Orange County’s own Gwen Stefani reemerged last year on her solo music scene with her first single, “Baby Don’t Lie.” Later she showcased her single to the world, “Spark the Fire,” produced by Pharrell Williams.
As an ongoing No Doubt fan, my heart was worried and sank when I first heard “Baby Don’t Lie.” By the time I saw the title of her new song, my heart sank once again, and all I could think of was the new-wave track “Start the Fire,” from No Doubt’s Rock Steady album (2001). Yet, it is not fair to compare No Doubt with Gwen Stefani. They are two completely different bodies presenting music in their own way, best suited for the time.
I decided to put down the No Doubt comparison and just listen. I absolutely loved this track way better than Stefani’s first single that was released this year. It is immediately catchy and isn’t one of those songs that grow on you to appreciate.
The first 20 seconds of the song start off a little darker, as Stefani sings “Coming down / ooo I had a blast / you know what they say / the heart will never last,“ against a piano, similar to “What you waiting for?” but with a heavy melancholy ring.
Stefani then whispers, “You guys ready?” and it immediately picks up into a dance track that is exuding pure feminist encouragement through Stefani’s reggae pronunciation of fire. Stefani’s fast vocals give the song its energy, along with a backing of a steady and persistent beat. It has qualities that are reminiscent of “Hollaback Girl.”
Within the pumped lines of Stefani’s voice, she is proclaiming for her to stay above the crowd and for others to “get off her class” and style. By the second minute, we transition down to the same dark, heavy feel as the first 20 seconds of the song. Stefani’s voice is my favorite when it is at its coolest sprinkled with a side of attitude.
This is a track that made me hopeful for the rest of Stefani’s album. Once again, Stefani is able to produce an anthem for the Just the Girl’s in the world in a reinvented dance track to start the fire anywhere. As always, music evolves and you must evolve with it, but be true to yourself. We can all agree that the sprinkle of funk and feminism is all Stefani. “Who got the lighta?” Oh, Gwen, you got that lighter.