Let’s all be honest with ourselves: “Settle Down” was fine, but it wasn’t amazing. At all. Actually, it was mostly just meh.
(That debut performance at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards, no matter how flawless Gwen Stefani looked, wasn’t going to make matters any better, either.)
Enter “Push & Shove,” the title track from No Doubt‘s upcoming record and, as band member Tony Kanal rightly described to Rolling Stone recently, their very own “Bohemian Rhapsody.” (Sort of.)
The Diplo & Switch (aka Major Lazer)-helmed track slip-slides, crashes and bends (and SHOVES!) itself in between rapidly changing tempos, leaping from frantic ska-tinged verses, to a spirited back-and-forth with Jamaican dancehall artist Busy Signal, to an almighty, arena-sized power pop-rock chorus: “You work it hard/Boy, you got me good/How you push and shove,” Stefani yelps. (Oooo, sexual!)
Gwen’s wacky, warbling delivery feels like a nod to her own ingenious solo work (“Make my tic talk, step up to the place/No underestimate, never play it safe!”), while the ska-tinged horns and crashing drums scream classic No Doubt.
Sure, it might not exactly be “Spiderwebs” (what is, really?), but “Push & Shove” is still a vast improvement from the first go-around, chock full of devastatingly catchy hooks and punchy rhythms.
Now that’s what I call a comeback, ladies and gwentlemen.