Many Woah’s and Warm Listens: No Doubt’s Push and Shove

by Matthew Downes

Most major label album releases start top heavy with singles.  Let’s face it, writing, producing and releasing an album is a dying art form.  The public is calling for short and sweet singles radio.  With a plethora of entertainment choices at our disposal, its imperative to grab a potential fan in under 15 seconds with a hook that they’ll remember.  If your hook is great you’ll get millions of people supporting you going “Hey man you should listen to this” or in 2012 you might hear someone say “Do you have Spotify?  I want to share a track with you”.  These real-life shares are what breaks bands.  Its no different for any band of any size.  “Settle Down” is the first track on Push and Shove [Interscope] (Out 9/25 worldwide), it has plenty of hooks and stretches to almost 6 minutes!  No Doubt is back and they’re conforming to one thing:  They want you to remember this entire album, not just one single.

I’ll have to admit that “Settle Down” is not one of my favorite songs.  In fact, I dismissed it as just another great job of marketing combined with the mainstream train No Doubt has been driving for almost 20 years.  “Looking Hot” might be a single as well, a dance hall crasher with a heavily produced vocal over the chorus, again not one of my favorite tracks on the album, although I can hear this song in rotation on Top 40 radio.

The meat of the record is where I’m left completely shocked.  Starting with “One More Summer” the album starts to really come together.  Another track set for multiple remixes with a soaring chorus calling for “One more summer, one more weekend”.  Gwen Stefani’s “Ohs” transition the chorus to feeling like you’re in the car driving right towards the beach.  Music can be written to TRY and take you to these places, but when an artist can actually make you feel like its happening its a whole other experience. The bridge crescendos to a “year after year” desire to have one more summer, one more weekend with your friends, family and loved ones.

The title track “Push and Shove” is destined for radio.  It has all of the components of a successful No Doubt song.  Vocally stacked Gwen, a Reggae verse, horns and a chorus that relates to everyone lyrically.

I worked with an artist a few years back that recorded their album in NRG studios in North Hollywood and if memory serves me right Tragic Kingdom was recorded in this same studio; at last check they had over 15,000,000 albums sold.  For three weeks I walked past that album and dreamed how awesome of a cycle that would’ve been to be a part of.  “Don’t Speak” stood in the center, in my opinion, and “Easy” on Push and Shove is the standout track.  Enough “woahs” on this track for a lifetime and if you find yourself humming it in the shower like I did, maybe you’ll understand why No Doubt are very, very good at their craft.

Curiously the rest of the record is very cross-over format friendly.  You can hear songs like “Dreaming The Same Dream” on AAA or even adult contemporary radio.  The team behind this band is one of the best in the world and I’m very curious of their release schedule.  Will this album go 5 singles deep?  Will they tour out for two years and be one of the few bands that get the red carpet to dominate radio?

Push and Shove sticks to the bands roots, of fun-inspired pop-ska-rock.  Their music yearns for endless warm days, feeling good and sharing those experiences with people you love or have yet to tell you love.  Anything that can take us to those places should be appreciated.  Regardless of how you feel about No Doubt and their return, they’re furiously splashing the tiny lake of mainstream music.  This is the cream of the crop in commercial music and will wander up being one of the most important albums of 2012.

ktc mgmt

TAGS: Yes Belief, Interscope, Major Lazer, Youth and Happiness, Mark Stent, 11 year hiatus, 6 nights at the Gibson