I acquired Gwen Stefani’s new album last night, and have been listening to it all morning. I figured I’d write up a review, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I haven’t done one in a while. More importantly, this album is really NOT what I was expecting. I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed, simply because they have certain expectations for the album. I’d have to say I am enjoying the album, but I don’t think it will become one of my favorites.
The album is a typical studio release in terms of what you get – 12 tracks for a total running time of just over 52 minutes. Nothing spectacular. On the other hand, the CD is appropriately priced, being 10.99 in the US and 12.99 in Canada. The first single off the album is the very catchy tune, “What You Waiting For?” I really liked this song when I heard it on the radio for the first time, and I still like it quite a bit. Just something about it! I guess you could describe that song as “electric-pop”, and unlike a lot of first singles, it is quite representative of the overall sound of the album. Basically, “Love, Angel, Music, Baby” is like an electric version of 1980′s Madonna.
Other tracks on the album include “Rich Girl”, featuring Eve, “Hollaback Girl”, “Cool”, “Bubble Pop Electric”, “Luxurious”, “Harajuku Girls”, “Crash”, “Real Thing”, “Serious”, “Danger Zone”, and “Long Way to Go” featuring Andre 3000. I think my favorite song so far is “Serious”, which sounds very much like something Madonna might have put out and then remixed. A lot of the songs are catchy, and sound very polished. “Rich Girl” and “Danger Zone” are probably my next favorite tracks (and no, the latter sounds nothing like Kenny Loggins’ song of the same name).
Overall I think the album is worth the money. I think Gwen has gone and made an album that she wanted to, but that is different than most people would expect, so kudos for that. I don’t know how she could possibly perform any of these songs live, at least not without backup synths and samples. If you’re not into electric-pop music, you probably won’t like this release. And if you’re expecting something that sounds like No Doubt, you’ll be disappointed. Otherwise, I think you’ll probably enjoy Gwen’s first solo effort. I know I am!