on April 14, 2000
Absolutely awesome! This CD hasn't left my CD player since I bought it! The band has branched out from their California ska roots to new and different sounds, and the results are great. Several of the songs, such as "Bathwater"(my favorite track), "Artificial Sweetener" and "Comforting Lie", are standouts that should get some radio airplay. If you're missing the old No Doubt, "New" and "Staring Problem", which is another fun, floor-shaking ska rythym that will remind you of "Spiderwebs", are included. Gwen's voice has matured as well, and her lyrics are creative, emotional, and flow well. This isn't the "Tragic Kingdom", but "Saturn" isn't a bad place to be.
on April 20, 2000
I've read most of these reviews and it seems that people are comparing "Return of Saturn" to No Doubt's other albums - especially Tragic Kingdom. Of course I loved TK, and I bought "Return" on its release date. I have to admit I was mildly disappointed at first to hear so many ballads, but hey, doesn't a band have the freedom to write what they want? They obviously can't please everyone, but that's okay cause I am extremely happy with "Return" and it just gets better every time I listen to it. They really have out-done themselves and they are amazing. The songs on this album are very diverse. From songs like Ex-Girlfriend and Bathwater to ballads like Simple Kind of Life and Magic's in the Makeup. I would have bought the CD anyway, even without Ex-Girlfriend turning into such a hit, and would not have been dissappointed because I think there are other songs that are even better. My favorites are Bathwater, New, Simple Kind of Life, and Home Now(DON'T PASS THIS TRACK UP!). There are a few different CDs with bonus tracks, mine has "Leftovers," which is awesome. I would recommend Return of Saturn to fans and non-fans alike. If you don't like it immediately, I suggest you give it some time, you won't be dissappointed. It will quickly grow on you and become one of your favorites. Just don't make the mistake of comparing it to earlier No Doubt or the other sounds out there now. This one is unique, and I love it. NO DOUBT FOREVER!
on April 24, 2000
After 5 years since their last studio album, Tragic Kingdom, No Doubt finally released their much-anticipated follow-up, Return Of Saturn; a collection of 14 songs (possible a hidden track, depending on which one you purchased). TO BE HONEST, at first listen it doesn't catch your attention right away, I admit. The first single, "Ex-Girlfriend", the new single, "Simple Kind Of Life", and "New" are probably the few songs that really shine on this album after the first listen. You probably think to yourself: "Ok, something's missing here! What happened to No Doubt?" Well what really happened is that they've growned to become better, both lyrically and musicially. If you expect this album to be "Tragic Kingdom: Part 2", think again. These aren't your typical catchy-pop-oriented-rock tracks on here; each song possesses a complex structure of melodies and lyrics written by the lovely Gwen Stefani. Surely, the second time around, maybe even the third time listening to "Return Of Saturn", it will get you hooked. I'm pretty sure that No Doubt will disappoint a number of fans, but at the same time, surprise/gain a greater number of new fans.
My advice for all you people out there, if your itching to purchase it, just be PREPARED. Don't criticize, but be open to their new sound/style. Don't expect an encore presentation of 1995's "Tragic Kingdom". Nevertheless, the album is filled with great tracks that make this one of those albums you won't forget/regret buying.
Basically, it's up to you to decide whether it HAS been worth the wait. In my opinion though, it has.
on April 12, 2000
No Doubt has done it. Just when I thought we'd never hear from them again, they went and evolved into a whole new sound. They're still the fun, colorful band they were on 'Tragic Kingdom', but they've obviously grown personally and artistically. Gwen Stefani's voice is better than ever on this album, and Tom Dumont, Tony Kanal and Adrien Young play better than ever. I love that they've gone New Wave when everyone else has gone hip hop.
A few of the songs have already been tapped as potential hits--'Ex-Girlfriend', 'Simple Kind of Life' for example. But don't overlook the rest--'Staring Problem' and 'Bathwater' are great rock-on-with-your-bad-self tunes.
