Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past. So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.
Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits. Today, we holla back at Gwen Stefani’s 2004 debut album ‘Love. Angel. Music. Baby’…
After much success with co-‘Tragic Kingdom’ creators No Doubt, 2003 brought with it the band’s lead singer Gwen Stefani’s first hand at a solo outing.
The success as feature artist for the 2001 hit ‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’ (with rapstress Eve) saw Stefani – under the urging of many in her camp – step out to establish her own identity beyond the punk/ska decorated offerings of the band that brought her to fame.
‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’
With the assembly of noted hitmakers Linda Perry, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Pharrell Williams, and many more, Stefani crafted ‘Love. Angel. Music. Baby.’. Led by the eccentric, Japanese inspired tune “What You Waiting For?”…
The singer burst onto the scene with her witty eccentricities in tow – bringing to school what would be later coined ‘EDM’. The song was said to be chosen as lead single as it described the push from those close to the singer to pursue a solo career. With its adventurous ‘Alice In Wonderland’ references in its accompanying visual, ‘What You Waiting For’ acted as a ringing introduction to the fashionista’s solo offerings – a noted departure of sorts from her No Doubt sound.
And, despite barely cracking the top 50 of the Hot 100, it’s safe to say the buzz brewed from it and accompanying performances turned the public onto Stefani the solo star.
To keep momentum afloat, the singer tapped her ‘Let Me Blow Your Mind’ co-star for a redo of chart reign. Enter ‘Rich Girl’…
Unlike its predecessor, the song quickly shot to the top of Billboard charts – peaking in the tally’s top 10. But, while it was clear to see that fans were warming up to Stefani, no one could’ve predicted the heat coming from her next release.
The Urban-flavoured “Hollaback Girl”….
The song became a massive success and became Stefani’s signature solo hit. Becoming the first single to ever sell one million digital downloads, the tune also held the record for most US radio airplays in one week at the time of its release.
Clocking in four weeks at number one, it was apparent pop’s newest princess had arrived…
‘HollaBack Girl’ (live)
In a way reminiscent of Blondie’s ‘Rapture’ in the 80s, Urban and pop audiences embraced Stefani’s fusion of her traditional pop/rock offerings with more rhythmic stylings.
The tune, with its Urban-tinged follow-up ‘Luxurious‘ (featuring Slim Thug) and mid-tempo pop gem ‘Cool’ helped ‘L.A.M.B.’ sell a cool 7 million worldwide.
To accompany its commercial acclaim, the following two years’ Grammy Awards saw the leading lady nominated for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
The hip hop-fused offerings of successors Fergie and Nelly Furtado instantly drew comparisons to Stefani who had clearly set the bar.
And, while we still give in to the guilty pleasured urge to rock out to ‘Holla Back Girl’, we know we may never get another ‘L.A.M.B.’ coloured album as Stefani has made it clear that she never wants to go the solo route.
Until she changes her mind, we’ll keep jamming its tunes here at TGJ HQ.