This Is What The Truth Feels Like by Gwen Stefani (Album Review)
Gwen Stefani is a little bit different. She doesn’t seem to follow the well trodden path of huge commercial success then milk that with a series of average tracks, produce an album and stick more through the sausage factory. She seems to have musical integrity, which is admirable but may have also stifled her growth as a global artist, not that I think she cares.
Stefani reminded us that commercial admiration wasn’t the most important thing to her back in 2007. She publicly outed her life plan
“I just want to make music and babies”
The No Doubt front woman and Hollaback girl now has three kids and is on course to release her third solo album, whilst still enjoying the different twang of being part of No Doubt.
The title of this album, This Is What The Truth Feels Like makes you feel that this may be a story of the latest chapter in Stefani’s manic life. Having split with husband of 13 years (Bush’s Gavin Rossdale) there are elements of Gwen Stefani life story chapter three, but its not self indulgent. At 46 Stefani isn’t exactly a spring chicken. However, she looks incredible and somehow managed to maintain some of the youth angst you expect from her.
The album strides genre as easily as Gwen Stefani herself. This may be due to the list of some of the world’s best producers who boast credits for the likes of Rihanna and Justin Bieber no less. However, these Stefani has maintained creative control and nothing is on here that she doesn’t like. This is probably best illustrated after she dumped a series of tracks written and produced with long-time partner in crime Pharell. They would have been guaranteed bangers, but Stefani simply states “they didn’t feel right” – there is that integrity again.
This Is What The Truth Feels Like has echoes of Missy Elliott and Rihanna with track on a bit of a dark RnB vibe. However she embraces everything from EDM and Trap (Fetty Wap appears) to real Hip Hop beats. That is the versatility of Stefani, as all come across in a really credible way.
However, whilst the album isn’t self-indulgent some tracks, including the slower ballad type tracks, feel like part of the Gwen Stefani healing process. Almost like her fans are her counsellors, a role, I am sure, many thousands would happily take on.
Perhaps the best example of this being part of her healing process is Send Me A Picture. The track tells us of her rebirth in a way and finding herself again. It concentrates on hot and steamy sexting that everybody has done and explores how those encounters can open up. The track Naughty continues on a similarly personal vein, but doesn’t entirely feel as innocent.
For me This Is What The Truth Feels Like isn’t Stefani’s best album from a commercial point of view. If that was a point, maybe we would have had all the Pharell material. But is feels like an accomplished piece of work, that feels genuine to Gwen Stefani. Fans will love it, critics wanting an album full of tracks suitable for radio will probably moan. I am closer to the former.