise,
she is internationally recognised as a style icon (appearing as Jean
Harlow in the movie 'Aviator'), and with No Doubt she
is looking forward to yet another album.
To use her own words from the close of 'Harajuku Girls': "Style
is style; fashion is fashion. Girl, you got style."
© Clare Sager - Jan 2005
Clare is a journalist with the Creative Writing Programme at Portsmouth
all rights reserved