It’s funny how many artists/bands I have revisited and gotten back into after I came to university and one of the bands I have gotten back into and love more than ever is No Doubt.
Now their music has always been part of my life since childhood right up into my late teens. It was at the age of 18 that I heard the Tragic Kingdom album and I fell in love with it! However after a while No Doubt had fallen off my radar when I started pursuing after music genres, but then in October last year I decided to start listening to them again and that was a turning point for me, it was at that point I realised that I love this band.
For you to fully understand what this band means to me I’m going to have to give you the full history of my experience with their sound and this takes us back to the 90’s. Back then I listened to so much music on the radio, TV and via the CDs my parents owned too so my music palette was pretty varied, but there was one song on the radio that I heard many times that I never forgot and that was “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt. It was one of those songs that not only had a great sound, but it also had great lyrics too, even though I was young I understood that context of the song and it’s always been one of my favourite nostalgic tunes.
This is the cover art for No Doubt’s most famous single which solidified them in my life forever.
Another song I partially remember was “Just A Girl“, it was a loud and proud tune which had rocky kind of edge to it and I think that’s what I really love about the song upon reflection, I guess I’m really into rock music these days lol. But yeah “Just A Girl” really holds up well after all these years and love to listen to the song to be reminded of simpler times. Then it wasn’t until 2001 when No Doubt released the single “Hey Baby” featuring Bounty Killer when their music flew under my radar again. It was one of the best songs I had ever heard and it was super addictive, it was everywhere and had constant airplay on the radio from what I can remember and with the dancehall element of the song it made this song very enjoyable for me as a kid. And even today it’s a fun song me and my sister like to sing on the odd occasion.
“Hey Baby” is the second most dominant song in my life by No Doubt, it really left a big impression on me.
I also remember the single “Hella Good” coming out and though I remember the song being good, I haven’t heard it in years so I can’t recall much. But one song I can remember very clearly was No Doubt’s last single to be released and that was the cover of the Talk Talk song “It’s My Life“. Back then I never knew the song was a cover, I thought it was No Doubt’s own original material, either way I loved the song. It was soft with Gwen Stefani’s vocals and edgy with the rock element from the guitars too. I heard the song so many times on the radio back when I was 14-16 and it was cemented in my mind for eternity. I still love this version of “It’s My Life“, it just sounds so perfect and I think it’s beautiful, I didn’t hear the original version until I saw it on TV at some point in 2011 and I was like “What!?! This is the original?” Also this is the song where I first discovered the name of the band as No Doubt, because up until that time I never knew the band’s name. I know it’s terrible and it’s almost as embarrassing as the fact that it took me until 2005 to know U2’s band name.
So when I was around 18/19 when I listened to the whole of No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom and I fell in love with their ska-based sound, it was a heavenly experience. I’ve heard the album a few times since then and it was at that point that I constantly looked online to see if No Doubt would make any new material, though they had reformed after Gwen was done with her solo stuff and had started touring again there was still no sign of a date for any of their new material. Then fast forward to October 2011 when I rediscovered Tragic Kingdom and funnily enough I didn’t love it as much as I did before. Don’t get me wrong the album is still great and the songs “Don’t Speak”, “Just A Girl”, “Spiderwebs”, “Sunday Morning”, “Excuse Me Mr.?” and “Hey You” are my favourite tunes, but overall there are some other songs in the album that just don’t gel with me anymore.
No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom… A brilliant album full of great songs and lots of nostalgia.
However when I listened to their follow-up album, Return of Saturn which is viewed by many as a weaker album when compared to the previous one, I actually enjoyed it a lot upon my first listen and replayed a few songs afterwards. Then I left the album for a bit and revisited it again in February this year and then I fell in love with it. With time I’ve found myself listening to several songs from the album, at first it was just the songs “Ex Girlfriend” and “New“, but after a few weeks I found myself becoming obsessed with some songs in particular. Firstly we have “Staring Problem” which I have to say is one of my favourite No Doubt songs ever, it’s so mad, loud and just incredible. The song is so addictive and feels like a rush of energy passing through you. Following straight after that song is “Suspension Without Suspense” which I think is my favourite song off of that album. I became obsessed with this song. After my second listen to this song I listened to it again another 8 times on that day and for me to listen to one song that many times is very surprising. The song is so beautiful, soft and heartfelt and descriptive when it comes to the lyrics. I just love it. Then there’s the song “New” which is just a great song with a lovely chorus and loads of replay value and the last song that has a great level of significance is “A Simple Kind of Life” which I swear is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt songs I have ever heard. You can’t help but fall in love with Gwen’s vocals here and the lyrics get me teary every time. Oh and one other track to mention is “Big Distraction” which has a very addictive sound to it, with Gwen’s brilliant vocals, a great chorus and an overall good sound and let’s not forget the instrumental version of the song “Too Late” that’s hidden on the second half of “Big Distraction” which is amazing and features some beautiful piano work.
As you can tell I really love Return of Saturn, I think it is much better than Tragic Kingdom because it’s much more involved in its themes, there are some absolutely beautiful melodies to be found and Gwen Stefani’s amazing vocals just capture the soul. It’s just my kind of sound and I highly recommend it.
So now that Tragic Kingdom and Return of Saturn have reinvigorated my love for No Doubt I can honestly say that I’m a fan of their work. I really want them to return with a new album and do a worldwide tour so I could see them live, it would make my life that much better. Now sure I haven’t listened to all of their material and some could say that’s not enough of a reason to yourself a fan, but say screw that. I appreciate No Doubt’s work and I will get around to their other albums soon enough, the point is for now I am discovering this band’s sound and letting it become part of my life. But I can admit right now I love No Doubt, they are one of my favourite bands in existence and their music will be forever part of my life! 😀