Tuesday, December 05, 2006
One yodled over the cuckoo's nest
Case in point: Lead single "Wind It Up", championed by frat girls coast to coast who've had one too many shots of Jagrmeister and should be in a taxi on their way to bed but instead choose to channel their inner Coyote Ugly for passed out bar patrons instead. As radio singles go, it's an absurd-sounding concoction that lederhosens to the brink of utter ridiculousness, but there's something almost admirable about this "throw the wackiest shit on the wall and let's see if it sticks" approach. I mean, let's be real...this is limburger cheese, not War & Peace. It takes a certain sort of quirky finesse to mine show tunes for inspiration, first with Fiddler On The Roof and now in full Swiss Miss glory with The Sound of Music. What's next? West Side Story? Unlike most singers, Stefani aims to please with style over sex appeal and oddity reigns supreme. Early Winter is probably the closest to her past rumblings with No Doubt, scaling above indie-rock, college radio circa '88 to epic power ballad heights with an assist from co-writer, Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley. But you'd better off advised to fast forward through filler like Orange County Girl, in which the SoCal sweetheart gets all Jenny From The Block to prove "a lot of things have changed but I'm mostly the same." Uh huh.
Listening too closely will only force you to confront lyrics that were obviously jotted down in her DayTimer instead of her diary en route to the Beat Factory and never looked at again ("Don't know what I'm doing back in the studio/Getting greedy cause he said he had another sick flow/So I had to hollaback cause I didn't get enough/Still feel the Wonderland, Alice and the tick tock"). But if you just slip on your tortoiseshell J.Lo sunglasses, pour yourself a Smirnoff Twisted and get lost in the beats, The Sweet Escape delivers on its name and continues in Stefani's proud tradition of being caught in the middle between the vanguard and the superficial. Few mainstream artists can hope to produce an album as effortlessly eccentric as this, so here's to hoping that the next screwball chapter is just around the bend.
Download this: Early Winter, Now That You Got It, Yummy, 4 In The Morning, Fluorescent, U Started It, Don't Get It Twisted
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