While her music career spans all the way back to 1986 with No Doubt, Gwen Stefani's solo career is relatively new, with her debut single coming in late 2004. Since then, Gwen's delivered a concise but powerful offering of solo material, and we wanted to honor and explore what's been brought to our ears before her latest, This Is What the Truth Feels Like, drops on March 18.
With a criteria that each song needed to be credited to Gwen Stefani and exist in an officially recored setting (a.k.a. no No Doubt, no live covers nor unreleased tracks—sorry, "Candyland"), there were 40 of her solo tracks in the world before the new album release. From the ones that feel simply not Stefani enough to Gwen's greatest, here is her solo discography, ranked.
26. Baby Don't Lie
25. Don't Get It Twisted
24. Together (with Calvin Harris)
21. Bubble Pop Electric
20. My Heart Is Open (with Maroon 5)
19. Saw Red (with Sublime)
18. Danger Zone
17. South Side (with Moby)
16. Harajuku Girls
15. Used to Love You
10. U Started It - The best non-single cut on The Sweet Escape, "U Started It" realistically detailed couple fights over a Pharrell-produced hip-hop beat centered around orchestral strings. Gwen gets to showcase her tongue-in-cheek personality: "I know, you're right, you win / I don't want any part of it / You know what I'm like / I give in / Even though you started it!"
9. Make Me Like You - It's been a long road to Gwen Stefani's third studio album, but the singer finally nailed it with a single, "Make Me Like You," that put the wheels in motion to This Is What the Truth Feels Like out to listeners. "Make Me Like You" is a feel-good ode to puppy love and brought back some of those quirky phrases we'd expect Gwen to croon about ("Hey, wait a minute / No you can't do this to me!" she yells to a new lover). It finally felt like true Gwen was back.
8. Long Way to Go (featuring Andre 3000) - Discussing multiracial relationships and the racist stigmas attached to them, the closing track to Love. Angel. Music. Baby. was as eye-opening to pop fans as it was a stunning piece of work. As Gwen and Andre say, "It's beyond Martin Luther," which was their call for listeners to discuss race issues.
7. Early Winter - A stunning standout from The Sweet Escape, the rock ballad is one of the best examples of Gwen's vocal prowess and showcased one of her most impassioned performances.
6. What You Waiting For - Our girl's debut single, "What You Waiting For" introduced us to Gwen Stefani the Solo Artist's brilliantly bizarre world of pop music. The song is personal (detailing her internal struggles of whether or not to record a solo album) and includes a very jarring phrases ("Take a chance you stupid hoe!"), but this spastic pop song now stands as a classic from 2004 and one of the top go-to's when they mention Stefani's discography.
5. Let Me Blow Ya Mind (with Eve) - One of the first tracks that indicated Gwen could slay something other than ska or rock, "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" showcased a whole new side of Gwen, and proved she could bring her unique vocals to a Dr. Dre beat.
4. The Sweet Escape (featuring Akon) - No doubt (natch) about it, Gwen's solo material is quirky as heck, and doesn't always connect with the masses like it should. But this feel-good collaboration with Akon was a reminder that Gwen still has massive chart-toppers inside her and the single's "woooohoo-yeeeeeeeeho!" hook was inescapable during the summer of 2006--we had no complaints.
3. Serious - An album cut off her seminal solo debut Love. Angel. Music. Baby., "Serious" opened with an ocean of synth-y strings before diving into a dark '80s-dance bop. "Serious" recalls the times of Eurythmics and Pet Shop Boys, but doles out sugary melodies that are as addictive now as they were in 2004.
2. Cool - The '80s-inspired rock-pop single was Gwen at her most relatable, singing about past lover/No Doubt band mate Tony Kanal, but also showcasing how she could quickly move from impassioned crooning to her little "I know we're coo" quip. "Cool" is a reminder of how when the singer-songwriter getting honest, the results can be stunning, and majorly ups our anticipation for when This Is What the Truth Feels Like.
1. Hollaback Girl - Gwen Stefani's biggest hit is also her best. The mix of cheerleader stomps, schoolyard chants and riotous production grows in its bombastic nature, as its hook moves from an acoustic guitar to a woozy mash of synths and trumpets. The song is rather simple and silly, but with 100 percent certainty, no one else would sound as cool or convincing pulling off such a performance. Somehow, Gwen Stefani the solo artist successfully pulled off one of the weirdest singles of the 00s, and spent four weeks at No. 1 with it, making it the first song to sell a million digital downloads. "Hollaback Girl" is a reminder that when something is so obviously unique to an artist, people are forced to listen and undoubtedly respond.
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