Return Of Saturn
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Return Of Saturn
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After No Doubt sold more than 10 million copies of Tragic Kingdom, riding that wave of success without toppling over must have been a daunting mission. No sweat for No Doubt. The band toiled as national unknowns with a loyal local following for a decade before that album's release, and during that time the band members were learning how to be better songwriters and musicians. The follow-up, Return of Saturn, glides along that continuum of songcraft perfection. The band presents a cleaner, less apologist representation of their influences. They pull off some of the more difficult maneuvers of pure reggae, ground-pounding ska, and Cars-esque New Wave. Gwen Stefani, the fearless Orange County princess, belts a powerful pout, her Mae West-meets-Siouxsie Sioux vocal bravado the bungee cord that springs in between the band's retro tendencies and SoCal pop-punk attitude. It seems believable that she could stamp her foot and always get her way, but her self-deprecating confessions evade brattiness. Songs like "Bathwater" and "Ex-Girlfriend" reveal the singer's vulnerability to being hurt or dumped on, and the band's sense of humor and exploration (albeit firmly controlled) matches the songs' sentiments. This group is growing out and tightening up, and while the rest of the ska-punk surfer-dude bands do nothing more than repeat history, No Doubt is creating it. --Beth Massa
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2. Simple Kind of Life...This track is pretty mellowed out while Gwen Stefani coos some of the lyrics. This song is a lot noisier than I remember too (until the awesome breakdown, anyway). Many find this track boring but I think it's a step up from the first single, Ex-Girlfriend. 9.5/10
3. Bathwater...The chorus is good, the song catchy. I also love the high notes Gwen hits towards the end. 10/10
4. Six Feet Under...This song is kinda quirky. I don't mind its quirkiness but I do care that Gwen's vocals are drowning under the production and instruments. Without the booklet, I wouldn't know what the hell she's saying. 7.75/10
5. Magic's in the Makeup...This song really tells a lot about Gwen in 2000. The production kinda floats through the air while Gwen confesses some of her downfalls. The vocal delivery is either a bit lazy or consisting of coos. 7.5/10
6. Artificial Sweetener...Funner than Magic's In The Makeup, and contains guitar, unlike the previous mentioned track. 8.25/10
7. Marry Me...This song may come off quite whiny at first but if you come back to it later, it may be a chilled-out experience. I've come to like its subdued, sad feel. 8.5/10
8. New...Yet another track on my Creative Zen. It's a very upbeat track with great lyrics. Catchy as hell it is. 9/10
9. Too Late...The guitar is HOT on this track. I can listen to this track over and over. Love the "Ah Ah Ah Ah..."'s at the end. 9/10
10. Comforting Lie...This song has a catchiness to it but the chorus is overshadowed. 7.75/10
11. Suspension Without Suspense...This song has a nice melody. Probably the most notable on this disc. The lyrics are OK. Nothing extremely great but decent. 8.25/10
12. Staring Problem... Fast, chaotic but still listen-able. 7/10
13. Home Now...Another track that seems mellowed out. Bursting chorus that makes the song kinda filler-sounding. But still a solid song. 8/10
14. Dark Blue... It sounds different than most of these songs so that's a plus! OK lyrics and nice approach to the vocals. There is a minute or so break and then an instrumental version of Too Late, mish-mashed plays for the outro. 8/10
116.5 ÷ 14 = 8.321428571
8.32 = 4.16
Ex-Girlfriend - 5/5. A great opening song with cool music.
Simple Kind of Life - 5/5. Wow, this song is so gorgeous. A fabulously-written song.
Bathwater - 5/5. One of my favorites, with an awesome beat and creative lyrics.
Six Feet Under - 4/5. I really like this song, but the lyrics are a bit odd.
Magic's in the Makeup - 5/5. Love the lyrics to this song, so truthful.
Artificial Sweetener - 5/5. Another one of my favorite. I love the lyrics and the music, and Gwen's voice sounds great.
Marry Me - 2/5. In my opinion, the weakest song on the album. I don't know why, I just don't like it too much.
New - 5/5. This is my favorite song on the album. I love the music, and the way it alternates between and slow/fast beat.
Too Late - 3/5. A pretty song, but not one of my faves.
Comforting Lie - 5/5. Awesome lyrics, great beat.
Supension Without Suspense - 4/5. Slow song, but nice lyrics.
Staring Problem - 4/5. Not the best song on the album, but it's still pretty good.
Home Now - 4/5. An overall good song.
Dark Blue - 5/5. This song is so depressing and beautiful that it makes me want to cry, but I still love it.
Overall, this is an amazing CD, a must-have for any No Doubt fan. If you like ska, though, check out their self-titled debut and Tragic Kingdom. Or, rock/pop tickles your fancy, listen to Rock Steady or Gwen's solo stuff, which is nice but lacking the great lyrics and music she made with No Doubt.