When “Settle Down” previewed Push and Shove as the album’s first promotional single six weeks ago, it was freaky and confusing. The single was a huge risk, but at least No Doubt is lucky enough to have fans like us. Many knew there was still good news ahead.
And with that, a sigh of relief came as title track “Push And Shove” filled our ears with jam-worthy, jive-filled “Bohemian Rhapsody” of sounds. It has many phases, all different and all-encompassing of a frustrating case of mixed signals. The jam never lets up that determining beat at any point (we have producer Diplo to partly thank for this), making the song a steady conceptual rock to start.
Still now, the “Settle Down” doesn’t really make sense but at least now, amidst the 10 other tracks on the new album, it is relieved with a little context. Plus, in the presence of other killers that trace sounds of familiarity back to “Don’t Speak” and “Just A Girl,” there’s nothing to worry about. Push and Shove is a hell of a good time!
Gwen Stefani and the gang didn’t just come back to have a party either. They got down to business in knocking out a concept about strength and weakness, ebbing and flowing as each song shifts in emphasis on the lover. The band tested the waters of new written material for the first time in 10 years and ultimately didn’t come off too rusty.
Many artists have two facets to their music when their energy changes: happy is upbeat and sad is slow. No Doubt won’t bore listeners with a ballad of piano and vocal, as classic as the combination might sound. Instead, in songs like “One More Summer” and “Easy,” both tales of desperation and weakness through prolonged love, compositions remain radio-friendly and lightweight through their sorrow. It’s a hard mix to master, and it wouldn’t be No Doubt if it wasn’t done well.
They’re the ‘90s band that’s determined to make it and stay relevant in a newer generation where most of their fans have matured. It’s imaginable that Interscope Records encouraged No Doubt to change accordingly, but it’s comforting to hear that the band stayed true to their pop rock vibes. Push and Shove is full of positive energy and carefully chosen and produced tracks. It seems that in No Doubt’s previous five albums, they’ve never skipped a beat in releasing kick-ass albums, all the while remaining exempt from all Hollywood music trends. Who would’ve thought that a Ska band would make it this far?
It’s likely that Push and Shove won’t make it onto many year-end lists. The album isn’t forgettable but it definitely had some harsh competition. It gets boring and fizzles out around three quarters of the way in, and that’s OK. They’re still the beloved California rock band who’s climbing the charts effortlessly, chugging onward . We imagine they’ll still be as wonderful in 10 years, ever-consistent and ever-iconic. The time between Rock Steady and Push and Shove proved not to hiccup the band, so there’s not a sensible doubt in the world.