Review Summary: Hella bad
It’s never a good sign when halfway through the first song somebody remarks “Is this STILL the same song?” It’s unfortunate, but this is what No Doubt have driven people to. Stefani, sounding like a drugged-up hybrid of Neneh Cherry and the woman who sang on that awful “Coco Jambo” song, is dead set on marring every song with her overbearing vocals and worryingly generic lyrics.
Already a disciple of Madonna, Stefani appears determined to follow HRH Madge’s career path to the bitter end; awful late-period releases with about as much soul as a Scientology convention. Indeed, on the unexciting, reverb-laden drawl of “Easy” the whispered backing vocals sound just like “I’m Madonna, I’m Madonna, I’m Madonna.” It’s weird and it’s very unwelcome.
So what’s on offer here? The pop sounds so quickly pushed into the spotlight on “Rocksteady” are present once more, but have devolved into vapid, spud-you-like nonsense. “Undone” is a one mile per hour dirge that soon becomes as prophesised. “Push and Shove” is little else than a sub-reggae nightmare with guest vocals from Busy Signal and Major Lazer, which come across as nothing more than attempts to appeal to a certain demographic.
Push and Shove
has been brought to life by the help of no less four producers and eight songwriters (somehow including former Eurythmic Dave Stewart); a sure sign in such circles that there is a lack of ideas and cohesion. The album as a whole does little to answer the question as to whether this is a genuine, long-term comeback or a cheap cash-in to alleviate the fear of the bank manager’s for those involved.
The very elements that made No Doubt popular in the first place have disappeared. Gone is the righteous anger, energy and commentary behind “Just A Girl.” Gone is the retelling of a journey through the emotional mangle that is “Don’t Speak.” Instead, they have sought oblivion and summarily found it. This isn’t a rant against a group considered to have “sold out.” It’s not even an issue; bands are free to do what they want with their sound. What grates is the absolute lack of any real definition, unique characteristics or anything resembling fun. This is merely the soundtrack to a thousand under-age girls getting knocked up in nightclub toilets by men who are older than they look.