Hey, so here is something you may be unaware of. Did you know that No Doubt – the band that made Gwen Stefani famous enough that she was allowed to have a solo career and inflict “Hollaback Girl” on an unsuspecting world – had an album out before Tragic Kingdom, the album that put them on the map with hit single “Don’t Speak”?
I’m not sure if most people know this. And I’ll be honest: I kind of wish I didn’t know this. The groups self-titled debut is an exercise in how far you can take ska music before the listener wants to stab themselves in their own ears. (The answer is about four songs.)
The mix is oddly trebly, with Stefani’s voice especially grating at times. And the music itself is just … ugh. I guess you’d call it ska; it sounds like an unholy mashup of reggae, funk, big band and punk to me. I guess that’s what ska is though; punk with a horn section.
There is nothing here that is as enjoyable or catchy as the majority of Tragic Kingdom; its actually kind of hard to believe the No Doubt on this debut is the same one who wrote “Just A Girl” and “Don’t Speak”. Do not recommend.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.