The Farr Side: Stefani takes ‘Truth,’ to top of chart
It’s true: This is what having a No. 1 album feels like.
Gwen Stefani’s third solo album release, “This Is What The Truth Feels Like,” debuted atop Billboard’s Hot 200 chart this week, giving the ska-mom her first chart-topping long-player.
It’s almost hard to believe that her first two albums failed to reach the top when they were so undeniably successful. “Love Angel Music Baby” and “The Sweet Escape” featured multiple hit singles for the woman who got her start leading one of the ’90s biggest bands, No Doubt.
Her latest is the first to got to No. 1. Not to put a damper on that feat, the album managed to sell only 84,000 units. In 2004, Stefani sold 309,000 copies of “Love Angel Music Baby” in the first week after its release, while debuting at No. 5. “The Sweet Escape” (2006) debuted at No. 3 and sold 243,000 copies week one.
Stefani still fronts No Doubt, but over the past three years, her life has been spread on covers of tabloids. Since the last No Doubt album in late 2012, she had another child, got divorced from Gavin Rossdale, joined TV’s “The Voice” as a coach, and became romantically involved with country singer Blake Shelton.
Wow! So much for the simple life. With all of that kind of baggage looming, “This Is What The
Truth Feels Like” embodies a strange optimism in a hurried way. You can sense the urgency of this album as it plays out. She’s her likable self, but less punchy than we’re accustomed.
The album’s first single, “Used To Love You,” came out late last year. It pretty much summarized her divorce from Rossdale. It’s a personal song for Stefani as she came to the realization that the two superstars were no longer in love. The video featured a close-up, tear-driven Gwen as she sang the emotional words of the song.
“Make Me Like You” is her latest song to re-introduce herself back to her fans. We have to remember, it has been 10 years she released “The Sweet Escape” – that’s a lifetime in the music business.
I like this track. It makes me think of the “Hollaback Girl” days. It has a vibe of the many great tracks that made up “Love Angel Music Baby.” I miss that Stefani.
Many of the new songs have a ‘break-up’ fee, but then there’s this new flirtation like on “Naughty” and “Asking 4 It.”
On “Send Me A Picture” she sings, “Wanna see you right now with no filter/Take another snapshot in the mirror.” Could she be talking about Shelton?
If I have a favorite on this album, it might be the song that Gwen leaves all the gimmicky stuff behind in favor of an honest reflection of where she in her life right now. The song, “Truth,” is one of her best solo songs to date.
— David T. Farr is a Sturgis, Michigan, Journal correspondent. Email him at email@example.com.