No Doubt Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness
No Doubt rode an incredible concoction of ska, new wave and Gwen Stefani’s diary entries to become one of the biggest bands of the alternative era. Today, we’re ranking the California group’s albums in order of awesomeness.
Originally formed by Gwen’s big brother Eric in the ’80s in Orange County, No Doubt slowly took shape as the band added the nimble bass playing of Tony Kanal, the blazing guitar of Tom Dumont and the potent percussion of Adrian Young – all while promoting young Gwen to frontwoman. Initially coming across as a third-rate Fishbone, No Doubt’s musical palette broadened as keyboardist Eric was supplanted as a creative force by Kanal, Dumont and his little sis.
In 1995, No Doubt would have its breakout moment with the band’s third album, Tragic Kingdom. The blockbuster record would establish the ska revival, but with a pop twist that placed the likes of “Just a Girl,” “Spiderwebs,” “Sunday Morning” and “Don’t Speak” on the charts and the radio. The album was so big, the band kept releasing singles from it all the way into 1998. By then, Eric was long gone, returning to his work as an animator on The Simpsons.
The coming years saw the band mature, both lyrically – as Gwen wrote about the struggles of a highly visible 30-something female rock star – and musically – as No Doubt embraced Jamaican dancehall, funk and techno while retaining its pop and punk sensibilities. After 2001’s Rock Steady, the group took a long break from recording. Although No Doubt would put out a singles collection (with a new cover of a Talk Talk tune) and intermittently tour, the rockers wouldn’t release another album for almost 11 years.
In the meantime, Gwen became a pop sensation with a slew of her own hits, while the guys worked on other projects. They eventually reconvened for the arduous process of putting together 2012’s Push and Shove, which failed to deliver the kind of comeback juice No Doubt had hoped for. Members have put the group’s future in doubt, as they are unsure they can still bridge their musical differences on record. Of course, that musical mix has always been one of No Doubt’s signature features.
While we wait to see what happens with the California quartet, we can take a look at the six records the group has made in its three-decade history.