By Lyndsey Jimenez
No Doubt defined a generation that had no definition at all. And now, nearly 11 years after releasing Rock Steady, Gwen & co. are doing it again.
They gave us pure, unadulterated punk with their self-titled LP in 1992. With 1995’s Tragic Kingdom, No Doubt gave rebels a cause with “Don’t Speak” and an anthem with “Spiderwebs.” In 1997, they showed us breaking the mold is okay with The Beacon Street Collective. In 2000, we reminisced with Return to Saturn. And in 2001, we lost the nostalgia and let No Doubt end an era in perfect harmony. Now, with 2012’s Push and Shove, we pick up right where we left off.
With the release of “Settle Down” earlier this year, it looked as though we lost the No Doubt that we knew and loved. While their superficial sound was still there, the individuality was not. The video itself was solely product placement, giving longtime fans a sense of dread as the album release date loomed closer. But as soon as we clicked play, we knew No Doubt had lost nothing in their 11-year hiatus from music. “Settle Down,” minus the distractions of the product placement, is a direct throwback to the days of Rock Steady. “Looking Hot,” however skeptical the title may make you, really is classic Gwen and reminiscent of “Underneath It All.” Obviously, it wouldn’t be No Doubt without a nod to Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal’s long-over relationship, and if you aren’t a fan, you may miss that nod in “One More Summer.”
No Doubt keeps in touch with their classic ska/punk sound with a sprinkle of reggae and a slight Bollywood undertone, and surprisingly enough, it works. While you can credit No Doubt with enough individuality to define a generation, you can’t overlook the fact that, instrumentally, “Easy” sounds almost exactly like IAMX’s “Simple Girl.”
With the release of Push and Shove, No Doubt proves it will take more than time to age them. I give the album 4/5 stars.