Our Jan/Feb 2018 cover star is the insanely eclectic, ineffable Gwen Stefani. I had a look at her musical evolution – it seems to tie in pretty well with her personal life. You can note changes in sound, style and also her absence from the scene during various periods. It’s cool knowing she’s human, but at the same time just such a powerhouse with emotional depth.

1995 – Don’t Speak

This track was released around the time Gwen Stefani and bandmate Tony Kanal broke up. It was part of the band’s third studio album, Tragic Kingdom. While No Doubt performed it globally, it’s hard to deny that most of us gave it our best in our bedroom mirrors with hairbrushes in hand.

1996 – Let Me Blow Your Mind

Is it just me or is it really hard to sit still as soon as this song starts? I mean, it’s got a fat beat and Eve’s opener is smooth. Her flow is actually very smooth throughout this track. Eve and Gwen Stefani collaborated again in 2004 with Rich Girl. If anything, the pirate themed music video is worth a watch. Somehow Gwen makes things worth cringing over seem passable. I’m okay with that.

2000 – Simple Kind of Life

I first heard this song in 2005 – half a decade after it was released. Gwen Stefani is so endearing here. Yes, she’s super edgy, but the lyrics are full of tenderness (and make great captions for Instagram posts). I’m not crying – you’re crying.

2001 – Underneath it All

Admittedly, Gwen really wanted a Ska revival. I have mixed feelings about that, well not mixed, but I’ll clap for her commitment to a cause.

2004 – What You Waiting For?

Send this track to your best friend (and yourself), purely based on the fact that she’s a ‘super-hot female’. This track makes anything seem possible. Not bad considering this is from the phase where Gwen had some trouble writing.

2006 – 4 in the Morning

She describes the period between 2007 and 2014 as ‘bad and blurry’. That time frame was the lead up to her divorce from Gavin Rossdale. We all cried, but like, Gwen deserves the best – and maybe that wasn’t Gav.

2012 – Settle Down

Settle Down is from No Doubt’s sixth studio album, Push and Shove. The album was released 10 years after the release of their fifth body of work, Rock Steady. This track is trippy, and the music video looks like a psychedelic truck driving through space. For something more somber and full of feels, listen to ‘One More Summer‘.

2014 – Spark the Fire

2014 is the year Gwen Stefani started working as a judge on The Voice. One of her co-judges at the time was Pharrell Williams, who she collaborated with in 2004 on their smash hit ‘Hollaback Girl‘. They ended up teaming up again – co-writing ‘Spark the Fire’.

2016 – Misery

At this stage, Gwen’s life looked a lot different than what it was a decade before. She’s basically a serial monogamist. She’s had two serious relationships: Tony Kanal for seven years and 2o years with Gavin Rossdale, the father of her three sons. The next part of her personal life is proof that things get better, even when it seems unlikely.

2017 – You Make it Feel like Christmas

She looks mad-happy in this music video, and personally that’s enough for me. I never quite pictured her as country, but she exudes sweetness. It looks like her and Blake Shelton have that cheesy-cringe kind of love that’s worth clapping for.

Meanwhile, you have a few more days to read Gwen Stefani’s cover story in our Jan/Feb 2018 issue. Grab a copy at your local news stand and prepare to be impressed. You can also check out her incredible style evolution (seriously, she has started so many trends) here. 

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