You and me, we used to be together. Every day, together, always… of course I’m referring to the blissful marriage between my teenage years and the ska/punk/pop musical stylings of No Doubt. I remember it like it was yesterday: clutching the Tragic Kingdom album in my confused, lovelorn little hands (the subject of said affections changed weekly), and before I knew it, I was obsessed. Who were these rambunctious Orange County kids with their candid lyrics about first loves and the difficulties of being “just a girl”?
I also had a new ladybird to look up to, a seemingly tough chick who could not only hang with the “boys,” but exert her femininity at the same time. I’d yet to witness a platinum blonde siren exude such force – save for the one and only Debbie Harry – and I was ecstatic when Gwen Stefani burst on the scene. No Doubt resonated with me because, quite simply, they’re good, clean fun. They’re sincere vs. condescending, empowering when I needed a confidence boost and at the end of the day, they’re actually good friends! They spoke to my awkward, pubescent self, and despite being a pale Irish girl with weak upper body strength and a trace of baby fat still gracing my belly (which, let’s be honest, is one partnership I’m continuously trying to put an end to), I dreamed of the day – as superficial as it sounds – when I could rock a bare midriff exposing tank top, a la Gwen. After all, I spent my teen years in a very small town in Oregon where the bulk of my excitement came from JANE magazine, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and MTV when, wait for it, they still played music videos.
Which is why I’m beyond stoked that after an 11-year hiatus, No Doubt is finally back with their new album, Push and Shove, out September 25th. Their first single, “Settle Down,” is a high-energy jam with an equally infectious music video. The crew circled back to their earlier artistic roots and hired longtime collaborator Sophie Muller to direct. It’s a brightly colored, touching homage to the band reuniting, opening with the gang independently driving from their current location in life and meeting up with each other to hug it out before they rock it out.
No Doubt has this magical way of bringing me right back to where I was when I first heard them: an innocent teenager with a predilection for sneaking into my mother’s makeup drawer and trying on all of her lipsticks, combined with the simple desire to dance my face off with my best friends. If only everything in life were that easy. I may still be a way’s away from rocking my bare midriff, but in the meantime, I suppose I should put a little more effort into the 50 pushups I suffer through during Bar Method class.
Like Stefani, I may be just a girl, but in the process of figuring out my place in this crazy thing called life, I’m happily adopting her latest mantra in “Settle Down”: “I’m a rough and tough, and nothing’s gonna knock this girl down!”
Welcome back, No Doubt – we’ve missed you!
Image by El Mac via ArrestedMotion