one of my all time favourite bands released one of me all time favourite albums of the last decade in 2001 with Rock Steady, a perfect blend of electronica pop, Dancehall,Raggae,Ska,Hip Hop and Dance Pop with a fantastic New Wave twist almost effortlessly transforming what could have appeared somewhat generic or unhinged transformed itself on one disc into what i would call a modern masterpiece!
Rock Steady is the 5th full studio album by No Doubt and this is the album that certified me as a fan WAY back when i was about 9 years old! i loved that raw energy Gwen Stefani had with her vocals, and the synthy deep basslines in their songs and that pure nonsensical vibe each song has on here that makes this album flourish with colour and depth to the lyrics which get you to either relate to or just propel one's self to the dancefloor and boggie yourself senseless!
Hella Good is for me the most HUGEST sounding dance anthem of the recording, produced by Pharrel and the Neptunes and Nelle Hooper(a future collaborator on Gwen's L.A.M.B and Sweet Escape solo albums) with a very huge Madonna synth vibe dance anthem like Into The Groove or Dress You Up in terms of the fact that the lyrics are really belted out while the dark synth grooves motivate you to just groove out to the song! Hey Baby shows reggae and Dancehall influences and was also a major hit here in the UK very pulsating and very anthemic!
What i also love is that William Orbit who collaborated with Madonna on her sensational Ray Of Light(1998) and Music(2000) albums works here with ND on a hidden gem called Making Out and you can really tell the influence from those aforementioned albums on this song, Gwen's vocals have similarities to Madonna's in itself but Orbit's Trance/Electronica style is present and really elevates this song above what it should be, it's a sensational listen it really is!
we also later on garner collaborations with Prince on the unusually artistic sounding Waiting Room, and a further few Nellee Hooper productions such as the mesmerising Running, the mini-epic Detective, In My Head and of course the title track Rock Steady which incorporates some unusual slow Dub sounds along with edgy House styles.
Rock Steady is an album which is elemental in every sense of it's description and indeed ranks as one of the all time greatest albums made in the 00's decade, i even personally rank it higher than the AMAZING Tragic Kingdom. Unfortunately Rock Steady debut outside of the Top 40 albums chart! despite the success of it's singles which makes the album something of an underrated masterpiece but has since in 9 years of release shipped a grand total of 6 million album units worldwide (their second highest after the 18 million selling Tragic Kingdom!).