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Return Of Saturn
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Return Of Saturn
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Audio, Cassette, April 11, 2000
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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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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.