Thursday Throwback Track: Week Four

Welcome to my Thursday segments, Thursday Throwback Track of the Day! Each Thursday, check back to The Indie Sound for my Thursday Throwback song pick from all eras and genres. Prepare for nostalgia to hit like a ton of bricks.

March is finally here, and with that, this month’s theme will be bands with awesome frontwomen! Ladies, it’s our time to shine. To kick off Week 4 is No Doubt with “Don’t Speak.” Listen to the track below:

Facts About the Song:

Until just recently, No Doubt was made up of frontwoman Gwen Stefani, guitarist Tom Dumont, drummer Adrian Young and bassist Tony Kanal. After making headlines around February 11, the guys are now sans-Stefani and have created a new group with AFI frontman Davey Havok, and a completed album is rumored to exist. But for now, we’re taking the band back to their heyday in the 1990’s, during a time when Stefani donned fuzzy bikini tops, pink hair, and crop tops that showed off her washboard abs. Queen of the 90’s indeed.

Introducing No Doubt’s ska punk sound to the world was their second album The Beacon Street Collection (1995), which sold over three times more copies than their self-titled debut. It wasn’t until the diamond-certified album Tragic Kingdom was released later that year that No Doubt was launched into rock stardom and the 90s ska revival was also ushered into popularity. “Don’t Speak,” the third single from the album, was featured at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart for 16 weeks, reached number one in countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and was nominated for both Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and for Song of the Year during the 1998 Grammy Awards. Internationally, the single proved to be a major hit.

What Makes this Song Such a Great Throwback?

The song, written with Gwen’s brother Eric before he left the band, is a perfectly constructed track that speaks (no pun intended) of Stefani and Kanal’s just-terminated relationship. It was also rumored that the band was planning to break up a day before the video was to be shot due to high tensions within the band. However, Kanal has apparently commented before that the video also serves as a commentary about the media spotlight being shown towards Gwen and away from the remaining members of No Doubt. Either way, the fact that a break up song about two members in the same band became a huge hit since its release must feel pretty bittersweet.

Where are they now?

After this release, the band went on to create Return of Saturn (2000), Rock Steady (2001), and Push and Shove (2012). In 2003, the band went on a hiatus and the members briefly pursued solo projects. Stefani struck gold with pop radio hits, as her first solo attempt, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (2004) hit multi-platinum status in multiple countries. After her arena tour and pregnancy of her child Kingston James McGregor Rossdale, Stefani released The Sweet Escape in 2006, where a single of the same name featuring Akon was nominated at the 50th Grammy Awards for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. That’s one busy mom.

Dumont debuted his side project Invincible Overlord in 2005, Young drummed for Bow Wow Wow’s tour in 2004, and Kanal co-produced and co-wrote “Sober” and “Funhouse,” respectively, by the pop rock artist P!nk in 2008. By the time Push and Shove was released, the group had introduced dancehall, reggae, and pop rock sounds into their albums. Moments of ska are still present throughout, however, Gwen’s solo project full of dance-y, new-wave songs definitely lingered into No Doubt’s sound. With the departure of Stefani, it’s not exactly clear which direction its members will go in, but hopefully new music will be available soon.


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