Stefani’s new single may appeal to dance crowd, but her usually powerful lyrics just miss

If you ask anyone alive in 2004, they can tell you how to spell “bananas” without hesitation, quoting pop singer Gwen Stefani’s famous tune “Hollaback Girl.” Ten years later Stefani strives to reestablish her place in the pop music world with single “Baby Don’t Lie”, released on October 20, 2014.

Stefani’s new single boasts the commonplace beats and synthetic harmonies of the dance songs commonly heard on popular radio stations. The song has the capacity to make anyone want to dance but the lyrics, unfortunately, are nearly meaningless. At one point Stefani sings, “I tell you know, I tell you know, I tell you know, why,” which does not make sense, grammatically or in context. The lyricists tried for powerful and accusatory but came out with artificial and ridiculous.

The music video follows the same pattern; the cons are more glaring than the pros. It begins by showing Stefani immortalized in black and white and spirals downward into a Wizard of Oz allusion. Stefani is swept up in a tornado of words and left in trippy desert with her own yellow brick road. She then starts dancing with creatures made out of unimpressive computer graphics while showing off a gold iPhone, Beats headphones, and Puma sneakers. While the video does show Stefani powerfully asserting her point of view,  it is painful to look at and focuses more on branding and popularity than the message of the song.

Courtesy of Go Moxie
Courtesy of Go Moxie

As a child, Gwen Stefani’s illustrious history in music made my childhood. Her career started as lead singer of the band No Doubt in 1986, one that produced such singles as “Just A Girl,” “Don’t Speak,” “Hey Baby,” and “Hella Good.”  From there, she went multi-platinum with two solo albums: Love.Angel.Music.Baby and The Sweet Escape.

On top of her music, Stefani recently had her third child, became a coach on the reality television show The Voice, and  works with four different fashion brands: L.A.M.B., World of Harajuku, GX, and DWP.

Balancing music and work challenges the singer, who explained her troubles in an interview with the Elvis Duran show: “It’s just been a really crazy journey, and I wanted to do new music to go along with the craziness and the idea was like there is actually no time. Like how and when? I have this newborn baby and I’m doing a tv show which I’ve never done before. It just ended up that we put this record together in the most amazing way, and everything was this wild goose chase and see what could come out of it.”

Listening to the song itself, anyone could get lost in the beat and synthetics, but the words demonstrate the song’s true purpose. It is a dance song with meaningless lyrics. Though she may be busy, I know Stefani can do better than “Baby Don’t Lie,” and at this rate I don’t think she will achieve the status of “Hollaback Girl” again.

The Chant‘s grade: C+

Look out for Stefani’s album of the same name in early 2015 and check out her website at: