Album Of The Week: “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.”

2014 marks an important year for Gwen Stefani. Not only does this fall mark the 10 year anniversary of her debut solo album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby., but this also signals her return to music. After 8 years away from her solo music career – she was busy having children and reuniting with her band No Doubt – Gwen is now ready to give eager fans some new solo pop gems. “Baby Don’t Lie” just came out a few weeks ago, and “Spark The Fire” should be next.

As we get excited for Gwen’s long awaited third solo album, let’s revisit the album that started it all: Love. Angel. Music. Baby. This record was released on November 12, 2004, and was a major departure in sound and style for Gwen. No Doubt, until then, had been known for their ska and punk styled alternative pop rock. Their last album, Rock Steady, had been noticeably more upbeat and danceable, but was still undeniably them. But with L.A.M.B., Gwen was ready to try something she would never do with the band: An 80s inspired dance pop album.

While L.A.M.B. was meant to be a side project of “guilty pleasure” music, it ended up being way bigger than Gwen may have expected. It was praised by critics and adored by fans, and spawned a number of hit singles, including “What You Waiting For?,” “Rich Girl,” “Hollaback Girl,” “Cool,” “Luxurious,” and “Crash.”

In addition to the first 4 singles particularly, other highlights on the album include “The Real Thing” and “Bubble Pop Electric.”

Love. Angel. Music. Baby. is filled with perfectly crafted pop songs, and the whole album makes for a fun listen from start to finish. So far it remains Gwen Stefani’s best solo album, but perhaps her upcoming third record will give it a run for its money. For now, let’s revel in this pop treasure of an album.

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