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Rock Steady (Limited Edition)

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Album Review

Five years separated Tragic Kingdom and its 2000 follow-up, Return of Saturn. About 15 months separated Saturn and its sequel, Rock Steady — a clear sign that No Doubt was getting back to business, but it's really a more accurate reflection of Gwen Stefani's stature in 2001. Once Saturn started slipping down the charts — apparently, the kids weren't ready to hear a post-new wave album about facing your thirties with your biological clock ticking — Stefani started popping up all over the place, appearing on Moby's remix of "South Side" and duetting with Eve on "Let Me Blow Your Mind." These were major, major hits, restoring luster to Stefani, and therefore, No Doubt, while giving them some hip-hop/dance credibility (albeit rather small cred), so it was time to turn out another record to capitalize on this re-opened window. Smartly, they followed a Madonna blueprint by working with several producers — Nellee Hooper, Sly & Robbie, Ric Ocasek, Prince, Steely & Clevie — and running it through Mark "Spike" Stent for mixing and additional production, thereby giving it a unified sound while covering all the bases. And they certainly cover all their bases, retaining their footing in new wave and ska revival while ratcheting up their fondness for reggae (specifically, dancehall and ragga, unfortunately; the guest toasters are the only real misstep here) and their newly acquired taste for dance and hip-hop. It's a testament to No Doubt's abilities as a band (not to mention their sheer likeability; they're just so good-hearted and unpretentious, it's hard to imagine getting angered about this band) that it neither sounds like pandering to the charts or the opening salvo in Stefani's solo career — it simply sounds like a good, hooky, stylish mainstream pop record, something that's rather rare in 2001. [The bonus CD edition was released in two versions, with this one featuring a remix of "Hey Baby" featuring OutKast, a remix of the same song by F.A.B.Z., a remix of "Hella Good" by Roger Sanchez, a remix of "Ex-Girlfriend" by Philip Steir, plus the videos for "Hey Baby," "Hella Good," and "Underneath It All."]

Customer Reviews

This Album Is A Hella Good!

A big departure from ND's ska roots but this change is really refreshing and makes for some great songs! The album is very disco-ey and energetic, and all round very feel good. There are some tracks though that bring back the good ol' rocker feel, most notably the amazing 'Platinum Blonde Life' (this probably being the best track). Highlights include the looovly 'Intro', the club fest 'Hella Good', 'Platinum Blonde Life', and the dreamy 'Underneath It All'. Go. Go buy now! You wont regret it!

Interesting

Hella Good, Making Out, Detective, Underneath It All and Platinum Blonde Life are the standout tracks on this album. Very good and diverse record.

The Beginning of something New!

This is a far stretch from No Doubts previous albums and is really the stepping stone and launch of Gwen Stefani's solo career. Though not a favourite among die-hard No Doubt fans, its still respected as producing some mega hits like Hey Baby and the Neptunes penned Hella Good. The album still has ska and rock influences, but delves into a deeper reggae direction. Must downloads have to be Hella Good, Hey Baby, Making Out, Underneath It All, Don't Let Me Down, Running, In My Head and Rock Steady. This album is sure to reel in a new audience and gain No Doubt and Gwen Stefani massive exposure!

Biography

Formed: 1987 in Anaheim, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With the return of the punks in the mid-'90s came a resurgence of their slightly more commercial rivals, new wave bands. No Doubt found a niche as a new wave/ska band, on the strength of vocalist Gwen Stefani's persona -- alternately an embrace of little-girl-lost innocence and riot grrrl feminism -- exemplified on the band's break-out single, "Just a Girl." Formed in early 1987 as a ska band inspired by Madness, the lineup of No Doubt initially comprised John Spence, Gwen Stefani, and her brother...
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