It's so refreshing that in an era of making hits off of hits (a la Puff Daddy, etc.) or making hits off of Angry White Male Syndrome, it is remarkable (and brave) that No Doubt presents this album to the listening public. It's fast and infective, with the coolest lead singer belting out well-thought lyrics to great pop tunes. Thank god for No Doubt.
on June 26, 2000
I had always liked No Doubt enough but never enough to buy an album of theirs. I always thought other ska groups (like Dance Hall Crashers) were more appealing, and was somewhat puzzled by the scale of No Doubt's mainstream success. "Ex-Girlfriend" grabbed me from first listen, however, and I eagerly bought this album 2 months ago. Like many, at first I was not very impressed. The musical experimentation seemed cool, but few songs grabbed me right off. It was only when seeing No Doubt perform live last week in Jones Beach, NY, that the new songs came alive to me. The initial problem I had with this album was that, while the thrill of the first album was the sense of confidence and empowerment that Gwen Stefani brought to her lyrics, here the mood seemed much more grim and insecure. But having bought the first album now and comparing the two, I see that this is growth. Rather than repeating themselves by continuing to portray a two-dimensional character (as groups like Blondie did), Gwen and No Doubt have broadened their musical and lyrical range - AND IT WORKS! This album has a very particular mood which is every bit as interesting as their previous one. GIVE IT A CHANCE! I have heard very few albums with this amount of depth and musicianship in a while. It is clear that the band took their time for a reason - to craft a solid piece of art, an album that holds together from start to finish. GIVE IT A LISTEN - IT'S WORTH IT!
on November 1, 2003
So, No Doubt made it big in '95 with hits like "Just A Girl" and "Don't Speak". 5 long years later, "Return of Saturn" is born, proving that No Doubt is more than just a ska-pop one hit wonder sensation. "Saturn" starts off with "Ex-Girlfriend" - a new sound for No Doubt, telling of a relationship that's gone bad. "Simple Kind of Life" follows in the footsteps of "Don't Speak" - a lyrically strong song about a girl (Gwen?) coping with the end of a relationship- with the most touching line -- "I always thought I'd be a mom/sometimes I wish for a mistake/the longer that I wait the more selfish that I get/you seemed like you'd be a good dad". "Bathwater" is just a fun song, returning to the "ska" roots off "Tragic Kingdom" - you'll be humming this one all day. "Six Feet Under" is a journey into a pop-punk territory, and has an 80s feel to it. A simply great song, "Today's my birthday/I get one every year/and hard to believe/one day i'll be buried 6 feet underground" somewhat sad lyrics- but when set to the entire song it just rocks you- one of the BEST songs on the album. "Magic's in the Makeup" is a song about Gwen dealing with how people react to her fame- is it simply because of the makeup and how she looks? Just a very deep song, "if the magic's in the makeup/then who am i?". "Artifical Sweetner" - another GREAT track, "I'm faking I Love Yous/You're forcing me to." - this album is HEAVY on relationships and if you've had ups and downs- as I think everyone has, each song will have some sort of special meaning to you. Trust me, I know I've listened to this album many times.. "Marry Me" I think is the weakest track here, I wasn't too fond of it. "New" - just a rocker, was released as a single prior to the album's release. "Too Late", "Comforting Lie" and "Suspension Without Suspense" are 3 of the songs heaviest songs, again, dealing with lost love, or unrequited love, or lonliness. Those three songs have to be my favorites especially when Gwens sings in "Suspension" "We get so far/then it just stars rewinding/and the same old songs/we're playin them again/Suspension without suspense." "Staring Problem" is another turn at the pop/ska/punk world- much in the vein of "Bathwater" and "Excuse Me Mr." - the song seems out of place nessled next to the slower, more depressing songs. But I suppose it can be a good pick me up. "Home Now" - another great song, "If you lived here/You'd be home now." - dealing with being away from a loved one- the longing. and "Dark Blue" - probably another 'least favorite' track- I don't know what it is about this song.. very slow and dark.
