Traffic Jams: No Doubt – ‘Spiderwebs’

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When you’re called upon to put in an offering for Skalopnik week, you better bring your best. And if the horns in this No Doubt ‘90s throwback doesn’t take you through the checkered-pattern gates of ska land, I honestly can’t help you.

You may have forgotten No Doubt was a ska band. It’s ok. It happens to the best of us after hearing decades of song plays on pop and alternative channels. Yet it’s the fanfare of trumpets and the low notes of the trombone and bass holding down the beat throughout the tracks of Tragic Kingdom, that tell a different story.

Today’s “Spiderwebs” was selected for that almost-immediate horn blast at the opening. It’s a notable chorus of sorts, imprinted in the depths of my memory and inviting all to enjoy a song worth skanking to.

And I mean, Tragic Kingdom as a whole is a bangin’ album — easy to put on repeat whether digitally, or on those CD-things we kids used to play with (I heard those are coming back again?) This is also the holy album that brought us “Just a Girl” and “Don’t Speak.

As a young girl of the ‘90s, No Doubt’s front-woman Gwen Stefani was someone you aspired to be or just outright idolized. She made for a refreshing palette cleanser to the overtly “sexy girl next door” image painted by rising pop stars like Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Mandy Moore. Stefani was tough, fun, and still beautiful — and could still play with the boys. Add in some checkered Vans, platinum blonde locks and those trademark red-stained lips — and damn.

No Doubt has been dormant for quite some time while Stefani went on to have a successful solo career, noting “Hollaback Girl,” “The Sweet Escape,” and more recently “Let Me Reintroduce Myself.” She also left her rocker husband Gavin Rossdale, and married country boy Blake Shelton. The latter portion of that is still perplexing to me, but in a way it showcases Stefani’s ability to adapt and explore narratives in her life and music.

Now that I’ve gushed about my super major girl crush, Stefani… I’m gonna grab my pair of checkered Vans, put on some stellar eyeliner, and go sing into a hairbrush to No Doubt.

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