Gwen Stefani Disappoints on This Is What the Truth Feels Like

Featured Image Still from “Used to Love You” Video

Gwen Stefani‘s third studio album This Is What the Truth Feels Like came out at a time when many questioned the truth behind all of the tabloids circulating around her crumbling and budding relationships. The chaos and uncertainty are captured in the album in an almost fabricated way, with many tracks sounding like they were engineered to be marketed, and not for musical expression. It has been ten years since her last album and expectations were high, although not met.


Album Art courtesy of the Artist

The sound of No Doubt that many fell in love with Stefani for is apparent in different forms. Unfortunately, the first track does not. “Misery” is a breakup song that starts with soft, lower vocals that signal the emotional heartbreak. As the chorus hits, the vocals are strained in a pained way that depicts misery, but slightly overdone. The lyrics seem relatable to a teenager; not a mature woman going through life changes. Had she used a less bright timbre in her upper range, the emotion might have spoken through. Even the way the lyric video is presented seems like something out of MTV’s Awkward. The same could be said about “Truth,” which unfortunately is sort of a title track.

“Where Would I Be” does have has reggae representation that brings back the beloved No Doubt characteristics. The track has a chill vibe and the bridge adds classic Gwen Stefani fun with some peppy vocals. The vocal decent in the chorus is unique and pleasant. “Make Me Like You” is dreamy and romantic unlike the rest of the album. This track was performed live and recorded during the GRAMMYs as a music video. These tracks keep the album from becoming monotonous.

Used To Love You” is the lead break up single from the album released in October 2015. The lyrics are heartbreaking and painful, especially in the chorus when she sings “I don’t know why I cry but I think it’s because I remembered for the first time since I hated you that I used to love you.” The cracking in her vocals, whether strategic or naturally occurring, conveys an emotional breakdown brilliantly. This track is the most emotionally biting on the album.

Some tracks, however, beg for relevance. “Red Flag” sounds overdone during the “rap” section, but the vocals are good elsewhere. “Asking 4 It” starts with vocals by hip-hop star Fetty Wap, which continues sporadically in the background as Stefani enters. The strong synth in the verse contrasts with the soft synth in the bridge, which gradually grows into a fun hip hop vibe chorus. The parts of the song sung by Fetty Wap are fresh and what people want to hear. She really could not go wrong choosing to work with Fetty Wap, who has been rising to the top as of late. “Naughty” has attitude that is representative of the strong female Gwen Stefani represents, but sounds too much like it’s trying too hard to be relevant. The reggae-esque verse doesn’t match the chorus that is not singing, but a sprechstimme. The overall result is a confusing imbalance.

The biggest downfall of this album is the overly dramatic, extremely public personal life of Gwen Stefani that was woven into the content of this album. If it wasn’t for tabloid stories being shoved down our throats on a near-daily basis, the album could have seemed genuine but it seems like it was a ploy to get the album more limelight. While the sentiment is strong, not much of the actual music is memorable. The peppy, explosive Gwen Stefani got buried in the post-breakup and, in turn, the album lost some sense of fulfillment.

What did YOU think of This is What the Truth Sounds Like? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

1 Comment

  1. kathe

    March 24, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    I cannot take any review of this album seriously, when they say ‘Misery’ it’s a breakup song. I don’t understand how’s there any doubt that is a happy song. Even Gwen said that is one of the happy ones. It’s a flirty song about longing to be with someone she connected recently. As for the rest, Gwen has always share her life in her lyrics on an extremely honest level, Always!(simple kind of life, bathwater, the real thing, 4 in the morning, to name a few) only now she gets judge for it because of tabloids, that makes no sense, she’s doing what she has always done lyrically and Fans had always appreciate her honesty and I can assured you we are not disappointed by it, But I guess time will tell and she is currently at #1 so.. that is an answer.

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