INFAMEWETRUST’s ALBUMS of the YEAR (20-11)
Azealia Banks and Charli XCX for their A+ mixtapes, boding well for promising debuts in 2013.
20. Bobby Womack, The Bravest Man in the Universe
A troubled, aging R&B singer works with Damon Albarn to infuse the past with the present and future, bringing vintage soul and spirit into a more modern era.
Top tracks: “Dayglo Reflection,” which features Lana Del Rey
19. Calvin Harris, 18 Months
Scottish DJ Calvin Harris has dominated the charts with “Bounce” (feat. Kelis), “Feels So Close”, “Let’s Go” (feat. Ne-Yo), “We’ll Be Coming Back” (feat. Example), and “Sweet Nothing” (feat. Florence Welch), now together for the first time.
Top tracks: “I Need Your Love,” featuring Ellie Goulding
18. Mumford & Sons, Babel
London’s folk rock heroes Mumford & Sons won critical acclaim with their debut Sigh No More. The follow-up broke chart records upon its release.
Top tracks: “Lover of the Light” and bonus track “For Those Below”
Gwen Stefani and Co. make their comeback with Push & Shove. While lacking some of the “oomph” of earlier albums, the polished new album reminds us why we fell in love with No Doubt.
Top tracks: The Major Lazer produced title track, which races through a million different choruses
16. Metric, Synthetica
Canada’s Metric follow-up their biggest album to date (Fantasies) with Synthetica, drawing influence from Blade Runner. The LP even features a collaboration with Lou Reed.
Top tracks: “Nothing but Time”
15. Justin Bieber, Believe
When “Boyfriend” came out, it was clear that our little Bieber was all grown up. With pop hits and R&B slow jams, Bieber draws inspiration from mentor Usher and another famous Justin.
Top tracks: “As Long As You Love Me”, “Boyfriend”
It might not have quite the same spark as her eponymous debut, but Santigold’s follow-up album is still a clever mesh of alt-rock, reggae and electronic music.
Top tracks: “Disparate Youth”, “God from the Machine”
13. Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror
Noise pop duo Sleigh Bells follow up their peppy debut album with a slightly darker chaos. Reign of Terror may turn up the doom and gloom, but it hasn’t turned down the volume.
Top tracks: “Born to Lose”, “End of the Line”
Indie’s dream pop gods Beach House release their fourth album, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Teen Dream. The formula is much the same – layers of swirling dream-pop melodies, drum machines and Victoria Legrand’s affected vocals.
Top tracks: “Myth”, “Lazuli”
11. Grimes, Visions
Few artists have drawn so much attention from the indie blogosphere as Grimes has done this year. Her third LP has been lauded by critics, for good reason.
Top tracks: “Genesis”, “Be a Body”
SONG OF THE DAY: No Doubt, “Easy”
REVIEW: No Doubt, “Push and Shove”
After an almost ten-year hiatus, Gwen Stefani reunites with her No Doubt band mates for a casual comeback.
Throughout promotion of No Doubt’s new album, Gwen Stefani said that her solo albums showed “her girly side” and were “never meant to be taken seriously.”
It’s interesting, then, that Push and Shove, the band’s sixth studio effort, often feels more in line with Gwen’s solo material rather than No Doubt’s ska-punk roots.
Push and Shove picks up where No Doubt left off in 2003, reuniting with Rock Steady (2001) producer Mark “Spike” Stent.
The album’s opening track, first single “Settle Down” and “Looking Hot,” are both quintessential No Doubt – catchy ska-pop.
“One More Summer,” however, is reminiscent of Gwen’s own “Early Winter.” It would have easily fit in on the singer’s more synth-heavy, electro-pop solo albums.
The title track continues Rock Steady’s Jamaican dancehall influences with vocals from Busy Signal and co-production from Major Lazer for a larger-than life party anthem.
Tony Kanal has described “Push and Shove” as the “Bohemian Rhapsody” to No Doubt’s Queen. Spanning just over five minutes, the song soars high and low and drops in and out, while Gwen goes back and forth between semi-rapping and crying out the mammoth chorus.
“Easy” is a charming, mid-tempo New Wave track that would have fit in just as nicely on Rock Steady or either of Gwen’s albums.
This is where Push and Shove hits its lows. “Gravity” seems less reggae and more Katy Perry (take that as you wish). “Undercover” does nothing to stand out. Things pick up with “Undone,” an apologetic love song.
“Sparkle,” which emphasizes No Doubt’s ska roots, is surprisingly catchy and sweet for a post-break-up number: “I still think of you so much / Do you remember how it was?”
Again, “Heaven” would have fit in nicely at the end of Gwen’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby. with its New Wave-meets-synthpop styling, and “Dreaming the Same Dream” makes for a nice ending.
Whether it sounds like Gwen as a solo artist or Gwen as No Doubt frontwoman is irrelevant – Push and Shove is a decent album with towering choruses and captivating hooks.
Rather than making a statement with its return, No Doubt keeps its California cool throughout the album’s 50-minute run.
There’s nothing ground breaking or legendary on Push and Shove, but it’s a short but sweet, concise power-pop offering.
VIDEO: No Doubt, “Push and Shove”
REVIEW: No Doubt, “Push and Shove”
With 2001’s Rock Steady, No Doubt began infusing dancehall and dub styles with their American breed of ska-pop, allowing for commercial success with hits like “Hey Baby” and “Underneath It All.”
Since then, Jamaican dancehall music has stormed to the forefront of the indie and dance worlds. Introduce Major Lazer, the dancehall love child of producers Diplo and Switch, later sampled by Beyoncé.
It makes perfect sense, then, that No Doubt collaborate with Major Lazer on their reunion albumPush and Shove, as well as Jamaican artist Busy Signal.
The album’s title track premiered on On Air with Ryan Seacrest this past Wednesday (29 August), and the results are absolutely spectacular.
While “Settle Down” served its purpose, whetting our collective appetites for a new No Doubt album, “Push and Shove” is the true masterpiece.
The track spreads itself over a five-minute rollercoaster ride, starting with Gwen’s bouncy rapping before dissolving into a dramatic ska-pop breakdown.
“Take a ride with me / If that’s all right / We’ll shine so bright / Like the city lights,” Stefani croons alongside Busy Signal in the track’s closing moments.
Major Lazer’s trademark military drum beats take precedence, driving the track along effortlessly through its “Bohemian Rhapsody” (lack of) structure.
NEW MUSIC: No Doubt, Push and Shove (feat. Busy Signal & Major Lazer)
TRACKLISTING: No Doubt, Push and Shove
1. Settle Down
2. Looking Hot
3. One More Summer
4. Push and Shove
11. Dreaming the Same Dream
VIDEO: The creation of the artwork for No Doubt’s new album Push And Shove with artist El Mac.