In this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly, No Doubt announced that it's about to release its first album in nearly 10 years (try not to fall over yourself with excitement). Bassist Tony Kanal explained: "We started writing in 2008. We spent that year trying to write, and we hit a block." The interviewer, very wisely, immediately asked what the block was. And vocalist Gwen Stefani responded: "Not writing songs. Like, going in and hitting your head against the wall for hours and feeling really bad about yourself for days and days."
Here's a thought, Gwen and Co.: If the music isn't coming naturally, maybe it shouldn't be coming at all. Like, maybe the music knows that we've all suffered enough with your last five albums and shouldn't have to deal with any more out of you. In preparation for this next round of what's likely to be pseudo-dancehall, ska-based, crossover-pop twaddle, here are five ways to keep yourself sane while listening to No Doubt.
1. Stick Your Head in a Bucket of Water
The purpose of this is twofold. Firstly, the water assists you in drowning out the noise. Secondly, while you're down there, it's the perfect environment to try and impersonate Gwen Stefani. Think about it -- the water provides you with both instantly nasal vocal sounds and a catastrophic warbling problem. Have fun in there. Important: Do not be tempted to drown yourself (even if "Don't Speak" starts playing).
2. Read a Book About Cultural Appropriation
It will make you really, really angry. And also arm you with the tools to dismantle Stefani's tendency to steal things from other cultures and suck all the meaning out of them. It started with her use of bindis and culminated in her horrifying objectification of four, permanently silent (or giggling), overtly-stereotyped Japanese women -- or her "Harajuki Girls," as she calls them. Sure, this was something she did for her solo career and not within No Doubt, But we're still horrified to the point of slack-jawed bemusement. We wonder what nationality she'll be treating like a handbag for the new album.