Why is No Doubt’s Rock Steady on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Hey baby, it’s hella good, okay?
What does No Doubt’s Rock Steady mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Before I embarked on the lengthy research process for this here best 1,000 album ever project, I might have assumed that No Doubt’s 1995 album, Tragic Kingdom, would have landed somewhere in the “best” 1,000. It’s a good album… er, no doubt, but I did find chunks of it to be either a bit played out or dated. That being said, I retain fondness for hit songs such as “Spiderwebs” and “Sunday Morning,” and “Don’t Speak” is rather pretty.
And of course, that’s not even mentioning their monster hit, “Just A Girl,” which is all a reminder that this was a big time album in the mid-1990s, riding the waves of ska revival and alternative rock and riot grrrl attitude all at once, fronted in the form of new superstar Gwen Stefani.
Which is all prelude to stating that 2001’s Rock Steady is an even better album, #701 out of best 1,000 albums ever better, as a matter of fact. Rock Steady takes No Doubt’s core ska punk-meets-alt rock sound and pushes it into a more propulsive dance, hip hop, and rocksteady-influenced direction.
I’m an enormous fan of “Hella Good” and “Hey Baby,” both songs that I listened to a lot in the early 2000s on mix CDs, at the gym, during those early freewheeling peer-to-peer days. “Hella Good” has an absolutely crushing hook and dance beat, while “Hey Baby” hovers on the cusp of being an oddball novelty song but quickly you forget that and you’re all, “Hey baby hey baby hey!” instead. In other words, it works.
While I don’t think “Underneath It All” gets to the emotional depth that “Don’t Speak” achieved, it’s a very pretty slowed down and reggae-influenced number with some nice subtle keyboard effects to keep things interesting.
“Platinum Blonde Life” leans into the band’s hard rock and pop punk chops to very nice effect.
Some stats & info about No Doubt – Rock Steady
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? SoCal Bands, Ska Punk, Rock Music, Third Wave Ska Revival, Alternative Rock, Dance Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Rock Steady released? 2001
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #706 out of 1,000
No Doubt’s Rock Steady on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.