Gwen Stefani
The Sweet Escape


2.5
average

Review

by Amanda Murray STAFF
December 29th, 2006 | 63 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ban Gwen Stefani from accessing any post-1987 albums for best results next go around. For now, just skip half this record for a sample of what could be.

Don't be dissuaded. "Wind it Up" was not selected as a lead single because it displayed any musical acuity superior to the other songs on The Sweet Escape, nor because it best functioned as a summation of the record, nor, believe it or not, as an intentional radio-led continuation of her Broadway butchering debuted on theFiddler on the Roof take-off "If I Were a Rich Man". Instead, "Wind It Up" most facilitated a video filled with random bullshit. That's it. Give "Wind It Up" its due credit then - that it is more random-bullshit-friendly than "Breakin' Up" and "Yummy" is an accomplishment in and of itself.

The Sweet Escape is really an album for everyone. Half appeals to those who like stilted club pop performed with a quarter of the charm and credibility of contemporaries (and that's including Fergie); the other half appeals to people who are glad their chosen selection of songs isn't as bad as the former category.

"Now That You Got it" robs Beyonce's "Ring the Alarm" so heavily I'd make a reference to the siren in the background if I tended to the easy joke. Stefani's take on Jay-Z's refrain on the other hand - that's inimitable. I can't wait to hear the phone break-up ode "Breakin' Up" (someone call Paul Heaton, how's that for a play on words?) on ringtones for the next decade. "Orange County Girl" is both horrifyingly bad and alarmingly appealing - I'll give her a pass on that one and accredit any appeal to my admitted lack of taste.

But if the best songs aren't when she's aping Fergie, Beyonce, Ciara, or Julie Andrews (suprisingly!), they are when she's imitating other popular artists - only twenty years dated, or more. "The Sweet Escape" strikes as a modernised Brian Wilson, while "Wonderful Life" expertly channels Depeche Mode. "4 in the Morning" recalls a "Crazy For You"-era Madonna. Somehow, "Fluorescent" rings of "Locomotion"-era Kylie Minogue. Clearly, as a solo artist, Gwen Stefani is a born imitator. Problem is she needs a lesson in discretion; she can handle aping her new wave heroes, but needs to stay a mandated distance from modern musical trends.

"4 in the Morning" and "Early Winter" are pure Stefani - and understandably, they are far superior to any of her attempts at mimicking other artists. It's frustrating that Stefani can't run with her strengths and instead insists on compiling awkwardly incongruous songs, resulting in a mishmash of cyclopean proportions that disappoints admirers of both her facades.

Best course of action, then? Delete all but "The Sweet Escape", "Early Winter", "4 in the Morning" and put "Wonderful Life" on endless repeat. Even if Stefani will still find a way to work Mongolian hesychasts into the videos.



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user ratings (124)
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2.4
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
morrissey
Moderator
December 30th 2006


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This is the shortest review I've ever done. It isn't mean to be an in-depth analysis of the record just a quick comment so take it as such.

Eliminator
December 30th 2006


2067 Comments


wrong review

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I agree with the review. Early Winter and Wonderful Life are the only songs on this I really do like.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2006


2682 Comments


Way to persevere, Mozzy.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 30th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Good stuff as always. The review, not the album. Gwen Stefani sucks.

Eliminator
December 30th 2006


2067 Comments


No she doesn't.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2006


17920 Comments


cover art is atrocious

Tyler
Emeritus
December 30th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I repeat: Gwen Stefani sucks.

JohnXDoesn't
December 30th 2006


1282 Comments


sweet :D

Eliminator
December 30th 2006


2067 Comments


[quote=kkkokaine]I repeat: Gwen Stefani sucks.[/quote]

WANNA THROW DOWN????

PURE FUCKING ANGRY ARYAN POWER

Neoteric
December 30th 2006


3243 Comments


This is the shortest review I've ever done.
http://www.sputnikmusic.com/album.php?albumid=1380

>->

This Message Edited On 12.30.06

metallicaman8
December 30th 2006


4677 Comments


Review more.

Pos'd

JumpTheF**kUp
December 30th 2006


2710 Comments


Short and to the point.
Sweeet review.

Kyle
December 30th 2006


667 Comments


Oooo a short Moz review, nice

Havn't heard this yet, but I kinda liked the first one at times.

The Jungler
December 30th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I kind of figured that this would suck, mainly based on the cover art. I don't really dislike Wind it Up as much as everyone else does, it seems. I think I've also heard 4 in the Morning but I can't remember much of it.
Cool review, I didn't expect it to come this soon.

MrKite
December 30th 2006


5020 Comments


Really good review. Short and sweet.
But, yeah, the album art is horrible.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2006


15740 Comments


"Wind it Up" would have been better without the yodeling.

The review would have been better if... Nope this is pretty damn good.

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

Zebra
Moderator
December 30th 2006


2647 Comments


This was a great review. I actually prefer it to some of your extremely lengthy ones.
I'm actually listening to No Doubts debut album right now and it's ace. Unfortunately I have no motivation to check this out since her last album wasn't to hot and "Wind It Up" is awful.

radianteclipse
December 30th 2006


397 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

It's hard to be quirky like this without sucking. She did it on the first album and it was an enjoyable ride. Now I don't know what the hell she is trying to pull. Aside from maybe one or two tracks this album is god-awful.

La Revolucion
December 30th 2006


1060 Comments


I've only heard "Wind It Up" and it's awful. Great review.



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