Flying (Semi) Solo
Gwen Stefani set out to make a dance record that would invade sound lobes and nest in the brains of anyone who heard it â€šÃ„Ã¬ just like the music of her youth. With the help of many talented friends she succeeded in making Love.Angel.Music.Baby. a modern album with a retro feel. Stefani is quick to call her first solo album a â€šÃ„Ãºcollaboration project.â€šÃ„Ã¹ She wisely gives credit to the producers and guest stars that help make this album as infectious as it is. The album has plenty of self-promotion, but Stefani does pay tribute to those she admires â€šÃ„Ã¬ especially the stylish Harajuku girls of Japan.
The difference between the truly great tracks and the lacking ones is wide â€šÃ„Ã¬ giving the album an uneven feel. Stefani has been candid about which collaborators pushed her to her limits â€šÃ„Ã¬ and it shows in the quality of the music.
The strongest tracks come courtesy of the Neptunes and Andre 3000â€šÃ„Ã´s alter-personality – Johnny Vulture. The heavy stepping beat of â€šÃ„ÃºHollaback Girlâ€šÃ„Ã¹ has attitude all over it. Some of the lyrical content is simple â€šÃ„Ã¬ but how serious does anyone want to get on the dance floor?
The production on â€šÃ„ÃºBubble Pop Electricâ€šÃ„Ã¹ perfectly juxtaposes Gwenâ€šÃ„Ã´s anticipation for her upcoming date with what sounds like witches brew bubbling over with electricity.
Stefani gets repetitive when she sings about her husband and how perfect their love is on â€šÃ„ÃºCrash,â€šÃ„Ã¹ â€šÃ„ÃºThe Real Thing,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºSerious.â€šÃ„Ã¹ But just like Kylie Minogueâ€šÃ„Ã´s â€šÃ„ÃºFeverâ€šÃ„Ã¹ this becomes less important when the beats are hearty. In its strongest moments Love.Angel.Music.Baby. is exactly what Stefani promised it would be – and makes the disc worth a listen.