No Doubt | “Push and Shove”

Grade: C Best Track: "Settle Down" Release Date: Sept. 21, 2012
Grade: C
Best Track: “Settle Down”
Release Date: Sept. 21, 2012


No Doubt’s sixth album, “Push and Shove,” represents why some bands that have a cult following should quit while they’re ahead.

“Settle Down” is, by far, the best track on this album. It’s memorable, and it’s the only one that still has that signature No Doubt sound. Most of the other tracks make it seem as though the band is trying too hard to adapt their sound to match that of today’s Top 40 bands. But fans don’t listen to No Doubt because they’re “in,” they listen to them because they have such a unique style. In trying to modernize that style, they lost the old sound that made No Doubt so original in the first place.

“Looking Hot” has a good retro sound but it still isn’t classic No Doubt. Gwen Stefani’s voice maintains that signature funk or reggae sound that’s so recognizable, but the band together seems to have lost their groove, which is bringing Stefani’s talent down. The disappointing music makes her voice sound weaker than it is. The usually self-confident and strong vocalist actually sounds a bit whiny in “One More Summer,” but not in a good way (like in the classic track “Don’t Speak”). It’s almost as if her voice has matured but the band’s music hasn’t, so they’re trying to make up for it by conforming to the current standards of pop music.

The beginning of the track, “Gravity,” gives the promise of a good dance track because it sounds exactly like “Hey Baby,” but it falls short after the first few seconds. The songs are surprisingly boring for such a distinguished group.

“Undercover,” like most of the other tracks on the album, has a dull and consistent beat and melody. That’s a bit expected on slow tracks like “Undone,” but even more upbeat songs on the album have the same problem.

There’s no surprise or mystery in the music, and that makes it hard to remember or even distinguish one track from the next. There’s nothing unique about these songs.

The best example of their painful efforts lies in the title track, “Push and Shove.” Parts of the song sound like a bad version of the Black Eyes Peas, but Stefani still sounds infinitely better than the Peas’ lead female vocalist. No Doubt’s comeback would have been much stronger if they tried to evolve without losing their own personal style. The band completely got lost in their attempt to make a successful comeback.