Just a GREAT album I wish I could give 10 *'s!
on June 19, 2000
I was a great fan of No Doubt after Tragic Kingdom blew me awaywith a dose of punk attitude and ska sensibility, and after hearingEx-Girlfriend and its decidedly non-ska attitude on the radio I was tentative to buy this album. But one day, I went to buy the Hole CD, and they didn't have it. I was curious about the new No Doubt sound, so I bought it. Was I ever impressed! They have deepened their sound to achieve something with a lot more emotion than their previous albums. Gwen Stefani has improved her vocals immensely, sounding smooth and harsh at the same time. She handles the demanding range changes with ease and more than a little class, often times altering her punk Southern Cali attitude to fit the earnestness of some of the songs. The songs... well, the highpoints of the album are the oddly structured "Ex-Girlfriend", the high octane "Staring Problem", heart-wrenching ballads "Suspension Without Suspense" and "Too Late", and the pleading "Home Now". Gwen Stefani's signature hard rock-chick voice comes to the fore in "Artificial Sweetener" and "Comforting Lie". Some of the other sings are good, such as "Bathwater" and the U.S. bonus track "Leftovers". However, tracks "Magic in the Makeup" and "Marry Me" leave something to be desired. It seemed that the group was just in a bad mood and churned out these songs, which are somewhat disappointing in their aimlessness. Oh well. The musicianship on this album far exceeds No Doubt's previous efforts. All of the elements are here...the band has certainly exceeded its predecessor album Tragic Kingdom. A very good buy, worth your time and money.
on May 19, 2000
The difference between obscurity and overexposure is only one video and a few million Total Request Live votes. After languishing for years on the Orange County, California, ska scene, No Doubt sold 15 million copies worldwide of their 1995 album, Tragic Kingdom, largely on the strength of a power ballad that resembled nothing else on the album. Along the way, the band lost an early member to suicide, forfeited Gwen Stefani's keyboardist brother, Eric (who co-wrote "Don't Speak"), to a Simpsons animating job, weathered a breakup between its famous singer and bassist Tony Kanal, and revived pop-y New Wave styles when grunge was king. Add the fact that ska has pranced back to cult status, and it would be understandable if No Doubt didn't rise to the occasion of their sudden success. But Return of Saturn is a rare achievement: a superstar follow-up that not only betters its predecessor but also radically departs from it. If you liked Tragic Kingdom, you should love Return of Saturn. And if you didn't, you should still love it.
No Doubt's roots range from reggae to Broadway; they're a something-for-everybody band that has finally grasped the means to achieve that deceptively lightweight goal. Fueled by constant touring followed by failed studio sessions with Tragic Kingdom producer Matthew Wilder and more touring, Return of Saturn is a supremely confident concept album about insecurity. Like that "Don't Speak" video in which No Doubt men battle with Stefani for the camera's affections, the extraordinarily tight and authoritative instrumental performances insist this is a band record, one that rocks way harder than the production credit for Glen Ballard (the studio veteran behind Alanis Morissette) might imply. For her part, Stefani pulls a technicolor star turn full of unexpected depth and flattering self-deprecation. Both sides end up winning.
"Ex-Girlfriend" sets the tone. Punk, hip-hop and world beat collide as the mood swings from manic to meditative and back again. Stefani rap-speaks of a doomed, impulsive love, warbles a tricky bridge and spits out singalong choruses as rhythms shift and guitars roar. The unlikely combination jells so effortlessly, you miss its compressed complexity.
A second after "Ex-Girlfriend" ends with a whisper, a folk-guitar strum announces "Simple Kind of Life." Like peak-era R.E.M., this symphonic rock ballad details the tension between a fantasy of romantic commitment and the reality of independence; it manages to be at once grand, fragile and very, very sad. By the time Stefani softly confesses, "I always thought I'd be a mom / Sometimes I wish for a mistake," it's clear this woman whom many desire but few regard as a serious artist has penned a song that can sit on the same shelf with the likes of Elliott Smith and Aimee Mann. Her cutesy vocal mannerisms are gone, replaced by a longing that haunts well after the final chorus fades.
The improvements don't end there. Two years spent writing, recording, trashing and rerecording Return of Saturn have paid off with a collection of uniformly well-crafted, vigorously performed tunes that run the gamut from grungy to giddy, playful to pensive. "Six Feet Under" and "Staring Problem" reference No Doubt's Missing Persons-meets-Van Halen past, yet the results are less shrill, more self-aware. The domestic farce of "Bathwater" suggests the music-hall high jinks of their beloved 2-Tone ska heroes with some Gilbert and Sullivan slap-shtick thrown in, but it never drops the band's signature blend of adrenaline and sugar.
