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Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape
|The Top 40 music controlling the radio rarely ventures past the cookie cutter pop twinkles and tinny beats proven reliable and consistent in producing one hit after another. But for every unnecessary rule exist at least a handful of exceptions. Gwen Stefani gives us just that exception.|
Gwen exercises creativity and adventurous methods sincerely, regularly bringing the most random and unorthodox noises in music to airwaves and music channels everywhere. On her initial solo album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby., Stefani explored uncharted waters without hesitation. These ventures frequently allowed her to reap rewarding dividends. Her “Hollaback Girl” and its accompanying chant of “b-a-n-a-n-a-s” infiltrated minds everywhere, with fans and detractors alike regurgitating the spelled out phrase with alarming redundancy. That album showed that while some tracks thrive off of Gwen’s diverse approach, that same unique delivery also leads to the overwhelming flop of many others. The Sweet Escape further displays this point.
The first track alone drives this point home. Stefani starts her record off pulling from various influences, most notably The Sound of Music. Such an interesting yodeling source paired with a minimalist, kinky percussion line yields some of the most addicting pop moments in recent memory. However, awkward wind instrument blurbs during the strikingly simple chorus jolt listeners out of their mindless, absorbed state into one of irritation and a lingering discomfort. The tune gives moderate pleasure while it plays, but a bitter aftertaste persists, for fans recognize that the artist failed to capitalize upon a significant amount of potential.
Following tracks exist in a hit or miss fashion as well. The title track featuring intermittent Akon whoops exercises yet another sparing beat and Gwen takes advantage of its slow, bouncing nature to toy around with a warbling vocal approach. Accelerating once again, Stefani executes impeccably on “Yummy.” This song presents the successor to the aforementioned “Hollaback Girl” with its funky musical backing and relaxed but still choppy singing. Of course in the established pattern of The Sweet Escape, no pieces pulls off a flawless final product. The closing moments churn out an intriguing industrial beat, but these final seconds extend into an exhausting marathon ending.
Lyrical struggles represent the most outstanding blemish on the record, and no track illustrates this problem more clearly than “Breakin’ Up.” Here Stefani rambles obnoxiously about cellular connection issues. She cries juvenile lines such as “hold up I think your cutting out, hold up I think I’m losing you, tell me can you hear me now, we’re breaking up.” Other lines throughout the disc spend an unnecessary amount of time doting on Gwen’s musical prowess. Her self-indulgent rampages only serve to mildly aggravate fans.
Gwen Stefani attempts to bridge accessibility and quirkiness with each of her releases. Her tests often pan out well, but at times they end drastically. Thus, consistency proves her worst enemy. Listeners only hope that her next release finally shows constant, repeated delivery.
05:49 PM on 01/24/07
i miss the days of no doubt :(
05:57 PM on 01/24/07
really really bad album...go back to no doubt
06:05 PM on 01/24/07
yea i miss no doubt. sunday morning is such a killer track
06:06 PM on 01/24/07
Gwen solo is just not that good. No Doubt is so good, and if they ever get back on Tour I will be there!
06:10 PM on 01/24/07
haha i think you said it best
06:21 PM on 01/24/07
Shakin' It Like Some Chocolate Milk
I miss old No Doubt. This is not what she should be doing.
06:26 PM on 01/24/07
at least i could stand the songs on her debut solo CD. They were not good, but at least tolerable.
This new CD is just terrible.
Its been said a million times, but No Doubt needs to make a return.
06:29 PM on 01/24/07
what a well written review.
06:48 PM on 01/24/07
perfect review, couldnt agree more.
yummy is the only listenable song...except for the god awful ending.
BRING BACK NO DOUBT!!!!!!!!
remember when gwen was cool?
07:13 PM on 01/24/07
i wish i could be gwen for a day.
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