January 3rd, 2005

Gwen Stefani-Love Angel Music Baby (music review)

Gwen Stefani is famously just a girl -- and not just in a song she sang with No Doubt, her once and future band. During a dozen years as pop's Valley girl next door, she's carved out a reputation as a humble Cinderella who somehow keeps hitting the lotto -- whether it's with hits, boyfriends, or Vogue covers. The truth, of course, is that there's ambition bigger than Orange County beneath that platinum blonde dome, and it's the collision of image with appetite that makes her solo CD Love Angel Music Baby an only sometime thing. Her label has poured a lot of money and expectation into L.A.M.B., having hired a roster of A-list producers that includes Nellee Hooper, Dr.Dre, André 3000, the Neptunes, Dallas Austin and Terry Lewis&Jimmy Jam. There aren't any "album tracks" here; this is meant to be a collection of hits, every one swinging for the fences. Sometimes that works well: "Bubble Pop Electri," one of two collaborations with André 3000, is part '50s teenage romance and part electro-froth. The first single, "What Are You Waiting For," is an irresistible '80s groove that could single-handedly trigger the Missing Persons revival.
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