Retrospective: Gwen Stefani’s ‘Love. Angel. Music. Baby.’

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NOVEMBER 23, 2004

“Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Hurry up and come and save me!” That’s pretty much what Gwen Stefani did for pop music with her debut solo album in 2004.

Riding off of her earlier success, which included ruling the mid 90s and beyond with her multi-platinum certified band No Doubt, joining forces with dance music pioneer Moby for “South Side,” and her Grammy winning collaboration with Eve in 2001 (“Let Me Blow Ya Mind”), it was obvious what Gwen Stefani had to do next to progress her musical evolution.

If Gwen’s solo debut album taught the world anything, it’s how to spell bananas correctly. Pharrel Williams and Chad Hugo reunited with Stefani on The Neptunes-produced number 1 smash hit single “Hollaback Girl,” that had everybody chanting “this shit is bananas b-a-n-a-n-a-s!”

However that wasn’t the only reunion on the RIAA 5x platinum certified LP. “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” partners Dr. Dre and Eve rejoin Gwen on “Rich Girl,” plus No Doubt member and ex Tony Kanal hops on to help cowrite and produce “Serious,” and later album singles “Crash,” and “Luxurious,” which featured Houston rapper Slim Thug on its remix.

Stripping down the glitz and glamor of this Harajuku infused Gwen Stefani era, the No Doubt front woman crafted one of her most intimate songs to date, the 80’s inspired “Cool.” Cowritten by Stefani, the song speaks about a journey to forgiveness and continued friendship with an ex, in her case No Doubt’s Tony Kanal, and how they are in fact still cool with each other despite the dissolution of their intimate relationship.

Following the massive success as No Doubt’s front woman, it’s safe to classify Love. Angel. Music. Baby. as yet another storied start and new chapter in the book of Gwen Stefani’s music career and life on top. Even artists like Fergie and Lady Gaga may have utilized some of Gwen’s magic to aid their own solo careers in the years that followed. Gwen’s 2004 album proved she could experiment with pop, hip hop, dance, and fashion that managed to achieve chart success while expanding her ska/rock 90s roots. With the recent boom of rock documentaries, its unquestionable that we should be seeing one about Gwen Renée Stefani in due time! Tick-tock, tick-tock…What you waiting for?

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