Gwen Stefani Rules (As a Rude Girl and/or Pop Princess)

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Omninfo
Gwen Stefani has aged well. Really, really well.
I'm glad I grew up in the '90s. I had strong, independent, beautiful women as musical role models, and they ruled the airwaves. The Spice Girls preached girl power, Lilith Fair paraded feminine gusto across the country, and No Doubt , fronted by Gwen Stefani, assured us that being treated like "just a girl" who can't drive late at night wasn't enough.

Stefani still looks fabulous at 42, after giving birth to two children with her husband Gavin Rossdale of Bush. And No Doubt has enjoyed a fascinating career, starting as a ska band from Anaheim, experimenting with punk, releasing a reggae album, and incorporating more and more pop influences with each record. It's been over a decade since the band's last disc, 2001's Rocksteady, but Stefani has been busy the whole time, and they've all headed into the studio for a brand new record (featuring production by Diplo and Switch on the tune "Push & Shove").

This snippet from the new album looks promising.

One of No Doubt's defining characteristics is its resemblance to Fleetwood Mac -- only with fewer bandmates involved in affairs. Gwen Stefani and bassist Tony Kanal dated for seven years, inspiring the band's breakthrough single "Don't Speak." The breakup was tumultuous and inspired No Doubt to record its breakthrough record, Tragic Kingdom.

Tragic Kingdom served as a crossroads for the band. Though Eric Stefani, the keyboard player and Gwen's brother left the band, they continued to embrace their ska roots on songs like "Spiderwebs" and "Excuse Me Mr.".

"Don't Speak" got people to take notice of No Doubt. In a way, it was their "Go Your Own Way" with a lot less tension, though Stefani and Kanal's relationship was far from easy. Gwen was a nice alternative to the sugar-pop divas who would come to dominate MTV in the following years. After all, what's sexier than a woman with a killer vibrato who looks great as a glamazon and an ass-kicking broad with washboard abs?

No Doubt ruled the airwaves with six singles from Tragic Kingdom and went on a two-and-a-half-year tour in support of it. The band fell off the mainstream radar for a bit until releasing a new album seven years later called Return of Saturn. The band was back, returning with a pink, dreadlocked vengeance. The ska undertones are much more muted, but the album incorporated an array of new interesting sounds -- flamenco, disco, reggae. Return of Saturn showed No Doubt growing up.


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