Gwen Stefani

Love.Angel.Music.Baby Interscope

No Doubt's best record, Return to Saturn, played like an unofficial Bridget Jones soundtrack. Gwen Stefani is jealous of cuter women, greets her birthday with grim gravity, clings to an unfaithful man, and frets: Who will be the one to marry me? Her pathological insecurity is absurd but never insincere. Four years later, Stefani has joined the ranks of solo artists and smug marrieds, a combination that has turbo-boosted her self-esteem while damning her lyrics to unfathomable lows. With her confidence issues resolved, Love.Angel.Music.Baby focuses on less universal themes, such as self-affirmed "super hotness" and ostentatious wealth, on tiresome tracks that occasionally wrap her crass materialism in poorly constructed metaphors: "We're rich in love/We're rollin' in cashmere."

 
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