No Doubt aren’t just 11 years older than they were when they released their last LP. They’re determined to be wiser. Push and Shove leans toward synthpop-flavored ballads with grown-up themes: relationship struggles, the rewards of long-term romance. The songs are catchy, but Gwen Stefani doesn’t have the voice, or the gravitas, for grandiose tunes. And do we really want a “mature” No Doubt record, anyway? The band sounds more at home on the title track, a ska/dub fusion where Stefani rhymes “La-la-la-la vida loca/We speeding it up like soca.” That’s the No Doubt we love: hopped-up ambassadors from a fairy-tale SoCal where la vida is, eternally, loca.
Listen to Push and Shove: