No Doubt- Rock Steady



At first listen, this latest No Doubt effort is nothing like the other stuff I’ve heard from them. Of course, it’s also nothing I wanted to hear a second time either. Gone is the sense of peppy punk energy that thrust Tragic Kingdom to the forefront of edgy girl pop. Instead it seems that front woman Gwen Stefani has fallen completely into her hip hop girl-power diva mode.

The opening track qvzzqHella Goodqvzzq has an infectious groove that does have my head bouncing a bit. Single qvzzqHey Babyqvzzq is the best track on the album, but would be a lower third track on their earlier efforts. It has a great beat, but sounds like any one of a dozen other electro-heavy dance tunes out there. qvzzqMaking Outqvzzq is the first of many totally forgettable dance/pop tracks. qvzzqUnderneath it Allqvzzq has a sweet pop sensibility that has later single written all over it. (But at five minutes, it’s at least twice as long as it should be.) qvzzqDetectiveqvzzq, qvzzqDon’t Let Me Downqvzzq and qvzzqStart the Fireqvzzq are utterly forgettable tracks plunging this album further into the mid-disc abyss. qvzzqRunningqvzzq shows off Stefani’s voice nicely in a mostly forgettable, sappy pop-friendly tune. qvzzqIn My Headqvzzq gives us a late reprieve with its catchy beat and haunting vocals. qvzzqPlatinum Blonde Lifeqvzzq is actually the second best tune of the album but would be more at home on a Garbage CD. It’s not enough to save the album, but it is head and shoulders above the other stuff on this disc. Don’t get too excite though as the final two tracks nose dive greatly. qvzzqWailing Roomqvzzq sounds like a Janet Jackson reject and qvzzqRock Steadyqvzzq can’t end soon enough for my taste.

I have to admit that on third listen, this CD isn’t as bad as I thought when I heard it the first time. Still, it’s nothing I would recommend, especially for fans of No Doubt. There are two or three good tracks and a whole lot of stuff that’s just a waste of time.

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