CD Review: Gwen Stefani

The Sweet Escape

By Ashley Emert

“Disarmingly catchy” is the best phrase I can think of to describe The Sweet Escape. As much as the little music elitist in me wanted to hate it (In fact, when I was assigned the review, I said “Whomever told Gwen Stefani that she could leave No Doubt should definitely be fired.”), I mostly just found myself bobbing my head along with the beats. It reminded me of the scene from In and Out when Kevin Kline is dancing and trying to repress his movements — that was me listening to the new Gwen Stefani album.

By far, my favorite track is the title track. With a very Motown-esque feel, it makes me want to sway and clap along to it. Akon collaborated with Stefani on the song and lends a nicely contrasting background vocal during the chorus.

My second favorite song is “Early Winter.” It sort of has an ’80s-techno tinge to it, which I am perfectly okay with. The piano accompaniment in the background is a nice touch, and it’s not so fast that anyone will be breaking out their light-sticks to rave to it.

While I thoroughly enjoy a few of the songs, there are a few that I could live without. The foremost of these is “Breakin’ Up.” She’s talking about breaking up relationship-wise, but is using some kind of analogy with losing service on her cell phone. This is one of those songs that you know you’ll be listening to five years down the road and think, “Wow, how dated — that is so 2006.”

The song that mostly just confused me was “Yummy.” In the chorus, she sings, “I know you’ve been waiting / But I’ve been off making babies / And like a chef making donuts and pastries / It’s time to make you sweat.” My friend explained to me that maybe she’s referring to having a “bun in the oven,” but it still weirds me out, especially since the baby part is paired with the sound of a baby crying.

Something that interested me about this album is the fact that Tony Kanal, her former No Doubt bandmate, co-wrote and produced three of the songs. Among those is “Don’t Get it Twisted,” which also sort of confused me when she sings to a typical circus tune in the beginning of the chorus. Creepy? Yes. Was there a point to it? I really don’t know.

As much as I hate to say it, “Wind It Up” grew on me rather quickly. I felt like a superhero that found her archenemy and was strangely drawn to them — “must … not … give in!” Gwen Stefani has done it again, with an album of disarmingly catchy songs and dance beats.

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