Gwen Stefani’s Fashion Week presentation Thursday at Milk Studios wasn’t just a preview of her military and punk-inspired fall line for L.A.M.B. — it was also a sneak peek of what’s brewing in the singer’s head for the next No Doubt album.
First was her choice of a DJ: Jeremy Healy from Haysi Fantayzee (of “Shiny, Shiny” fame), who had mash-up duties on her 2006 single “Wind It Up” (combining her song with “The Lonely Goatherd” from “The Sound of Music”). As the models — all identically made up in bangs and brushed out curls, smokey eyes, and dramatic red lips — strutted down a runway that was more skate ramp than catwalk, they did so to mash-ups of songs like “Warm Leatherette” and “I Eat Cannibals.”
“We just had a lot of the stuff that I like, [from the] ’80s, you know, everything I like,” Stefani said after the show’s end. Under other circumstances, that wouldn’t be noteworthy, except for the fact that No Doubt’s currently on a crash diet of one-hit wonders. Though Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont, and Adrian Young had started working on the next album while Stefani was unavailable (due to various solo album and mothering duties), now that they’ve re-teamed, they’re scrapping some of the early work and started fresh a few weeks ago.
“They were doing stuff before,” Stefani said, “but things are kind of starting over, you know what I mean? We might revisit some of that stuff, but it’s the same old chase. It doesn’t matter how we get there — we want to get there, we will, and we’re having fun doing it.”
Part of the fun is revisiting songs from their youth, as Stefani and Kanal did during sessions for her solo albums. “We always do that. I think everyone does. The last few weeks, we’ve been listening to the worst of the ’80s, in the sense of bad but good,” she laughed. “Pop songs, one-hit wonders, nifty songs, things like that. You just go back and find things that you love, and try to figure out how they made them. We just listen to good songs, and then writing our own stuff, we try to pull it out wherever we can.”
Foremost on the playlist right now? “What was the last thing I was listening to?” she paused, thinking. “Lionel Richie. I love him.”