There has been a load of hate flying at Bitchin' Gwen Stefani this week from the Popjustice boards, particularly in relation to her announcement that her next CD will be comprised of leftovers from the L.A.M.B. sessions. I have to speak up!
Hatin' on Gwen is a bit of revisionist history. For some reason, pop culture has stuck on the ubiquitous, zeitgeisty single "Hollaback Girls" - a song I proclaimed shit early on. I have warmed to it, but I do hate what it did to radio / MTV: it removed melody from modern hiphop pop, paving the way for the Timbaland resurgence and the arrival of producers like Swizz Beatz. Ironically, it was the last gasp of Pharell Williams who has been on the skids ever since.
BUT BUT BUT. If you actually go back and put on Gwen's album, you'll find that it is an outstanding pop record. "What You Waiting For", "Rich Girl", "Cool", "Danger Zone" (my fave), "Serious" and the New Order-ish "Real Thing"... those tracks alone make L.A.M.B. a remarkable pop album. I remember when the first single came out - I was ecstatic over that song. Not to mention the Tick Tock remix which predates "Hung Up." I kept running around town singing "Look at your watch now! You're still a super hot female!"
That was the period of time when Bitchin' Gwen was the Queen of XO's Musicquarium (now Middle Eight). Constant posts about her, with beautiful pictures..she must have done a photo shoot every morning (a la Xtuna now). And then... one day... I broke up with Gwen. I'd just, like, had enough! The vaguely racist Harajuku girls she toted with her like bags, the fake chola girl stuff of "Luxurious", the b-a-n-a-n-a-s cheerleader crap. Not to mention weak TV performances with large teacups and crinoline little girl dresses. It all seemed sort of infantile.
But Gwendolyn is a truly great pop star and one of the few who shifts units (no pun intended) in an age when pop music seems more diminished each month. I am a bit worried her next CD will be hijacked by Hollaback clone tracks. Her single with Pharrell on his CD is barely a b-side. There is cause for hope though: an insider on the Velvet Rope posted about visiting Dallas Austin's studio while Gwen was in, pre-LAMB release. They played him a track that he thought sounded like a number one, but the song never made it to the CD.
Mrs. Rossdale, I still have your digits. Do you still have my jacket? To quote Mr. Sumner, we'll be together again.