It’s like getting a letter in the mail from a friend you never see. You open it delicately and with such care that when you finally have the letter in hand, it’s as if you have the golden ticket from Willy Wonka himself. This is the feeling that rushes through me whenever I push play on my iPod to Tragic Kingdom. Yes, by No Doubt. Hey, I love this album and I could care less what people might think (hence why I’m posting on here). From “That album?” to my favorite, “Are you fucking kidding me?“, I’ve heard all the guff that comes with enjoying the former pop sensation.
My god, I even remember the day I bought the album. My father and my brother drove me over to Blockbuster Music, yes Blockbuster Music if anybody can remember that far back, where we would pick up various artists every other week. Yes, I’m a child of divorce (along with 75% of America) and consumerism tied together whatever family bond we had left. Without getting too far off the subject, there I would usually walk around aimlessly, waiting for my brother or my father to finish browsing the endless walls of entertainment. But that week, I knew exactly what I wanted. I knew I wanted that beautiful blonde in that shiny red dress in my hands. I knew I wanted that ever so poppy song “I’m Just a Girl”, which is probably not the finest of my moments.
That’s how it all started folks. That’s what brought me here to this day, from interviews with Menomena to Radiohead concert reviews, it was all thanks to No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom. Of course, I had the welcoming party of bands like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Blood Sweat and Tears, and The Police, as well. But it always comes back to No Doubt. Nonetheless, I cherished this album for the sole reason that it was the first album I ever bought on my own and I was very proud of it. Take into consideration I was only five years old and twenty bucks for a CD was a big deal to me.
Now let’s put some facts down on the table. Gwen Stefani is one of the most iconic singers of the twenty-first century and I would even go so far as to say, drum roll please, that she is the closest thing my generation will have to Madonna. Her voice is distinct and that’s immediately what did it for me. I remember hearing “Spiderwebs” constantly on the radio, in the car with my mother, and getting goosebumps whenever the chorus would kick in, hearing her beautiful and slender voice cue up and down. It would send shivers down my spine. Not to mention, her semi angry scowl right after. With lyrics like “Sorry I’m not home right now/ I’m walking into spider webs/ So leave a message and I’ll call you back”, it’s hard to call the nineties anything else but classic.
It didn’t stop at “Spiderwebs” for me either (one would hope not, given it’s the first track on the album);instead, everything was golden, especially songs “Sixteen” and the ever popular single, “Don’t Speak.” I remember feeling as if I was listening to something tainted and forbidden, hearing that sloppy and overly distorted bass accompanied with a high pitched 80’s-like guitar. It was all so new to me, so different. To be honest, I would listen to this album everyday and even after thirteen years, it still sounds new to me.
Say what you will. Tell me I have no taste in music, how lame I am for listening to such a record. I could care less, honestly. I will never have a different view of No Doubt. While many will shun them for their work on Rock Steady, (and rightfully so, I guess), I will never sway away from my opinion. This is a band that did it for me and I am glad to have them among my collection of artists.