...[B]Gwen[/B] has to look elsewhere for inspiration...

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Return Of Saturn

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Return Of Saturn

When it comes to love and songwriting, honesty is not necessarily the best policy.

Poor old [a]Gwen Stefani[/a], frontwoman in [a]No Doubt[/a] and off-again/on-again girlfriend of Bush‘s Gavin Rossdale, has a lot to learn. Though this is her band’s fourth album (remember the bare stomach and the ska-pop, MTV sensation that was 1997’s ‘Don’t Speak’?), ‘Return To Saturn’ shows they still haven’t learnt that basic lesson.

Freezing your emotions in time on a record is a very dangerous business. Just ask Damon and Courtney. Of course it’s reasonable to presume reports of Gavin on the town with other random female celebrities can’t have been pleasant. But while writing things down might enable one to understand their emotions, imagine if your diary was published in a national newspaper two years after writing it.

). Mmm. It may be five years on, but the game plan sounds an awful lot like No Doubt‘s last hugely successful album, ‘Tragic Kingdom’, written when bassist Tony Kanal split with Gwen. Nothing like a woman scorned and all that.

Except this preoccupation with Whichever Bloke In Question only hinders [a]No Doubt[/a]’s cause. It’s easy to spend at least the first (and the best) half of this album pondering the state of Gwen and Gavin‘s relationship and entirely forget to listen to the songs themselves. It’s certainly a shame that every review of ‘Return Of Saturn’ must surely concentrate on the omnipresence of Rossdale. But Gwen‘s brought it on herself.

It belies her own carefully created fiery character, the striking, flame-haired woman with the spectacular soaring voice. The pouting, larger-than-life star who performs like a Lara Croft imitation of Madonna and looks like she’d eat you for breakfast if you crossed her. Gwen is every bit the match for Gavin‘s po-faced stadium rock and yet here, tragically, she seems content to live in his shadow.

Let’s hope their love life continues uneventfully, so that, come album five, Gwen has to look elsewhere for inspiration. Then she might begin to do herself justice.