The headline “Singer releases first new non-Christmas, non-duet track since 2016” says a lot about the state of Gwen Stefani last time. She hasn’t released anything really exciting since 2012, and that wasn’t nearly as exciting as her solo stuff from the middle of the decade. And now, after a few years of being primarily a holiday and Las Vegas oriented artist she makes a song aimed for her audience. “I always think about artists that I loved growing up, and I think I just want to listen to the songs that I like that they did […] I don’t really go seek new music from them. So something about that made me feel like why should I do it?” This is very self-aware, and a pretty reasonable way of thinking as an artist in her 50s, but I hope she will not only comfort people but also innovate in the future.
This retro-sounding song is strangely enough the freshest she has sounded for a long time. It feels new but it’s clearly mostly a reference to her ska/reggae years in No Doubt. Gwen herself talks about the song being a lighthearded song made to bring you joy, and I’m hoping this attitude will be present in the coming album(??). Gwen is great when she’s fun and poppy. Could we hope for a mix of the lightness of songs like “Bubble Pop Electric” and the authenticity of “This is what the truth feels like”, all sung on No Doubt music?