Gwen Stefani? She does it all.
Rising to fame as the frontwoman of the punk/ska band No Doubt; the Anaheim-born entertainer quickly propelled to superstardom after the release of Tragic Kingdom, their breakthrough album that is certified diamond for sales of over 10 million in the US alone. No Doubt continued to enjoy huge success around the world before going on hiatus in 2004. That same year, Stefani embarked on a solo career and launched her own clothing line L.A.M.B., an acronym for Love. Angel. Music. Baby., the title of her debut album.
During the years that followed, Gwen balanced her music career while building a huge empire for herself. Outside of her fashion labels, she released a collection of perfumes, dolls, eyewear, and makeup, and headlined her own Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood, “Just A Girl.”
Stefani has been embraced as a musical legend with three decades of career. Since 2014, she has been lending her vast knowledge and experience by serving as a coach to the contestants on NBC’s The Voice. For Season 24, which is set to premiere on September 25, she will return to the show and sit in her red chair alongside Niall Horan, John Legend, and Reba McEntire.
With a back catalog stacked with memorable material, here are some of Stefani’s most overlooked tunes from her solo career.
“Early Winter” is Gwen Stefani’s most underrated single. Period point blank. That is not up for discussion. No stranger to writing an emotional ballad, Stefani teamed up with Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley to write the soft-rock masterpiece. Recorded in London in 2006, “Early Winter” served as the final single from Stefani’s second studio album, The Sweet Escape. While it may have only received a limited release across Europe, the song boasted Stefani’s vocal ability and highlighted her strength as a songwriter. And with the stunning music video directed by Sophie Muller and the song produced by Nelle Hooper, it’s needless to say that “Early Winter” was always destined to be a masterpiece.
“Where Would I Be?”
Let’s get something straight here. Gwen Stefani’s third album, This Is What The Truth Feels Like, is a pretty overlooked project overall. Despite reaching the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard 200, the LP, which was her first solo album in 10 years, didn’t receive the attention and promotion it deserved from her label. Filled with bangers, “Where Would I Be?” is an obvious standout. Reminiscent of her early No Doubt material, the reggae-infused track is a party anthem that should have been sent to radio and become a smash.
“Long Way To Go”
Sitting at the bottom of the tracklisting for Love. Angel. Music. Baby., Gwen Stefani’s soulful duet with Andre 3000 is often pushed aside for sonically sounding completely separate from the other more carefree material. Rarely one to ever get political, Stefani and Andre sing about race relations on the most experimental offering from her solo debut. Even though it’s not an obvious go-to, it’s still an important song.
“4 in the Morning”
There is nothing better than when Gwen Stefani is in her feelings. On The Sweet Escape’s third single, “4 in the Morning,” she collaborated with No Doubt’s bassist Tony Kanal to deliver a timeless synthy, 80s-inspired ballad. The song may not have managed to reach the same success as her previous slow jams, and because of that, it’s considered a gem amongst her classics.
“Baby Don’t Lie”
“Baby Don’t Lie” was the first new solo material from Gwen Stefani in eight years and what a time that was for fans. Blending her signature sound of reggae and pop, the well-rounded, catchy song deserved to be a global smash, but unfortunately wasn’t. To accompany the colorful tune was another Sophie Muller-directed music video that matched its energy.
This is quite a bold statement but “Wonderful Life” might be Gwen Stefani’s best album cut, ever. Serving as the final track on The Sweet Escape, an album that quite frankly is rather bonkers and all over the place, Stefani ends the record on a sentimental note. With a little help from Linda Perry, Nellee Hooper, and Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore, “Wonderful Life” is a total masterpiece and nothing short of a 10/10. Written about her first love from ninth grade, the ‘80s-driven synth-ballad is Stefani’s magical Renaissance.
Gwen Stefani’s decision to include “Getting Warmer” on the deluxe edition of This Is What The Truth Feels Like was a CHOICE. That’s all that needs to be said.
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