Love. Angel. Music. Baby

Love. Angel. Music. Baby

3.8 66
by Gwen Stefani

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Gwen Stefani has come a long way, baby, from the secondhand frocks and Doc Martens she sported during No Doubt's lean O.C. days. The onetime tomboy has blossomed into a full-fledged fashionista with her own line of handbags and accessories (L.A.M.B. for Le Sport Sac), so it's only fitting that she'd take a break from her boy-band mates toSee more details below


Gwen Stefani has come a long way, baby, from the secondhand frocks and Doc Martens she sported during No Doubt's lean O.C. days. The onetime tomboy has blossomed into a full-fledged fashionista with her own line of handbags and accessories (L.A.M.B. for Le Sport Sac), so it's only fitting that she'd take a break from her boy-band mates to record a fashion-conscious solo debut heavily inspired by her jaunts to Japan and her infatuation with trend-setting Harajuku girls. Stefani sounds best on Love. Angel. Music. Baby when she lends her purring, Dale Bozzio-meets-Madonna vocals to new wave–inspired dance grooves, like the dizzying, Nellee Hooper–crafted lead single, "What You Waiting For?" and the techno-pop of "Crash," co-produced by ex-boyfriend and No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal. Ever since No Doubt's "Don't Speak" struck a chord with both Valley girls and B-girls, Stefani's also become popular for her irresistibly melodramatic ballads, and here she offers the Dallas Austin–produced "Cool," with its whirling synths and hummable harmony. And those are just a few of the cooks Stefani invited into her kitchen for L.A.M.B. Other urban and dance producers spicing the stew include Dr. Dre, who offers "Rich Girl" -- an Eve-assisted take on Lady Saw's reggae rendition of the Fiddler on the Roof anthem "If I Were a Rich Man" -- and the Neptunes, who check in with two tracks. Although Stefani's ride-or-die chick rapping over the synth-and-boom-bap beat of the Neptunes' "Hollaback Girl" isn't that convincing, her fearless creativity does pay off on the scratch-infused, André 3000–assisted, "Long Way to Go," which sounds more like an Outkast track. With L.A.M.B., Stefani manages to weave her diverse musical sensibilities into her own indelible style.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
In the wake of Gwen Stefani's elevation to diva status in the early 2000s, it's easy to forget that for a brief moment at the start of the millennium it seemed that she and her band, No Doubt, were dangerously close to being pegged as yet another of the one-album alt-rock wonders of the '90s. Return of Saturn, their long-awaited 2000 follow-up to their blockbuster 1995 breakthrough Tragic Kingdom, failed to ignite any sparks at either retail or radio, despite receiving some strong reviews, and the group seemed on the verge of disappearing. Then, Gwen sang on Eve's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" in 2001. The Dr. Dre-produced song was a brilliant single, driven by a G-funk groove and a sultry pop chorus delivered by Stefani, and it was an enormous hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard charts and winning a Grammy, while redefining Gwen's image in the process. No longer the cute SoCal ska-punk kid of Tragic Kingdom, she was a sexy, glamorous club queen, and No Doubt's next album, 2001's Rock Steady, not only reflected this extreme makeover, it benefited from it, since her new ghetto-fabulous persona turned the album into a big hit. A side effect of this was that Gwen now had a higher profile than her band, making a solo album somewhat inevitable. Since she always dominated No Doubt -- she was their face, voice, lyricist, and sex symbol, after all -- it's reasonable to ask whether vanity was the only reason she wanted to break out on her own, since it seemed to the outside observer that she helped set the musical course for the band. A quick listen to Love.Angel.Music.Baby., her 2004 solo debut, reveals that this is not an album she could have made with the group -- it's too club-centric, too fashion-obsessed, too willfully weird to be a No Doubt album. Working with far too many collaborators -- including Dr. Dre, the Neptunes, Linda Perry, Dallas Austin, André 3000, Nellee Hooper, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and her No Doubt bandmate (and ex-boyfriend) Tony Kanal -- Stefani has created a garish, neon-colored, deliberately stylish solo album that's intermittently exciting and embarrassing. It covers far too much ground to be coherent, but a large part of its charm is to hear it careen from the thumping, minimal beats of the Neptunes-helmed "Hollaback Girl" to the sleek, new wave textures of the high school anthem-in-waiting "Cool" and back to the exhilarating freakazoid sex song "Bubble Pop Electric," featuring André 3000's alter ego Johnny Vulture. This is music that exists entirely on the surface -- so much so, that when André drops in Martin Luther King samples into the closer, "Long Way to Go," it's a jarring buzz kill -- and that's what's appealing about L.A.M.B., even if it is such a shallow celebration of fleeting style and outdated bling-bling culture, it can grate. This shallowness can result in intoxicating beats, hooks, and melodies, but also a fair share of embarrassments, from odes to "hydroponic love" and choruses built on either "That's my s*it" or "take a chance, you stupid ho" to the stumbling contributions from Linda Perry. But Stefani's dogged desire to cobble together her own patchwork style while adhering to both her new wave chick and urban goddess personas can be both fascinatingly odd (her weirdly homoerotic tribute to "Harajuku Girls") and irresistible. It's telling that the best moments on the album keep closest to her new wave roots (which include heavy electro synth beats and blips): no matter how hard she tries, she is not a cultural trailblazer like Madonna. Unlike Madge, she willingly adapts to her collaborators instead of forcing them to adapt to her, which means that L.A.M.B. truly does sound like the work of seven different producers instead of one strong-willed artist. Nevertheless, even if it doesn't work all the time -- and some of its best tracks still have moments that induce a withering cringe -- it's a glitzy, wild ride that's stranger and often more entertaining than nearly any other mainstream pop album of 2004.
Rolling Stone - Rob Sheffield
An irresistible party: trashy, hedonistic and deeply weird.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Interscope Records

