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Gwen Stefani started out in band No Doubt in the 90's, and then decided to go solo later on in her career, her second solo album, The Great Escape is a great listen and miles away musically from where she started in No Doubt, as there is a much more pop rnb feel to it than No Doubts more punk music.
The Great Escape can be bought in most good music stores for around £5 to £10, this is a great price for such a great album.
The track listing on this album is as follows:
1.) Wind it Up
2.) The Sweet Escape
3.) Orange County Girl
4.) Early Winter
5.) Now That You Get It
6.) 4 In The Morning
9.) Break'in Up
10.) Dont Get It Twisted
11.) U Started It
12.) Wonderful Life
13.) Wind It Up (Harajuku lovers version)
Wind It Up
This was one of the more popular tracks on this album and done well when it was released as a single, it is a bit of a funky and fun kind of song and is one of my favourites off the album.
The Sweet Escape
This was also a very popular track on this album and is a very good song, its about escaping and making everything better in your life and relationship, though its a very fun song. This song is worth a listen too and did very well when it was released.
This is a fun and sexy song, that is a bit strange but still really good, its just about feeling good about yourself and finding yourself a partener. Also Pharell features in this track.
There is one song in this album that I just cant stand and thats Early Winter, this is a more slow and boring song, that I just find myself skipping every time it comes on.
This is a great album and worth the money as there are some great tracks on it, though I wouldnt say it is as good as her previous album Love Angel Music Baby, it still is worth a listen to, especially if you are a fan of Gwen Stefani and her music.
I've been obsessed with No Doubt (particularly Gwen Stefani) since a young age. It took me a while to get used to the idea of her going solo and doing a 'dance record' but L.A.M.B, Gwen's first album, was fantastic.
Gwen has mentioned that one of the main reasons she recorded the Sweet Escape was to use up a couple of songs that were left over from the first album, mainly 'Wonderful Life'. Apparently she had to choose between this and the massive hit 'Hollaback Girl'. I don't see why they couldn't have had both, but record companies work in funny ways. And although this album is a bit hit and miss, I'm glad she recorded it and went out on the road again, this time touring Europe, which gave me a chance to see her.
The best songs on the album by far are 'Early Winter', which was written by Keane (I believe) and is a beautiful heart wrenching ballad, and Gwen's vocals some of the best she's ever recorded. The closing track 'Wonderful Life' is a haunting, electro pop song about her first boyfriend who commited suicide, and is a great song to round off the album.
Otherwise, the album is quite hit and miss and doesn't hang together very well. You get the feeling that this album was thrown together quite quickly, and there are too many producers and different things going on. Gwen likes to mix up different styles and is usually very good at this but has missed the mark slightly with this album.
The first single (and opening track) 'Wind it Up' is quite random, a bit catchy but also annoying. The lyrics are terrible and I don't think it represents Gwen very well as a recording artist, or even as a human being! Why they released this song as the first single and not 'Wonderful Life' or 'Early Winter' is beyond me.
The album is quite listenable and catchy but you will probably get bored with it fairly quickly. Apart from the couple of stand out tracks of course :)
I used to be quite a big No Doubt fan and was somewhat dubious when Gwen decided to pursue a solo career, yet she seems to have done pretty well for herself. This album saw her exploring some new sounds; the album is a mixed bag of events.
Who is she:
Leggy US singer Gwen used to front ska pop rock combo No Doubt before launching a solo career. She has also branched off into fashion.
The opening song is quite simply hideous. 'Wind It Up' can be best be described as a yodelling nursery rhyme. It samples 'The Sound Of Music' and it really is obnoxious. Gwen's vocals work fine and she manages to deliver on the notes, but the tune just makes you grit your teeth and pray for it to end. The track is just too novelty based for me and it is one I would pass over.
'The Sweet Escape' pairs her with Akon, who was 'in fashion' at the time. I always find it a shameless cash in when singers rope in whichever urban male is big at the time, just to do a quick cameo on the song. Akon delivers some shrill high notes and the song borderlines on the farcial. Despite this, the nagging melody will get into your head even if it is annoying.
I prefer 'Early Winter' which is an astute and pleasing mid tempo number. Gwen's vocals are softer here and there is a real sense of sympathy and calm in her voice. The tune is mellow and conjures up images of woodland walks and kicking through crunchy leaves.
'Now That You Got It' is an interesting affair, heavily reggae tinged, It calls to mind the work of Aswad and Eddy Grant with vibrant Carribean rhythms. Her vocals are quite processed though and sound synthetic in parts. The track is lifted by a bright performance from Damien Marley though, who injects the track with little rays of sunshine with fluid rap sections.
