A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gwen Stefani's voice has a way of cutting through. Lyrics can be heard loud and clear, so parents who are sticklers for sexual innuendo (addressing complex sexual and relationship issues) and occasional four-letter words (mostly "s--t") will definitely notice them when they pop up. The "clean" version is well-produced, providing an alternative that's edited less clumsily than most.
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What's the story?
Not surprisingly, Ms. Stefani's clever phrasing and intelligent lyrics, along with her in-your-face delivery, are the stars of the show on her second solo album, THE SWEET ESCAPE. But the fun doesn't end there, as we move from the loopy counter-intuitive changes on "Wind It Up" (beginning with a bit of "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music), through a hypnotic bongo-beat on "Yummy," all the way through to the dance-club ambiance of "U Started It." Lyrics are quick-witted and contain a lot of heavy breathing, mostly dealing with the twists and turns of romantic entanglements.
Is it any good?
Quirky surprises, often involving the creative use of percussion and rhythm tracks, make this CD percolate and sizzle. Songs careens through a variety of statements and styles, including R&B, pop, and even musical theater influences. Though there's no breathtaking energizer like "Hollaback Girl" here, you'll still find a collection of worthwhile songs. Once again, Gwen Stefani has presented the world with a smart, passionate, and eclectic collection of tunes.
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