No Doubt | Tragic Kingdom


Family Average: 6/7

Hey hey all you people we have ourselves another throwback album. Recommended by our very own Patty this punk ska 90s gem has been around for quite some time. The question we are going to tackle is how has it held up?

Listen along on Spotify and read on to find out:


Time has come to bust out my plaid pants and Doc Martens Miss Gwen is here to rock our minds to pieces. Gosh I must have listened to this album about 100 times but only in pieces just hearing the songs out in the world. Having finally heard the songs all one after another I gotta say this thing is a hit parade. Also a cold reminder of all the horribly awkward amazing dance moves I have ever done in my entire life. “I’m Just A Girl In the World” you bet I am, I am also a boy who once had a serious love of ska music, its still there now and manifests itself in my love for bands like Jeff Rosenstock. This is another great “roots of my identity as a musician” album. Not much else I can say I would be curious to see how her solo albums hold up today.



In the mid 90's this was such a welcome change to the grunge and alt guy bands dominating the music industry. It was like, "Finally a Girl in the World!". They were really one of the major reasons ska music came to the forefront.  I think the fact that they didn't stick with straight ska helped immensely, giving them more mass appeal. Throughout the album you can hear the influences of Reggae, Pop, Rock and even the Blues. The album starts off with "Spider webs" and it's reggae vibe. The song is also such a great visual and you can really relate to it. "Excuse Me Mr.", is much more heavily ska but just as fun. Then there is "The Climb" which has a real bluesy sound to it. They constantly pivot on this album showing you more and more of their musical strengths. One of the most appealing aspects of this album is Gwen's lyrics, especially on songs like, "Just a Girl" and "Don't Speak". The lyrics, arrangements and vocals combined with the intense energy of this band is just amazing. Gwen really convey's that she is "Just a Girl" in the world and that she gets and communicates what we feel and experience.  
I was glad to revisit this album and was not surprised how well it stood up over time.



No Doubt. I believe this band does a nice job of blending different music genres they cross Reggae Sca with California Pop music and somehow make it appeal to most people. When you listen you can't help but remember all of the bands of that time period, such as  Mighty Mighty Bostons, Save Ferris, and the Chilly Peppers. I think this album, which was released in 1995 captures all of those sounds and brings you back to a very creative time in music. in the 90's all of the Grunge bands came on the scene, with their multi-band music festivals. Thankfully this put an end to the big hair bands of the late 80's. This band was a big part of all that.  Probably the most famous track on this disc is "Just a Girl" with its driving drum beat and killer vocals its hard to listen to this track and stay still. When you sample to the tracks "Don't Speak" and "Spiderweb" you are reminded that Gwen and Tony ( the Bass Player) were once a couple, and on this album, she pours her heart out to the world while he has to stand on stage and play along. I think their very public breakup led to the interest and admiration of this album. This not to take away the fact that the music was good really good. I remembered that the band toured a lot before this album and I think that contributes to their sound, even though this is a studio album it has that upbeat live sound quality to it.  



No doubt has a special place in my heart. I may have been two when this album came out, but the songs have been on constant rotation in the soundtrack of my life. Stefani's energy as a front woman is palpable, following in some serious Blondie-esque footsteps. Already, I’m sold. The band is a legacy of the punk era -- basically a third-wave 90's ska band -- but has a compelling mix of reggae and a bit of pop coursing through their veins. Essentially a break up album, it is a gold mine of singles I will happily sing along to at the top of my lungs regardless of relationship status. "Don't Speak"? Stunning. "Just a Girl"? Why, yes. Yes, I am. Mainstream and poppy enough to be top-40 radio hits, but with enough substance and style to resonate with all. The bass and the drum combos are so energetic that they vie for Ms. Stefani's place in the spotlight, but work together to create a fan-stinking-tastic good time. Always a pleasure. Always solid for karaoke (FYI).


Sean Maldjian