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No Doubt
Return of Saturn

By Dwayne Carter
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No Doubt  Return of Saturn

Compact Disc CD Stock Number: Uni/Interscope B00004SAWN Compact Disc

  I t has been several long years since Gwenie (Gwen Stefani) strutted her multi-color streaked hair, pouty lipped, tank top wearing self, across the stage (and my heart). Needless to say, I impatiently waited for No Doubt’s return. My waiting has paid off.

No Doubt Return of Saturn is no sophomore jinx! The band has returned in a big way. Return of Saturn showcases a tighter, more controlled band. While their first CD, Tragic Kingdom (Uni/Interscope; ASIN: B000001Y79) was heavy with Ska, Reggie-Surf Punk influences, Return of Saturn is a smoother, more confident blend of Ska and some 80’s New Wave riffs.

But don’t think this means that Gwenie is all Madonna tough. No way. This CD is peppered with insecurity and self-doubt, that made Tragic Kingdom (and Gwen) so enjoyable and believable.

While I am friends with all but one of my ex-girlfriends, I am in awe of the relationship that Gwen and Bassist Tony Kanal must have.  Gwen spent many years singing to thousands of fans, about the pain Tony Kanal put her through. I give the guy kudos, just for walking out on that stage! How could anybody refuse Gwen?

 

Insanity must run in his family….

Return of Saturn opens with the excellent, “Ex-Girlfriend”. I won’t drone on about this hit. It’s on high rotation on MTV and every radio station on the planet. It clearly announces the tone of this new album. Gwenie’s back and she wants some answers, dammit!

“Simple Kind of Life” and “Bathwater” pulls you through her obsession and dismissal by Kanal, while “Bathwater” should be noted for its 1930’s kind of vocal maneuvers by Gwen (with a little horn work for good measure).

 Other notable songs would be  Marry Me”,  “New” and “Suspension Without Suspense”. I think we can all remember the “newness” of a relationship. As I travel (more and more these days), I try to extract “newness” from my wife, upon my return. Whether I succeed or not is fodder for another time, but the point is, Gwenie has found someone new (the lucky jerk from Bush).  Let me speak for all of you Gwen lovers… BASTARD, DIE, DIE!!

Ahem, moving on.

“Marry Me” should invoke fear in the hearts of all men. Woman asking the men for their hand in marriage? Gwen asking Bushman?. Monica asking Chandler? The horror... the horror...

Actually, if more women asked more men to marry we would have fewer marriages (according to my wife). The upside of women asking men to marry?  Woman would learn about rejection (which men know as a close, personal friend). But I digress...

My favorite track is "Magic In The Makeup." While I do remember the odd feeling of near invisibility and invincibility when I donned my stage makeup (in the 80’s folks chill) Magic In The Makeup” is a rather haunting song about self-awareness and self-realization. Who the hell am I?  This must be especially confusing for a famous person. Am I who I pretend to be on stage, or am I who I think I am?  Confusing, no? Yes. Gwen sings:

 "The makeup’s all off
   Who am I?
   If the magic’s in the makeup
   Then who am I?
   Magic’s in the makeup
   But I want to be the real thing
   But the magic’s in the makeup
   And I want to be the real thing 

   My makeup’s all off
   Who am I? "

No Doubt’s  Return of Saturn is an excellent follow-up CD. The group is tighter, the writing is better, and Gwen is really exploring the range of her delightfully quirky voice.

Pick up this CD on your next trip to the store (or website). It’s a blast…..the Return of Saturn.

 

Enjoyment: 90

Sound Quality:  84

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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