While light on answers, “Six Feet Under” asks the right questions as it ponders the brevity of life. Self-disclosure is used to make positive1statements about deceptiveness, insecurity, and stubbornness. Lead singer Gwen Stefani bares her soul on “Artificial Sweetener,” lamenting a deceitful heart. Similarly, she wants to put away a “counterfeit disposition” and be more genuine with people on “Magic’s in the Makeup.” Traditional marriage and family are placed on a pedestal (“Simple Kind of Life,” “Marry Me”). On “Dark Blue,” Stefani tries to encourage the hurting man she loves who is “stained from previous days.” “Home Now” desires togetherness, noting that true intimacy can’t be built without it (“And to make it real/I need to have you here”). Protecting oneself through “moderation loving” is a dead-end street; risking heartache is essential on the quest for sincere love (“Suspension Without Suspense”).
Minor. A few songs find Stefani complacent about the grip envy and jealousy have on her.
Transparent lyrics explore common struggles and desires without exploiting the angst and sexual self-discovery so common in today’s music. Very refreshing! Families should remember, however, that Stefani has been known to intentionally shock fans by shouting obscenities during live performances. Let’s hope she’s gained control of her stage persona, because the band’s first release since 1996’s Grammy-nominated Tragic Kingdom marks a great Return.