No Doubt return next month with ‘Push And Shove’, their first album in a decade. Is it any good though? We’ve heard seven of its 11 tracks, which should be enough to make a value judgment, at least when push comes to sh…
The lead single. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should. It’s classic No Doubt: catchy, clearly the work of kids raised on 1980s ska and new wave, and packed with quotable Gwen-isms: “Do you copy? Do you copy?”
… whereas this is a surprise. It’s basically No Doubt Do Club Pop – imagine something produced by RedOne (Gaga, Enrique, J.Lo), but drained of the Euro cheese. Well, most of it anyway. Just as you’re getting used to the idea, they slip in a tempo-slowing eight that sounds a bit like reggae. And then Gwen delivers the baffling line: “Go ahead and stare at my ragamuffin.” We think she means her…
‘One More Summer’ is a great song title, especially from No Doubt, a band born and raised on California sunshine. Thankfully, they deliver the goods – this is sleek, synthy and anthemic, like The Killers if they unclenched their buttocks a bit.
What do you think a No Doubt tune produced by Major Lazer sounds like? Erm, not like this. ‘Push And Shove’ lurches from jerky dancehall verses to choruses that recall No Doubt’s biggest album, ‘Tragic Kingdom’, but with added wompage. There are also guest raps and Gwen channelling her inner Nicki with the line “We be on another level like we doin’ yoga”. It sounds horrible, but it’s actually bonkers and brilliant.
This one’s more straightforward. All bubbling synths and New Order guitars, ‘Easy’ is a wistful cousin to the ‘The Real Thing’, an underrated moment from Gwen’s first solo album. The lyrics are interesting too. Rough translation: stop getting your knickers in a twist, Gwen, and go make up with him.
On which Gwen goes all gooey over her “designer love-maker” – presumably Gavin Rossdale knows some tricks that the rest of don’t. Once you get over the bedroom envy, this is pretty sweet though – like something from a John Hughes movie, but with a dash of dubstep.
The album’s final track. Lyrically, this is a classic Gwen dysfunctional relationship song: “Just like the wind takes the leaf from the tree, you always know how to dismantle me,” goes the opening line. Musically, it’s a synthy midtempo ballad with echoes of Stevie Nicks’s solo career. That is, until the outro, when it all goes a bit ‘(Don’t You) Forget About Me’…
Obviously there are still four tracks to come, but on this evidence, ‘Push And Shove’ is just what you’d want from a No Doubt album in 2012. It’s a catchy, colourful mix of modern pop and 1980s retro that’s never scared to show off its ragamuffin.