Gwen Stefani: This Is What Truth Feels Like review – calculated, careerist pop

(Interscope)

Pop music has always been about smoke and mirrors, but Gwen Stefani’s third solo album feels particularly calculated. On the strength of its songs, it’s hard not to see it as a cynical vehicle for her newfound primetime position on the US version of The Voice and her high-profile relationship with fellow judge Blake Shelton: they are weaker than a hinge on one of those swivel chairs. A team of Sia/Katy Perry/Adele hitmakers have been drafted in to forklift Stefani’s sound to similar heights, but the result is a familiar storyboard of proven radio formulas: Bieberish dancehall-house on Send Me a Picture, Zedd-aping tropical disco-house on Rare; Make Me Like You lives by the disco stomp you’ve heard everywhere since Get Lucky and the popular trap trimmings reign supreme, as on the Fetty Wap-adorned Asking 4 It. Only reggae-lite skank Where Would I Be hints at Stefani’s once playful personality. But the truth is that this feels like little more than careerist chart fodder.

Watch a video for Misery by Gwen Stefani

Contributor

Kate Hutchinson

The GuardianTramp

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