Review - No Doubt - Push and Shove
It has been eleven years since ‘Rock Steady’ took over the world and propelled No Doubt to an even higher level of superstardom. Before that point, the band was known mostly for ska and rock; ‘RS’ brought a lot of those elements into the mainstream by mixing them with pop (think “Hey Baby”). That album went on to help ND win two Grammys for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals (two years in a row – once for “Hey Baby” and once for “Underneath It All”).
‘Push and Shove’ surprisingly picks up right where ‘Rock Steady’ left off. You’d think with all that time off and so many life changes – lead singer and songwriter Gwen Stefani released two solo albums, launched a successful clothing line and had two kids – things would be different. The band’s sixth album sees the band rocking out with a modern pop edge, thus bringing their sound into today and preparing a new generation for them.
Lead single “Settle Down” is the perfect example. The tune is pop, but brings that ska/reggae feel into the mix, which shows everyone that they are not the kind of band who will sell out their style just to stay on the radio. The song is a triumph for diehard fans and anyone listening to top 40 radio. The rest of ‘Push and Shove’ is similar in nature.
The title track has Diplo on production duties, and he brought in a bit of dubstep. Sounds scary, but it isn’t. The band makes it their own and shows the legions of wannabe chart-toppers how to be on-trend but still yourself (something Stefani has always excelled at). Second official single “Looking Hot” is also a pleaser – poppy and upbeat, No Doubt have you dancing along like always.
As the album plays on, you can be surprised at just how many songs and in how many different ways the band incorporates ska, reggae, dancehall, and even some punk. They might have gotten away with only having a few tunes play bits of their signature sound (think Rihanna throwing in a “Te Amo” or “Man Down” once every album to remind you that she’s from Barbados, and thus different from every other popstar).
I applaud their efforts – even if it took a decade.
Listen to: “Settle Down”, “Looking Hot”, “Push and Shove”, and “Gravity”