No band capitalized on the ska revival of the 1990s quite like No Doubt. Finding a sweet spot between modern rock and Top 40 audiences, No Doubt sold more than 15 million copies of their 1995 release, Tragic Kingdom.
So you can hardly blame ex-No Doubt vocalist Gwen Stefani for seeking a bridge between alt-anything and chart-friendly standards on her second solo album, The Sweet Escape.
Unfortunately for Stefani, times have changed. Modern rock has died and given way to indie, which refuses to cross-pollinate with commercial pop (yeah, there is that Gnarls Barkley exception).
That leaves Stefani plowing the fields of rap and adult-alternative in search of a hybrid. She chants her way through "Yummy" with a vocal style reminiscint of Fergie and collaborates with Keane pianist Tim Rice-Oxley on "Early Winter."
The resulting tracks, while not unpleasant, offer nothing original. Might as well download Fergie and Keane and let your iPod shuffle.