Album Review: No Doubt, “Rock Steady” (2001)

By the time No Doubt had released Rock Steady in 2001, I already considered myself a fan. I owned Tragic Kingdom, and I loved the songs on Return Of Saturn. I also really liked all the people in the band (for those who don’t know, Gwen Stefani provides lead vocals, Tony Kanal is the bass guitarist and keyboardist, Tom Dumont also plays keyboard and guitar, and Adrian Young plays drums). So, I bought the album right after it came out.

No Doubt has really matured over the years, and you can see it on this album. They’ve gotten their signature sound down (which is a mix of ska, rock, and at times, reggee), and Stefani, Kanal, and Dumont take part in writing every song on the album. Rock Steady is a great album from No Doubt, and while not every song on the album is a favorite, the few that aren’t, don’t really suck and that goes a long way.

The album starts off with a short intro, which consists of the chorus from the title track, Rock Steady. I’d say it’s unneeded, but I guess it helps to set the mood of the album.

The Neptunes co-wrote upbeat dance track, Hella Good. I personally love this song. The beat is just so awesome, and I love listening to Stefani’s voice. The chorus is also really catchy. Hey Baby was the first single off the album (the music video is also included as an Enhanced CD extra). The song is about Stefani’s experience with some of the posers that she and the guys occasionally meet backstage. This song is pretty cool (I love the beat!), but the chorus gets a little repetitive after a while. Reggee rapper, Bounty Killer, adds a needed ‘extra touch’ to the song.

Making Out is one of my favorite songs off the album. I wished it could’ve been a single. Anyway, this song is very upbeat, and I love the beat and the clapping in the background. This song has a whole new age feel to it, thanks to producer William Orbit (He’s also worked with Madonna on her Ray Of Light album, and Pink.) Underneath It All was terribly over-played, and now I don’t care for it. I definitely don’t hate this song, but I rarely listen to it, because it was released as a single, and every time I turned on the radio, or MTV, or VH1, there it was. I didn’t like the song much to begin with (I always thought it was a bit too poppy), but now I usually skip it.

Detective is another one of my favorites off the album. No Doubt co-produced this track about a cheating lover, and, again, it’s the beat and chorus that I love here. Don’t Let Me Down is one of the boring tracks that I mentioned earlier. It’s a slower song, and reminds me of another No Doubt song, but I can’t place which one, exactly. The chorus is OK, but the rest of the song is pretty forgettable. For some reason, I find Stefani’s voice a little annoying in this song, as well.

Start The Fire is one of the reggae-inspired tracks on the album. I’m not really a fan of reggae music, but I do like this song. It’s fun to sing along with Stefani during the chorus, and the song has an awesome melody. Running was the last single released off the album. This is a slower song, that’s also a bit sad. It doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the album, but I like it. The music video (which is comprised of home video footage of the band and old pictures of them from when they first started out) also made me like it more. Producer, Nellee Hooper (who happened to produce quite a few songs on this album) does a great job with In My Head. The music is bouncy and upbeat, and the lyrics are bit more interesting here.

I love the chords at the beginning of Platinum Blonde Life, and that’s about all I really like. It’s pretty boring, and I’m not even sure what it’s about, because I never sat down and really listened to the song. I do, however, enjoy the chorus, but I usually don’t bother listening to the whole track just to get to the chorus.

Waiting Room is my favorite track on the album. One of my all-time favorite artists, Prince, co-wrote and produced this track, so I knew I’d love it before I even heard it. The sound is pretty unique- I can best describe it as a mix between R&B and rock. The beat is awesome, and Prince provides background vocals, which is really cool. Stefani sings about waiting around for her lover to make a move, and the lyrics are a bit more fresh on this track, then they are in previous songs.

The title track and final track off the album, Rock Steady, is pretty decent. The song’s about a relationship that’s going strong, despite various rough spots. The sound’s a bit mellow, which I like, and it’s a good end to the album.

I really love Rock Steady. No Doubt is one of my favourite bands, and this album is every reason why: awesome songs, great vocals from Stefani, terrific musicianship from the rest of the band and great lyrics.

Rating: 200px-4_stars.svg

Track List
1. Intro
2. Hella Good
3. Hey Baby – (featuring Bounty Killer)
4. Making Out
5. Underneath It All – (featuring Lady Saw)
6. Detective
7. Don’t Let Me Down
8. Start the Fire
9. Running
10. In My Head
11. Platinum Blonde Life
12. Waiting Room
13. Rock Steady


*This is a brittpinkie “classic” review. I have edited this review for content and formatting, though retained my original opinion of the product.


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