After an 11 year hiatus, the infamous nineties punk rock/pop band No Doubt is back and ready to regain their status atop the charts with the release of Push and Shove. While band members Gwen Stefani, Tom Dumont, Tony Kanal and Adrian Young are the same talents that delivered many ska-influenced radio hits, this is not the No Doubt of the past. While Push and Shove stays true to the band’s roots with fast-paced reggae-influenced beats, they aren’t afraid to add modern flourishes to keep the album as fresh as what is currently on Top 40 radio. When Gwen Stefani belts “I know it’s never gonna be the way it was,” on the track “Sparkle,” it’s easy to agree with her. While definitely not the No Doubt of the 90s, they haven’t lost their colorful spirit or their ability to churn out fun, danceable tunes.
No Doubt originated in Anaheim, Calif. and first arrived on the music scene in 1992. Known primarily for their unique ability to mix elements of punk music with Caribbean and ska sounds, the Grammy Award-winning band has produced numerous hits and sold over 33 million albums.
The title song, “Push and Shove,” is the high point of the new album, really showcasing No Doubt’s musical evolution. Produced by Major Lazer and reggae artist Busy Signal, this track has a bouncy skarhythm augmented with sounds borrowed from dub-step, synthetic melodies and a few tempo-changes which all blend together to create a depth of sound as good as anything currently on the pop charts. It’s hard not to get up and dance when the tempo changes and Stefani’s vocals are interrupted with Signal’s rapping.
“Settle Down” is another stand out as a feel good song with a reggae vibe. Featuring an electronicoutro that radiates positive feelings, the song spotlights Stefani’s unique vocals.
For those nostalgic for the old No Doubt, keep in mind that the band’s calling card has always been their unique but still mainstream sound. Since releasing Rock Steady in 2001, the music scene has gone through many radical changes, so it makes sense that the band would have to switch up their style in order to remain current. The past 11 years have given the band time to reexamine their music, reforming it to fit the current standards of musicality.
With their latest album, No Doubt stays true to their origins without sounding stale in the least. They don’t try to be something that they’re not, and they don’t try to compete with the current pop mega-stars like Justin Bieber or Carly Rae Jepsen. In fact, Push and Shove sounds fresher and more inspired than most of the mediocre pop music that dominates the radio — proving once again that age and maturity are no handicap when it comes to pop music.