Gwen Stefani
This Is What the Truth Feels Like


4.5
superb

Review

by Zettel USER (47 Reviews)
April 3rd, 2016 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Well worth the wait.

Ten years is a long time to release a follow-up album. Even with only two solo albums, Gwen Stefani remained an important pop figure all these years and more than a few eagerly awaited her third solo work. Her 2014 single "Baby, Don't Lie" did not sound very promising, and apparently, she thought it too, and decided to restart the process for her third record. Then, her divorce happened, and with all the emotional turmoil that comes with it, she also found a new source for inspiration.

This Is What The Truth Feels Like (Truth for this review) is not what you would expect based on the first single "I Used To Love You". Stefani does not wallow in sorrow, pain or anger, and even when those themes are present in the record, she decides to present them in a very fun and light way. There are songs that make reference to her failed relationship but there are also references to her new-found love. It is from here she draws the strenght to smile and have fun. The result is not only surely cathartic for her but is also nicer on the listener, because Truth never lose sight of what it is and its intended audience: it is a pop record, after all.

Thematically and emotionally, Truth feels completely honest. It is relatable but never takes itself too seriously. This is all fine, but we are here for the music. Remarkably, after a ten year gap, she manages to deliver her best album yet. Her previous two albums, Love.Angel.Music.Baby and The Sweet Escape certainly had better singles and a stronger momentum; they also may have the energy and freshness on their side, but Truth is a much more polished work and has a clearer identity and purpose. In addition to her talent as a songwriter and performer, she chose her producers well, because even if the album is a constant reference to whatever musical trends are en vogue, they serve the album well. There is not a song here that feels like filler, even the 17 track extended editions of the album keep quality all the way through.

I can only laugh at the people who think Gwen Stefani is a washed-up artist. Truth is not a testament to musical innovation, sound design or vocal prowess, but reveals a clear understanding of what makes a great por record and possess a vitality and personality that many of her younger peers wish they could achieve some day. As it is, with This Is What The Truth Feels Like Stefani has released an early contender to pop album of the year, and it is her best record to date.



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user ratings (50)
2.4
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
LotusFlower
April 3rd 2016


12000 Comments


decent review. also i think stefani just sounds exhausted on this album, her vocals arent what they used to be.

Zettel
April 3rd 2016


661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"...i think stefani just sounds exhausted on this album, her vocals arent what they used to be.




I cannot fathom this thought. She does not give a stellar vocal performance, but exhausted? Well..

Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
April 3rd 2016


26604 Comments


album sucks some proper ass

Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
April 3rd 2016


26604 Comments


also you don't really describe the sound of this album at all in the review

Zettel
April 3rd 2016


661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Sinternet:



"also you don't really describe the sound of this album at all in the review"




It serves no purpose and it is a very boring thing to do.



@LPFTW:



I regard L.A.M.B as a classic album. Truth is better by a long shot, tho.

wtferrothorn
April 3rd 2016


5849 Comments


If describing the sound of this album is so boring to you, why did you review this? The main point of a music review is to paint a picture of what an album is like, and what it sounds like is a pretty important factor.

Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
April 3rd 2016


26604 Comments


'It serves no purpose and it is a very boring thing to do.'

guess you're not cut out for the reviewing business then

Zettel
April 3rd 2016


661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wtferrothorn:



At a basic level, yes. It is a very formulaic way of writing too. I see yourself have written quite a few reviews. Try writing without focusing on how the album sounds. Quite a few interesting angles open to you. It may happen that the review could be shitty (like mine, I admit), but at least you will not be so bored writing it.



I can get away with it in this case because:



a) You know what is happening in pop music nowadays, so you know what to expect from this record, but not so much.



b) You do not keep in touch with pop music, so you probably does not care what this sounds like anyways, so be surprised!

Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
April 3rd 2016


26604 Comments


considering the tag 'pop music' is used interchangeably to mean anything from Drake to Bastille to Katy Perry, you can't say 'you know what to expect' because pop is an extremely varied genre

unless you're going for a joke review (which i wouldn't suggest as 99% of people doing joke reviews aren't funny), you need to describe what it sounds like, you can't expect the reader to just automatically know what an album sounds like from as broad a term as pop

also for such a short review you spend way too long discussing context

'I can only laugh at the people who think Gwen Stefani is a washed-up artist. '

review would also be 10x better without this sentence

Zettel
April 3rd 2016


661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@LPFTW:



"...Being that you don't describe the album very well and the fact that I pretty much cringe at all of the singles when I heard them, I doubt this album would be worth my time"



In that case I have failed. But it seems to me that you have already decided that this album is not for you, so still I saved myself a couple of paragraphs ;-)

Zettel
April 3rd 2016


661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Sinternet:



"considering the tag 'pop music' is used interchangeably to mean anything from Drake to Bastille to Katy Perry, you can't say 'you know what to expect' because pop is an extremely varied genre



...unless you're going for a joke review (which i wouldn't suggest as 99% of people doing joke reviews aren't funny), you need to describe what it sounds like, you can't expect the reader to just automatically know what an album sounds like from as broad a term as pop"




If you need me to describe an album's sound, I admit I did something wrong, because an album's sound is a minor factor in determining its quality. If you wrote a review trying to explain why this album "sucks proper ass" would you be focusing in pop definitions and album's sounds?



"...'I can only laugh at the people who think Gwen Stefani is a washed-up artist. '





review would also be 10x better without this sentence"




That would guarantee a pos then? I do not want my approval rating drop lower than it already is ;-)

Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
April 3rd 2016


26604 Comments


> caring about approval ratings

'an album's sound is a minor factor in determining its quality'

fuckin lol'd

Cygnatti
April 4th 2016


36060 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

considering that music is simply an organized and artificial collection of sounds

a song/album's quality should ~99.99% be determined by how it sounds.

wtferrothorn
April 4th 2016


5849 Comments


It's like trying to critique a painting with your eyes shut.

Cygnatti
April 4th 2016


36060 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

what's being portrayed in this painting and the numerous styles that have been incorporated in it has almost no bearing on what makes this painting so incredible !

Zettel
April 4th 2016


661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cygnatti:



Beautiful thought right there. It supports my point very well, not so much Sinternet's; he is asking for something much simpler than that.



This discussion is not completely wasted. It shows a valuable lesson for aspiring reviewers, take notes:



Please include words like Hip-Hop. EDM, Synth-Pop, Trip-Hop, Dancehall, Trap or any other descriptor that suits any track(s) or album, in order to completely avoid threads like these. This way we can now focus on how much the albums sucks or is awesome. This does not cover the case of messing up the style or genre, which would generate a separate discussion.

wtferrothorn
April 4th 2016


5849 Comments


But even that doesn't work too well as a descriptor, as those genres are incredibly broad. For example, If you described a song as sounding like Hip Hop, that could mean anything from sounding like A Tribe Called Quest or Insane Clown Posse.

Zettel
April 4th 2016


661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wtferrothorn:



Now we are in position to better understand each other, do you see that? Using your painting example, you will find people who would rather focus on the color choices and its infinite tones instead of assessing if the painter succeeded in its effect.



It is indifferent to me if Stefani chose Hip-Hop or Drum N Bass as a vehicle to express a certain feeling or intention. It may be of interest in some degree, but I care for the result. It is, of course, up to you if you agree with me in my judgment, but do you really need me expand on why I find "Red Flag" such a fun track, while other think it is rather pedestrian, just based on how it sounds? I hope you catch my spin.



There is a possibility my review is indeed bad, but not just because I did not describe the record's sound. I have written reviews in which I do not provide any background on the artist, even reviews in which I do not know very well the musical genre in question. Does that also equal a bad review? Perhaps...but I also write for fun, and at the very least, I am honest with my reader. I really think this is a fantastic record, if that is not enough for you or anyone else... fair enough.







Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
April 4th 2016


26604 Comments


I'm not asking for anything I'm just giving you the advice that your review would be better if you actually said what it sounded like. And that doesn't mean name-dropping whatever broad genres it fits into, it means describing the tempo, the rhythm, the beat, the melodies etc., and how they make you and the reader feel.

Zettel
April 4th 2016


661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sinternet:



Ok. We will leave at that. I appreciate the time you have taken to read my review and comment





LPFTW:



Looking forward to read it. I was not aware you write reviews too.



EDIT: I see we agree on Radiohead's Kid A. There is hope!



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