The rest of Return of Saturn ventures even further away from familiar territory. "Artificial Sweetener" evokes Hole's acrid admissions. "Comforting Lie" hints at a more melodic Korn with its fragmented, frustrated lyrics and variations between rigidity and catharsis. The propulsion fathered by bassist Kanal and drummer Adrian Young now matches any rap-metal rhythm section's bluster. But it's never showy, always supportive, and Tom Dumont's guitar attack has similarly sharpened. At a time when chart bands risk few experiments, No Doubt present a kaleidoscope of vivid arrangements that can still kick butt.
Stefani matches the guys' power with a serious restless streak, laying out her ongoing relationship with Bush's Gavin Rossdale with humor and humility. "I'd put you on like a diamond," she admits in "Too Late," "so I can sparkle and be the envy of my friends." Yet as she depicts it in "Suspension Without Suspense" and "Home Now," their long-distance alliance breeds jealousy, loneliness and lingering uncertainty. Below its polished surfaces, Return of Saturn is bittersweetly conflicted; those contradictions underscore its purity of intent. No Doubt want to live up to their name and believe in themselves. Stefani's inability to do just that enables her to finally transcend the band's cartoon persona. No longer just a girl, this skanking flirt has finally grown into a woman.
on April 25, 2000
Let me just start off by saying that listening to no doubt always makes me feel like I am listening to a band with great talent. The new album, Return of Saturn, is a great CD, a little different from previous material put out by No Doubt. This album contains more ballads and a less ska-like feel that was carried out by 1996's Tragic Kingdom. The CD starts of with an upbeat song, the hit "Ex-Girlfriend" and then plunges into a little more mellow song, "Simple Kind Of Life", which is my personal favorite. Songs like "Magic's in the Makeup", "Suspension Without Suspense", and "Dark Blue", among others, show the bands more mature, sophisticated side with great lyrics and awesome melody's that you can just listen to and relax. But lets not forget that its still okay to have fun and get up and dance as we hear songs like "Ex-Girlfriend", and "Bathwater." All in All, No Doubt is a great band and you should definately give this album a listen, I think it just may surprise you!
on May 19, 2000
Ok, when I first heard this CD i was appalled. I thought i was listening to the recycled pop-trash of Nsync or Britney Spears, and as a GIGANTIC No Doubt fan, i almost had a heart attack at the sound sample station. But after listening to the lyrics carefully, i knew i was wrong. I realized how honest the album was, and, heres what I make of it.
Ex-Girlfriend: Definately a radio-friendly song, it has roaring guitars and a caffinated sound, like running ska, punk, pop and hip-hop through a blender.
Simple Kind of Life: This song is truly touching, and moved me to tears the first time I heard it. Its lyrical content is painfully honest, and the guitar matches the mood perfectly. The song even gets philosophical as Gwen dreamily sings "if we met tomorrow for the very first time, would it start all over again, would I try to make you mine?
Bathwater: This song is fun, and quite bouncy. It brings an urge to can-can along with it, but the lyrics are a little...... icky. It reminds me of cabaret music.
Six Feet Under: MMMMMMMMMMMM! This song brings in a strong feeling of 80's new wave, and it works wonderfully, making death sound like a good thing.
Magics In The Make-up: This song is unbelievably pretty. It contemplates about why things do things differently in front of others.
Artificial Sweetner: This song brings forth what seems like a dash of Hole, with its acrid admissions of forced love. It goes through most verses softly, but the chorus really brings out some spirit.
Marry Me: This song is dreamy, and has a very Island-groove feel to it.
New: OMG! This has been my favorite No Doubt song since I heard it on the "Go" soundtrack. This version is slightly changed, with a stronger bass line. It still has that feeling of rave-gone-outa-control, though.
Too Late: This song has a personal meaning, that I would rather not discuss. Its beautifully crafted and can easily hav you crying.
Comforting Lie: Ok this song gives me the creeps. The lyrics give the impression of suicide to be attempted, and the song sounds very tortured. It is powerful, however.
Suspension Without Suspense: A wonderful ballad, Gwen once again contributes deeply personal lyrics.
Staring Problem: Not bad..... but ANNOYING! It feels kinda rushed and thrown together, and you wont want to stick around for it.
Home Now: A great song about a long distance relationship, it has a little reggae thrown in.
Dark Blue: The album ends on a dark note :( a very deep and dark song, it makes you feel emotionally damaged.
Well thats it. If you don't like my review, OH WELL!