cs-NoDoubtRockSteadyCD.JPG (155953 bytes)

No Doubt
Rock Steady
Interscope Records

   By now, the smash lead off single from this record ("Hey Baby") has lodged itself somewhere in the back of your skull whether you like it or not. If you don't like it, I truly pity you. I kind of liked it myself...at least the first 3,000 times that I heard it. There's a lot more here than that ubiquitous hit would suggest. While not quite as strong as No Doubt's last two records, Rock Steady is still a contender for the best pop record of the spring. "Hella Good" is just that. This tune picks up the groove directly from Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean" and adds just the right amount of The Cars to bring to mind skating rinks and early '80s dance pop. Speaking of The Cars, Ric Ocasek himself shows up to play keyboards and produce "Platinum Blonde Life" and "Don't Let Me Down." This whole album could've come out in '83 except for a few of the drum loops. "Making Out" sounds like Berlin. It's got that Giorgio Moroder bubbly disco production down pat and Prince even co-wrote and duets on "Waiting Room." This collection is No Doubt's bid to have an aural party. Sure, lead singer/pop icon Gwen Stefani vents about jealousy on "In My Head", the ballad "Running" is a wistful, if syrupy, love song, and the band's ska roots are teased back to the top on "Underneath It All," "Start The Fire," and "Rock Steady" but it's all in good fun this time. It's not the existential wondering of "Simple Kind Of Life" or the love gone sour of "Don't Speak." This is a new day for No Doubt and the sun is shining. Rock Steady is a guilty pleasure. (2220 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404)

 Chris McKay/concertshots.com