Gwen Stefani will turn 49 today! Yes, you read it correctly! The girl who was “Just a Girl” from Orange County will be receiving her AARP card shortly. Since I could remember listening to the radio, I was in love with Gwen Stefani’s unique voice, and once I caught a glimpse of her in the video for “Spiderweb” and saw her cool West Coast style, I was a die-hard fan. I listened to Tragic Kingdom CD on repeat in the late 90’s, revisited Return of Saturn when I entered my Saturn Return and completely understood Gwen’s mental state during the writing of that album, watched No Doubt go from Ska-Rock band to pop to Gwen becoming a glam pop star with her solo career. Her vulnerability with her lyrics was always the reason I loved listening to her; she’s one of the few artists that doesn’t try to mask her feelings with odd wordplay. She just sang precisely how she felt at that moment, whether it was insecurity, heartbreak or helplessly in love. She showed all the sides of herself through her music, and she had killer style.
To celebrate her birthday, I rounded up 10 of my favorite deep cut songs through her No Doubt and solo career.
1. End It On This (Tragic Kingdom)
Gwen is in her rawest feelings as she realizes that everything she expected from her relationship is now coming to a close.
2. Under Construction (Everything In Time)
Gwen shares her paranoia of trying to find her place within life and career, but she seems to be struggling to keep up.
3. Suspension Without Suspension (Return of Saturn)
I seriously loved the Return of Saturn era, because it’s where Gwen was precisely at her best writing and her rawest form. “Suspension Without Suspense” perfectly captures a relationship that seems like it won’t work out on paper but the lovers’ bond is too strong.
4. Waiting Room (Rock Steady)
Um…Prince wrote this song for Gwen. Obviously that means the song is amazing!
5. Long Way to Go (L.A.M.B.)
Andre 3000 of OutKast and Gwen Stefani’s magic together was unlike any other. “Long Way To Go” was slated to appear on The Love Below but didn’t make the cut, but luckily for us, it made it to Stefani’s first solo album.
6. U Started It (The Sweet Escape)
The Neptunes channeled 80’s Prince vibes with this track.
7. Stricken (The Beacon Street Collection)
Sometimes when you’re smitten, you don’t need many words to express your feelings. And Gwen perfectly captures that in “Stricken.”
8. Yummy (The Sweet Escape)
The work Gwen and Pharrell did during The Sweet Escape with “Yummy” and “Wind It Up” was a little too eccentric for mainstream pop music. Perhaps that’s why they’re my favorite songs from their work together, plus the beat towards the end is a wild ride.
9. Red Flag (This Is What The Truth Feels Like)
We love petty, angry Gwen. “Red Flag” felt like old school Gwen Stefani.
10. Rock Steady (Rock Steady)
“Rock Steady” truly embodies the sound of No Doubt, 80’s New Wave, Dancehall, and Rock. Plus it’s a sweet Summer vibe track.
What are your favorite No Doubt/Gwen Stefani songs of all-time?