Growing up as a Valley-Girl (Castro Valley Representative) No Doubt for me was an iconic group. I grew up idolizing front woman Gwen Stefani for several reasons – banging body, good singing voice and amazing style. Their debut album, Tragic Kingdom and Return of Saturn, are some of my favorite albums ever, so it was a no brainer that when I learned they were releasing their sixth album, I was ecstatic.
In 2001, No Doubt; Stefani, Adrian Young, Tom Dumont and Tony Kanal, released their fifth album Rock Steady. Since that time, the musical climate has changed – more about personas and personal lives than music realistically. Also, since that time, Stefani has created an image and persona that has surpassed her band members with her bids as cover girl for multiple magazine publications, makeup endorsements, cologne/clothing line, and two solo albums Love.Angel.Music.Baby and Sweet Escape.
Now, 11 years later, No Doubt returns to the scene with their sixth album, Push and Shove released September 25th. With their new album, No Doubt revisits a lot of the same concepts that made them household names pre-hiatus – great production, great lyrics and concepts, as well as lovely and infectious vocals from Stefani. Despite the lead single, “Settle Down,” not necessarily being a good indication of what the rest of the album will sound like – the album is great.
Highlights on the album begin with “One More Summer.” The song is featured on the album three times with the actual production, acoustic version and a Jonas Quant Remix, but I’m partial to the original track. The guitar that introduces the song sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the track. The song speaks to essentially having a little more time for love using the summer love metaphor.
The title track of the album, “Push and Shove” featuring Busy Signal and Major Lazer serve as the perfect title track from the album. Not only does the song have great lyrics but as a whole it’s one of the most standout tracks from the album in terms of production. From the beginning of the song, the beat commands attention only lets Stefani to have the perfect background. The song also somewhat will put you in the mindset of “Hey Baby,” perhaps from the Dance hall like vibe incorporated in both.
The production and lyrics of “Easy,” are both sexy. Stefani sings, “Put your hands up you’re surrounded/ they’re circling me/ cause I’m a hustler baby/ come on, I bring it on, can’t turn it off.” As well as, “Gonna put it over there/ white flag in the air/ gonna get my way when I cease the fire, I wanna be with you. I’m dropping everything, I wanna be there.”
The intro lyrics on “Gravity,” could work almost as a statement to where No Doubt are today. Stefani sings, “We’re so lucky/ still holding on.” While with, “Undone” the group creates a song that is reminiscent to previous classics, “Don’t Speak,” and “Simple Kind of Life.” Stefani sings, “I’m broke, let me show you where it hurts. I’m trying to be brave, this wasn’t in my plan and nothing you can do, I’ve changed. It’s such a waste.”
Overall, with their latest installment, No Doubt created the album that longtime fans like myself have been waiting for. The lyrics and production of the album both have a tremendous amount of depth and both evoke some type of feeling within me. I think No Doubt’s veteran status as well as helped them to create this album – it’s almost like they don’t care. Yet it’s not lazy at all. Kudos. Kudos.