- Record Label: Interscope
- Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Grunge, Ska-Punk, Third Wave Ska Revival
- More Details and Credits »
Sep 26, 2012At its best, Push and Shove channels some of the infectiously restless energy of "Rock Steady," the band's pre-hiatus farewell. And it further polishes a bold mix-and-match aesthetic that feels familiar today in part because of records such as "Tragic Kingdom."
Aug 28, 2013"To go forward sometimes you have to go back" seems to always have been the band's motto. For all those too uptight to join in the party there are countless emo bands out there for you to get your lyric fix from. But for the rest of us we gonna party like it's 1984. The band's most perfected album and it's purely pop.… Expand
Sep 26, 2012This is an excellent pop album. Ear candy of the highest order. It definitely is the logical conclusion to an aesthetic arc that sort of started with Rock Steady and carried through Gwen's solo stuff and ends up here, with Push and Shove. That's not to say this sounds like one of Gwen's solo records. That's also not to say it doesn't. It's got the attitude of No Doubt, but some of the sensibility of Gwen's solo (which, in this reviewer's opinion, is by no means a bad thing--LAMB remains one of the best mainstream albums of the new millennium). Where a lot of Gwen's solo was club and urban oriented pop, this tends towards more HAC style goodness, and perhaps that makes sense: they are all terribly successful and have children now--they've mellowed. If any track from Gwen's solo signaled the direction of this album, it was the impeccable "Cool."
The album opens with several flawless tracks. Settle Down is spunky and features a lush string intro and a minute long outro (really, all the songs on this album are just a bit longer than the business standard, which is refreshing). Looking Hot, despite first appearances, is the most clever track on the record, as the bridge totally recontextualizes the central question, "do you think I'm looking hot?" Gwen switches tones and sings sadly, "you're complimentary, but I'm just pretending," and it's clear that this song has more on its mind. When the beat picks back up, we realize: the question is sarcastic.
Push and Shove is manic brilliance that ends with a deliriously good synthy crescendo. One More Summer is sonically one of the most beautiful songs here, all new wave guitars and autumnal synths. Easy is a wonderfully sexy pop song, with an epic chorus and an unexpected bridge that totally works (the bridges, by and large, on this album, are unexpected delights). Dreaming the Same Dream is the perfect cap for the album, and is the clearest statement of their intended aesthetic--as they describe themselves, "John Hughes and prom music." Needless to say, they nailed it. The album has a few low spots. The middle section dips: Gravity and Undercover are by all means nice pop songs, but compared to what comes before and after, they don't quite stand out. And I'm not a fan of Undone, which just doesn't feel to me like it does anything I haven't heard other pop ballads do.
But, overall, this is one of the most richly and thoughtfully produced pop albums I've heard recently. The band had a clear aesthetic in mind, and they examine it and deploy it rigorously. These songs feel like they'd be at home accompanying any high school movie dance scene climax. Mainstream pop doesn't come much more glossy, enjoyable, and smart than this.… Expand
Sep 25, 2012No Doubt is back and better than ever with their soon to be hit "Push and Shove." The title track mixes modern pop music and the 1996 Tragic Kingdom-esque ska punk. Gwen Stefani's voice is spot on and sounds amazing. "Looking Hot" mixes "Hella Good" and "Spiderwebs". "One More Summer" is a great pop ballad. "Easy" is one of my favorites on the album mixing R&B and Synth rock together. "Gravity" is a EASY summer song. "Settle Down" is a mixture of everything No Doubt has ever done in a beautiful way. "Undone" could be the next "Don't Speak". "Undercover" reminds me a lot of something from "Rock Steady" like "Detective". "Sparkle" is another favorite from the album. Co written with Dave Stewart, it was written and mixed with perfection. "Heaven" is my favorite song from the album. This song reminds me of the 1980's New wave scene. "Dreaming the Same Dream" is a song inspired by britpop artists and you can tell. It's a great song. This album is worth the long wait! Go get it! You won't regret it!… Expand
Nov 30, 2012I can't consider myself a "longtime" fan, as I'd only started really delving into their discography this year. Yet I was still greatly anticipating listening to this like someone that waited 11 years would, since the albums I'd heard (basically everything from Tragic Kingdom onward) impressed me so much. Let me start by saying this is NOT their best album to date by far. I'd give that to the highly underrated Return of Saturn. Anyway this isn't the kind of album where you can easily distinguish the "good songs" from the "bad songs". Nor is it the kind of album where every song is absolute gold & you wouldn't have it any other way. Rather, it's the kind of album where most songs are positively notable but there's also little things wrong with them. The biggest example of this is the fact that Busy Signal's verse about a minute into the title track was so annoying to me that I spent an hour installing a "cutting parts out of a song" program onto my computer and now the track is over a minute shorter. Other issues I have are the unnecessary "back & forth conversation" in the verses of Settle Down & a general watering down of real instruments throughout the album. I appreciate a change to a synthier sound (or any stylistic change a band wants to make really) but it felt like, at least in the mix, the synth parts were drowning out the band itself. On some songs it took multiple listens to hear any guitar part at all in them. That shouldn't happen! My last major gripe is that the lyrics have for the most part taken a turn for the "decent". They lack the attitude of Tragic Kingdom or the raw emotion of Return of Saturn, with the exception of Undone & a couple others to a lesser extent. It just feels really complacent at times. Still I'd say it's better lyrically than most of Rock Steady, and it rarely goes below decent. Now onto the positives: Gwen's voice has greatly improved this time around. One problem I have with some of No Doubt's previous discography is that Gwen tended to sing with this really "pouty" (for lack of a better word) inflection that got a little grating at times. That's gone for good here. The singing throughout Push & Shove feels a lot more natural. Also the melodies & instrumentation are, as one should expect when listening to a No Doubt album, very catchy & well-written. It trails off a little in places but the general hookiness is still there. To focus more specifically, I'd say the songs here that sounds the most like they could go on a "classic" No Doubt album are Settle Down (Tragic Kingdom), Undone (Return of Saturn), Sparkle (either of those) & the title track (Rock Steady). Other than that I'd say this album definitely has its own sound to differentiate it from the rest of their discography in its more synth-oriented instrumentation that makes it sound more 1983 than 2012. Others may call this a sellout but I don't see it that way. To me it sounds more like classic 80s synth-pop than effortless generic 2012 crap-pop that panders to the lowest common denominator. Finally it seems fitting to end the review by pointing out the fantastic closing track Dreaming the Same Dream, a track with great lyrics about togetherness through hard times and very well-written & intricate instrumental parts. Overall I'd call this album a success, but I'm not so sure if it was a worth-waiting-11-years level of good. But then again I'm not a longtime fan so I didn't have to go through all that. 75/100… Expand
Nov 24, 2012No Doubt used to be one of the coolest band around. But like any band that is approaching their 'age', it's struggling to remain relevant in this day and age of 'electro pop'. Instead of going through the direction that is charted on 'Rock Steady' or the Tragic Kingdom, they sort of went for the dreaded middle ground. The end result felt tired; no songs were strong enough to beat some of their best efforts. It's strange how Gwen Stefani's solo efforts seemed to be a much better evolution of their 'sound' than this album. Is she better going solo, like her other peers (Phil Collins, Rob Thomas, to name a few)?… Collapse
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