Of all the female pop singers out there now, the one who I find it easiest to root for Gwen Stefani. I’ve never been a huge fan of No Doubt, but Gwen’s last record I found kind of irresistible – she appeals to that part of me that loved AM radio when I was but a small lad in the 70’s, before I knew that it wasn’t cool to like that kind of stuff. Plus, it’s obvious that she works her ass off, and despite her success, she carries herself with a real air of humility.
I got an advance of Gwen’s new album, The Sweet Escape, and I’ve found myself getting more and more into it over the last few days – it’s an extremely well crafted pop record, and if the Neptunes produced tracks make you think that their style might be turning into formula, it doesn’t make the songs any less resistible.
The song I’ve found myself going back to most often is a mid-tempo number called “Early Winter.” Produced by Nellee Hooper and co-written with Tim Rice-Oxley of Keane, it’s a mid-tempo track that begins as a U2 homage (check out the digital delay on the guitar and bass rumble – it’s right out of the U2 playbook circa 1985-1987), but despite it’s derivativeness, the song becomes something more.
Download: "Early Winter"
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