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gwen Stefani   Primary Artist,Vocals
Bobby Ross Avila   Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Rusty Anderson   Guitar
Dallas Austin   Drums,Keyboards
Lisa Coleman   Keyboards
Eve   Rap
Peter Hook   Bass
Jimmy Jam   Bass,Bass Guitar
Kevin Kendricks   Piano,Keyboards
Wendy Melvoin   Guitar
Aaron Mills   Bass
Linda Perry   Guitar,Keyboards
Mark Batson   Keyboards,keyboard bass
Bernard Sumner   Background Vocals
Tony Reyes   Guitar,Bass Guitar
Mike Elizondo   Guitar,Keyboards
Tony Kanal   Synthesizer,Keyboards
James "Big Jim" Wright   Keyboards
Naomi Martin   Background Vocals
Iz   Percussion,Drums
Mimi Parker   Background Vocals
André 3000   Keyboards,Vocals
MiMi "Audio" Parker   Background Vocals
Sheldon Conrich   Keyboards
Zoey Martin   Background Vocals
Johnny Vulture   Guitar,Keyboards
Seven   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Ernie Isley   Composer
Chris Jasper   Composer
Dr. Dre   Audio Production
Dallas Austin   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
M. Batson   Composer
J. Bock   Composer
Johnny Copeland   Artwork,Logo
John Frye   Engineer
Nellee Hooper   Producer,Audio Production
O'Kelly Isley   Composer
Rudolph Isley   Composer
Jimmy Jam   Producer,Audio Production
Terry Lewis   Producer
Linda Perry   Composer,Programming,Engineer
Rick Sheppard   Engineer,MIDI,Sound Design
Simon Gogerly   Programming,Engineer
Chantal Kreviazuk   Composer
Mike Elizondo   Composer
Gwen Stefani   Composer
Pharrell Williams   Composer
Andre Young   Composer
Tony Kanal   Composer,Programming,Producer,Audio Production
T. Lewis   Composer
Aidan Love   Programming
Chad Hugo   Composer
Jolie Clemens   Art Direction
Cutmaster Swift   Cut
Ian Rossiter   Engineer
Pete Novak   Engineer
Ewan Pearson   Programming
André 3000   Producer,Audio Production
Matt Marrin   Engineer
Sam Littlemore   Programming
Jason Lader   Programming,Engineer
Lee Groves   Mixing Programmer
Johnny Vulture   Programming,Producer
Ian Cross   Engineer

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