album review, Freak Flag, Gwen Stefani, imaginary friends, long live rock 'n' roll

This is What the Truth Feels Like {Album Review}

What’s my go-to karaoke song? Glad you asked. I have more than one.

Just like every other person with a pulse I love to rock Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive”, but I really and truly love to sing everything by No Doubt.

I was a Gwennabe at heart back in the day, though I never went platinum blonde myself. The first time I saw Gwen Stefani on MTV in the “Just a Girl” video, I knew she was my people. Though I was a grunge girl and seriously in love with Eddie Vedder (I still love you, Eddie), Gwen spoke to me and others like me who weren’t so tomboyish we didn’t want to be girls but not so girly that we didn’t love a good combat boot. And that she was a chick fronting a band of dudes? Kick ass.

I didn’t get to see No Doubt in concert until 2001 when they opened for U2 in Las Vegas because I spent most of the 90s being too poor to go to concerts. We saw them again in 2002 — twice that year, I think? Since then, Gwen Stefani has come out with two solo albums and her newest album, This is What the Truth Feels Like, came out last week.

Gwen Standard Album Cover

Much has changed since “Just A Girl” — Gwen and I both got married and had babies. (We were even pregnant with our firstborn kiddos at the same time. I’m pretty sure that makes us best friends.) Neither Gwen nor I are the angsty girls we were in the 90s. But at our core, we are still the same girls we were then, despite all the changes and challenges of the last 20 years or so. How do I know this about Gwen, whom I’ve never met? She lays it all out in her songs.

Gwen Stefani Press Shot 2

One of the reasons I loved listening to my No Doubt albums was the stories the lyrics told. If you are familiar with “Don’t Speak” and the history of the band, you know the lyrics for the song were inspired by a breakup. Apparently breakups make for good song writing.

*Please hold my coffee while I give you a middle-aged mom review of a middle-aged mom’s new album.*

This is What the Truth Feels Like feels a bit more like a No Doubt album that Stefani’s previous solo efforts in that those albums felt more like a celebration of pop and dance music. Fun for fun’s sake (B-A-N-A-N-A-S, anyone?). Not that the new album doesn’t have a dance/pop feel, but the storytelling in the lyrics brings me back to some of the songs on Tragic Kingdom and especially Return of Saturn.

Used to Love You” is a perfect breakup song (or heartbreak song?) and it sticks in your head. Despite the fact that Gwen is a middle-aged mama like me, she’s penned a song that anyone who’s ever had a rough breakup can relate to, regardless of age. But this isn’t a sad album; she just as perfectly captures the feelings of new love on this album. The disco-pop “Make Me Like You” is another ear worm song, but this one will make you shake your booty.

Overall, This is What the Truth Feels Like is a fun album with truthful lyrics that longtime Gwen Stefani fans will appreciate. The dance/pop feel makes it a perfect album to put on when you are cleaning up after your kiddos or washing your husband’s stinky gym clothes. It may also make you remember that even 40-something mamas can experience those feelings of new love you felt twenty plus years ago…whether you are starting a new relationship or renewing an old one.


Buy Gwen’s new album at Target here or on iTunes here.

I participated in this sponsored album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided the album to review but all opinions are my own.

My concert pics from back in the day:

Gwen singing to us in Sunrise, FL in 2002 (image likely captured by a disposable camera)
Gwen singing to us in Sunrise, FL in 2002 (image likely captured by a disposable camera)
Gwen showing us her push up skillz during the opening vamp of "Just a Girl" in Sunrise, FL in 2002
Gwen showing us her push up skillz during the opening vamp of “Just a Girl” in Sunrise, FL in 2002