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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Stefani not herself on solo CD

(U-WIRE/DAILY COLLEGIAN) – Many stars who made it big in bands and groups are now taking the solo route.
Think Justin Timberlake of *NSYNC and Beyonce of Destiny’s Child. It comes as no surprise, then, that Gwen Stefani, lead singer of No Doubt, has just released her first solo album, “Love, Angel, Music, Baby.” Here, Stefani confuses herself with a credible rap artist or a Madonna-like ’80s star.
Stefani achieved icon status in the ’90s as a punk-rock princess. She used her fearless feminine angst to carve her own place in rock history and created a cult following. Almost every girl wanted to be Stefani, with her platinum hair, ruby lips and self-confident attitude, especially after she married Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale.
Stefani created her own super-star style and took the music world by storm, which is probably the reason why her first solo album was so highly anticipated.
It’s also the reason that it was so surprising that the record falls short of expectations.
In the band No Doubt, Stefani brought an energy and freshness with her spunky lyrics and funky delivery. She is experimental, but goes too far with her new CD.
For one thing, she seems to have completely forgotten her punk-rock background – the CD is dominated by mostly rap and ’80s techno beats.
Her track “Bubble Pop Electric” is probably the best way to describe half of the songs on the record. Listeners may expect powerful rock tunes, but instead will get cheesy and downright weird tracks like “Harajuku Girls.” Apparently Stefani was going for the whole ’80s Japanese invasion thing or something. Her signature voice is electronically altered on some tracks, making it downright annoying. We love the ’80s as much as anyone else, but not the Gwen Stefani version of the decade.
Other tracks on the record have a rap influence, and she collaborates with several stars and even throws in some covers, like “Rich Girl” featuring Eve. A major problem with this is that the originals were and will always be better. And Stefani’s use of the beat from Notorious B.I.G.’s hit “Big Poppa” made evokes a cringe on the track “Luxurious.” She deserves credit for finding influences in different genres, but it’s not cool that she absolutely butchers a classic rap favorite.
The last track features Andre 3000 outshining Stefani.
The whole album feels kind calculated and lacks the genuine heart-felt songs that Stefani is famous for. Her lyrics are repetitive and without feeling, sometimes seeming like she was chanting the same words over and over in some of the songs. The problem with most of the CD is that she attempts to combine too many voices and, in the process, loses her own.
The sooner she rediscovers her inner rock goddess, the better. Gwen Stefani is still awesome, but her new CD is definitely not.

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