'4 In The Morning' is one I enjoy, with a steady pace to it and sweet and timid vocals from Gwen. She sounds fragile and lost on this one and the sorrowful verses swoop neatly into a bracing chorus, the kind of song which you could have imagined Madonna tackling about ten years or so back.
12 tracks on the album, bold and classy artwork and enough potent moments to make it a worthy listen, but let down by a reliance on more novelty sounding songs. She does excel at the ballads though.
A good follow up album (The sweet escape) for the ex no doubt singer.I honestly feel this sweet escape album has a lot more substance and variety than her debut album L.A.M.B. it definately has a lot more to offer the listener in terms of variety,individuality.
This is a progressive sounding album that has a wide variety of tracks on offer,from yummy,the catchy and fun song produced by pharell williams, to the hugely popular singles such as the sweet escape feat akon,and 4 in the morning,a more slow/ballad type song,this shows that Gwen Stefani isnt afraid to try new sounds and styles,and to mix it up a little bit.
The whole album offers a different vibe and energy,its hard to sum it up in words what this album has to offer,but its definately unique and most likely different to anything you have heard before.
I also feel this album shows a more creative side of Gwen Stefani,where as I feel her debut album just sounded more like a spin off of No doubt.
This is definately an experimental and eclectic sounding album that is entertaining to say the lest to listen to. Even though it is not the lengthiest of albums its still very enjoyable and interesting to listen to.
Having been a massive fan of Gwen and No doubt from the early 90s i was very happy to learn that she was branching out by herself.
The sweet escape is her 2nd solo album from the awesome best seller "Love angel music baby"
This album shows a natural progression in song writing and musical style from her first solo record. 1st single from the record was the ever so addictive urban dance number "Wind it up" which featured the famous yodle from "The sound of music", also features the massive worldwide smash single "Sweet Escape" featuring Akon. And the amazing power ballad "Early Winter"
This album has so many gems on it ranging mainly from pop and dance but as this is a Gwen project there will always be a Regga vibe thrown in for good measure.
Gwen took this album on the road over the previous year to a massive sold out audience, proving this album is a great seller and a must for any fan of Ms Stefani. Lets hope for a 3rd!!!
Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape
I've been a No Doubt fan since I was 11 so it's no surprise that when Gwen Stefani went solo that I followed. Her debut album came out in 2004 and was called Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Her second album came out in 2006. She called it 'The Sweet Escape'
* A bit of History about Gwen *
Gwen Renée Stefani was born on 3 October 1969. That makes her 38 years old. I think she looks fab for her age. She was born in Fullerton, California, United States. In many way, she is an all American girl. An orange county girl but in so many ways, she's not.
Her brother Eric asked her to join No Doubt, a Ska band, in 1986 and she shared lead vocals with John Spence until he committed suicide. Alan Meade took over vocals for awhile after that but he left the band. That's when Gwen Stefani became the true lead singer of No Doubt. The band was finally signed by Interscope Records in 1991. They released two albums before their third album "Tragic Kingdom" shot them to fame. They went on to have many hits and released many albums. The last record, they released together was "It's my Life" in 2003. She decided to start a solo career in 2004 with the help of former bandmate Tony Kanal. Originally, it was meant to be a quick dance record but turned into an album called Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Her second album came out in 2006. She called it 'The Sweet Escape'. This is the album that I'm reviewing.
* The Sweet Escape *
The front cover of the album is Gwen looking very style and sleek. Compared to her debut album, it gives her an air of sophistication.
"Wind It Up" is the first song on the album. When this got released as the first song off her new album, I absolutely hated it. I thought "What the hell was she thinking when she came up with this?" I know Gwen likes to experiment but had she lost the plot? For one, I do not like "The Sound of Music." The tune was annoying, it had this strange yodelling song and it was too repetitive, every other line was "Wind up". The music is upbeat, slightly like a marching song, it's catchy making you tap your foot to it even when you don't like it. Slowly as the weeks went on, it grew on me but still to this day it's my least favourite song on the album.
"The Sweet Escape" is another one of those songs that I didn't like when it was first released. I didn't like woohoo bits that Akon sings. It was/is annoying. The rest of the song is very poppy, upbeat, nice to listen to and I love it. It's funny how you love one bit of a song and hate another bit of a song. She should have left it the way it was and not collaborated with Akon.
"Orange County Girl" is a trip down memory lane with Gwen. It's about her life in her small town and that's just an ordinary girl. It's very bouncy with a hip hop style to it. The lyrics are catchy, it just makes you want to sing along to it.
"Early Winter" is my favourite of this song. It's intimate song that touches me in so many ways. When I close my eyes, I see myself looking out the window and it's snowing. It's such a beautiful song. The lyrics are spot on. 'Why do you act so stupid and 'You know I'm always right' make me smile. The music has a relaxing keyboard sound to it. My fiance loves this song too. It's our song now.
"Now That You Got It" is another song with a hip hop slant on it. Also another song with that military style to the song. It's Gwen experimenting again. It's got some great lyrics in it but I just feel that it was made for the sake of it. It's a novelty song, just a space filler. Yes, I still sing along to it but I sing along to a lot of meaningless pop songs. Me sings along to it doesn't qualify it as a good song. It's not bad but not great.
"4 In The Morning" is another favourite of mine and also one of Gwen's favourite too. It's a lovely R n B song with a hint of poppy-ness. It shows the softer side of Gwen just like "Early Winter". It does have a slight 80s feel to it. She really sings this song with passion and love. The lyric have real meaning to me and it was an instant hit with me.
"Yummy" is ruined by Pharrell's boring monologue bits. I love the beat to this song. It's a feel good song, really light-hearted but when Pharrell cuts in, the song becomes annoying. It's like he's bored. It's like he says everything because he's getting paid not because he's excited to be producing a record with Gwen. He sounds like he's not even interested in what he is saying and that makes me not interested in what he is saying. Cut that bit out and the song would be 10 times better. The lyrics are bit strange too. This song I usually just have on in the background because it's great background music.
"Fluorescent" is another 80s sounding song on the album. Madonna-esque/ No Doubt style. It's emotionally touching and fun at the same time. It's got a great beat to it and it talks about wedded bliss that she was experiencing at that moment.
"Breakin' Up" has a brilliant beat to it and is very catchy. It's the harshest song on the album. The lyrics are very modern and they have a double meaning. "We're breaking up" and "I hate it when the signal drops on my cell phone" is it that the couple are breaking up or is the signal on the phone that is breaking up. It's good song but not the best song on the album.
"Don't Get It Twisted" is another song that I wasn't too sure of. I'm not completely convinced that it's a good song. The lyrics are talking about discovering that she was pregnant. It tries to be innovative by using different music styles and mixing it with different beats but it just seems a bit of a mess. Maybe the different music styles were meant to reflect the roller-coaster ride she was feeling when she discovered that she was pregnant but it just didn't work.
"U Started It" is another simple but effective tune. Not as good as "Early Winter" and "4 in the morning" but it's another look at the intimate side of Gwen. She looks tough but sometimes she does give in and this is reflected in her lyrics.
"Wonderful Life" is a song that should have been on her debut album or at least as the first track of the album. It feels like it's been forgotten about and stuck on the end of this album but don't get me wrong this is a song not to be ignored. It's a beautiful moving ballad. Another favourite of mine. It's a feel good song. It makes me smile.
There's two other tracks on the album. A live version of "Wind It Up" and another version of "Orange County Gir"l.
* Overall Opinion *
My mum bought me for Christmas 2006 and it's taken me nearly a year to appreciate it. A lot of the songs have to grow on you. Also it seems like nearly all my favourite songs on this album has been co-produced by Tony Kanal. My top three on the album are "Early Winter", "Wonderful Life" and "4 in the Morning". These are the softer songs, the ballads. I might be classed as boring as my top three doesn't have any of the songs that she experimented with but in most cases, the experimental songs didn't hit home with me on a musical or lyrical level. These three did. They made me feel something and they weren't just another pop/r n b single that was catch.
The album is a mixed bag but then again, everyone has their own opinion on music so my favourites, you might dislike and the ones that I dislike, you might love.
If you're a Gwen fan, buy the album as there will be a few songs that you like on it. If you didn't like Gwen's old stuff, then give it a try as it doesn't really sound like any of her No Doubt songs or even her debut album L.A.M.B. except for "Wonderful Life".
At the moment, Amazon is selling the CD for £4.97, which is good value for money even if you only like a few of the songs. In the high street stores like HMV, Zavavi, WH Smith, Woolies etc. You can find it for a range of prices.
If you're still not convinced to buy this album, go to Amazon.com (the US site) and listen to parts of the whole album to make a decision.
*Warning* There are explicit lyrics in Orange County Girl, Yummy and Don't Get It Twisted.
1. Wind It Up
2. The Sweet Escape
3. Orange County Girl
4. Early Winter
5. Now That You Got It
6. 4 In The Morning
7. Yummy Album Version (Explicit)
9. Breakin' Up
10. Don't Get It Twisted Album Version (Explicit)
11. U Started It
12. Wonderful Life
13. Wind It Up Live Version
14. Orange County Girl
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Wind It Up
2 The Sweet Escape - Gwen Stefani, Akon
3 Orange County Girl
4 Early Winter
5 Now That You Got It
6 4 In The Morning
7 Yummy - Gwen Stefani, Pharrell
9 Breakin' Up
10 Don't Get It Twisted
11 U Started It
12 Wonderful Life
13 Wind It Up
14 Orange County Girl