25 July 2005

Is Gwen a Witch?

Gwen Stefani is my favorite woman in music these days, but I'm loath to admit it.

I've never been into especially thin, over made-up women, but Gwen does something to me. I resisted her from the start, well the semi-mainstream start anyway—Tragic Kingdom. I couldn't help but like the album, because the music was made with "genuine" instruments: guitars, drums, keyboards. Plus, Gwen carries a hefty stylistic range.

I watched her as an up-and-coming diva in a show with nothing but Rock divas like Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Joan Osborne, et. al.. Gwen really blew all of them away vocally, unless you prefer the gruff sounds of Joan and Sheryl over Gwen's sweet sounding melodics. They all sounded good together, but I digress.

Today, I saw a pallid picture of Gwen and a link to her video for "Hollaback Girl." I've had the unfortunate experience of being exposed to the local Top Forty station, so I'm familiar with Gwen's latest tune. The first time I listened, I didn't hear the layer beneath the sort of protest sound to the chanting of the song's title. Listening to it again later, I heard the sounds within. I hate to say it, but it's true; the song resonates with me in a "I-gotta-have-her-now" kind of way.

When I watched the video, I was thoroughly disappointed with it. Well, not exactly true. Gwen does some amazing things with her body as well, and she really mixes up the styles.

So, why don't I want to like Gwen Stefani? She continues to pursue hip hop when she's meant for so much more, so much better; however, where I'd like to say I think she's really gone downhill since not collaborating with No Doubt, she has had the opportunity to explore a variety of vocal expressions throughout her solo career.

I think I like the whole No Doubt thing, although, because it had a sound reminiscent of Rush. Sounds pretty nuts, eh? Listen to Tragic Kingdom and Farewell to Kings, or any other Rush album. I think Gwen has brought that sound with her, as many of her tunes contain some mark of "spaciness," by which I mean it sounds like Sci-Fi music.

So, why is a Gwen a witch? She cast a spell on me, of course. I don't want to desire repeat listens, because when I do, it makes the end of the song difficult. In the end, I kick myself for feeling like a man who just made love to a beautiful woman, mostly because of the source of the song: Top Forty? Please, I don't tune in this station willingly.

I admit, I'm a music snob.

I probably miss some gems not listening to Pop stations; I'm definitely falling out of the greater social conscious. I just catch the most widely advertised celebrities, because you must advertise a commodity before anyone will buy it. That's kind of the way I feel about wanting Gwen Stefani. She has sex appeal unlike most and I buy it. That's why I feel I shouldn't like her stuff. She's using melodics in the fashion of the sirens, only she's not deadly, or is she?


theresa said...

Gwen has had me bewitched for many years. It's because underneath the costumes and make-up she's genuine. It shows through her mouth and eyes. It's in her voice and the way she stands firmly on the earth.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I am going to be the ignorant one here. I am unfamiliar with Gwen's work (at least as far as I know). But you definately have me intrigued with your description. And I think we all have a little music snob in us, don't worry about that ; )


Kyle Stich said...

Theresa—Thanks for crystallizing my thoughts on Gwen; she does stand firmly on the Earth.

Shannon—It warms my heart that you aren't entrenched in culture synonymous with your age group. Gwen is worth checking out, but not really worth buying; she's too Pop at the time. Now, if she followed in Queen Latifah's footsteps and tried something completely different, then I might run out to buy some of her music.