Gwen Stefani: This Is What The Truth Feels Like

Gwen Stefani has always been a part of my life. Who can forget Hollaback Girl or her promotion of Harajuku fashion? But even before all of that, Gwen Stefani was part of one of the most successful rock bands of the ’90s, No Doubt. This is where my personal love of Gwen Stefani begins. No Doubt is absolutely my favorite bands of the ’90s and Tragic Kingdom is one of my favorite albums ever, up there with Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors or Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. You can imagine my surprise once I heard that Gwen Stefani was releasing her first solo album in 10 years. My expectations were raised even further once I learned that it was inspired by the end of her marriage and her new relationship. I was expecting a Sia-like come back with deeply personal songs mixed in with pop-y love ballads. While I don’t find it as impressive as Sia’s 1000 Forms of Fear, it is far from disappointing and is a great listen.

Let’s start with the negatives. The albums starts off spectacularly, but falter near the end with the 8th, 9th, and 10th songs being tonally dissonant and surely the most strange of the album. Luckily the album picks it back up with the next songs, but it never reaches back to the magic of the beginning of the album. Perhaps my least favorite song of the album is Asking 4 It featuring Fetty Wap. I’m alway wary when artists firmly rooted in pop (or rock) and artists firmly rooted in hip hop work together. It can be great when done right (like B.o.B’s Ariplanes featuring Hayley Williams) but more often than not, the two sounds cannot find a middle ground. It definitely doesn’t work here. Not is the song dissonant from the rest of the album, but the two artists themselves don’t fit well. Gwen Stefani’s clean and clear vocals fights with Fetty Wap’s unique, rough fuzzy vocals.

But of course the album has some knock-out hits as well. In fact, the entire first album is great, my personal favorite being the album’s first song (and sure to be next single) Misery. This song has all the work of a great pop hit that people will be singing along with for years. The lyrics are catchy, the beat is endless fun, and the bubblegum-pop style really suits Gwen Stefani’s solo work, though that is not to say that she can’t do incredible work in other genres as well. Listening to Where Would I Be? provides us a great look at Stefani’s musical talent as it flits between genres throughout the entire song and it works as a comprehensive package of everything that she can do as an artist. While it is not the best song on the album, it is impressive none the less.

Overall the album is a fun listen, though lacking in the sadder songs that are usually featured on break-up albums. To hear the best of the album, I suggest starting with Misery, Make Me Like You, or Truth. These songs are my personal favorites of the album. They are classic Gwen Stefani and will certainly please old fans of her solo work. I am looking forward to hearing more songs from Gwen Stefani as clearly she still has a lot of musical potential left within her.

Thomas Degroat

A student majoring in Neuroscience, art is a second passion to him. He is particularly fond of analyzing film, theater, television, and literature. If he had not found love within science, he would most assuredly be a Comparative Literature major. His review inspirations are Lindsay Ellis, Rantasmo, and Chris Stuckman.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!