Wow! I didn't realize how long it had been since I did a legitimate Tu(n)esday. I know I did the 70th birthday tribute to John Lennon a few weeks back, but no reviews or discussions of music at all.
This week, I'm going to do something a little new that I'm calling (Re)Discovery Tu(n)esday... yes, that's a lot of parentheticals there. This is my opportunity to highlight a band that I haven't listened to in a long time for whatever reason that I'm picking back up on again.
For the inaugural (Re)Discovery Tu(n)esday, I'm featuring No Doubt. Back in my late undergrad and early grad school days, No Doubt burst on the scene with their fusion of pop, punk, and ska (I think) and blew a lot of alternative rock fans away. Well, it was a combination of the music and their stunning starlet blonde frontwoman, Gwen Stefani. I know I wasn’t the only guy to have a crush on her, if posters hanging in dorm rooms in my residence hall were any indication.
Admittedly, I liked them. I bought their breakthrough album, Tragic Kingdom, but kinda forgot about them in the four years between that and their next album, Return of Saturn. They released another album after that, Rock Steady, but then they broke up with Stefani and guitarist Tom Dumont seeking solo careers. Add to that Stefani becoming a fashion icon and raising a family with husband and Bush frontman, Gavin Rossdale, under the constant blinding glare of paparazzi camera flashes.
I'm not sure what precipitated it, but the band announced in 2008 that they were getting back together (maybe they were never officially broken up?) and, four years later, they released Push and Shove.
It has been more than 12 years since I've listened to them, but was turned back on to them by Marty Mankins and am learning to love them all over again.
To be honest, I forgot how many radio- (and Kevin-) friendly songs the band had from all three of their major release albums. "Spiderwebs," "Just a Girl," "Sunday Morning," and "Don't Speak" from Tragic Kingdom. "Ex-Girlfriend," "Six Feet Under," "New," "Comforting Lie," and "Suspension Without Suspense" from Return of Saturn. "Hella Good," "Rock Steady," "Underneath It All," and "Don't Let Me Down" from Rock Steady.
I really went into this rediscovery expecting to find one or two tracks scattered over the three albums that I might enjoy. But the depth of my in-car and in-office rocking out today was really a bit jarring.
Now, about their new album Push and Shove, I gotta say I enjoyed it as well. I would consider its world music roots more akin to Rock Steady, which, according to Wikipedia, was recorded on Jamaica, then it is to the other two big albums the band released. The lead-off single, "Settle Down," strikes me as being a bit toned-down compared to their previous hits, with strong reggae influences and is an interestingly daring choice to introduce the album to the world. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but I see it being more a second or third single.
For me, the obvious lead off single would be "One More Summer" although one of my favorite tracks is "Push and Shove" for its range of eclectic sound. And I must give credit to Adrian Young for some very solid drumming throughout.
Overall, a very solid album and one I see myself enjoying for a while as I reacquaint myself with the band.