The girl-power anthem “What You Waiting For?” urges women to “take a chance” and fulfill their dreams. On “Cool” Stefani and her ex-boyfriend manage to stay friends. She cleverly samples Fiddler on the Roof’s “If I Were a Rich Man” to say that a guy’s love is more valuable than infinite wealth (“Rich Girl”). “Long Way to Go” argues that love should be color-blind.
A purring sex kitten promises her date a back-seat encounter on the innuendo-ridden “Bubble Pop Electric.” Stefani’s addiction to her man is compared to that of a free-baser on “Crash,” another eroticized melody equipped with panting and groaning (“Crash and do me real hard”). “Serious” and “The Real Thing” are less explicit but still imply sex between unmarried lovers. Liner photos show the singer sitting spread-eagle in very short shorts and a racy tank top. A mild profanity and the expression “stupid ho” show up on “What You Waiting For?” The s-word gets repeated ad nauseam on “Hollaback Girl,” which finds a student challenging a high school rival to a fight under the bleachers.
This is the first solo disc for Stefani, who gave voice to the ska/pop band No Doubt. Now she’s combining funky tween pop with a Madonna-esque image makeover most apparent in her erotic lyrics and risqué CD pix. Good moments, but the bad girl takes the fore.