Album: Rock Steady
According to MTV.com, Gwen Stefani observes her male bandmates fooling around with groupies in the plodding reggae-lite “Hey Baby”
Stefani’s breathy “hey baby” starts the song. After the phrase is echoed, Stefani begins the first verse. She’s a guy’s girl. A majority of her close friends are male and she is usually the token girl in the group. She’s interested in fashion and cosmetics. Girls arrive backstage wearing skimpy clothing and complimenting her bandmates. (“I’m the kinda girl that hangs with the guys/Like a fly on the wall with my secret eyes/Takin’ it in, try to be feminine/With my makeup bag watchin’ all the sin/Misfit, I sit….Everybody else surrounded by the girls/With the tank tops and the flirty words”).
She’s drinking by herself and uninvolved in the sexual activity going on around her. Then, some weird guy interrupts her thoughts, saying he talks to her mother and went to the same high school as Stefani did. (“I’m just sippin’ on chamomile/Watching boys and girls and their sex appeal/With a stranger in the face who says he knows my mom/And went to my high school”).
In the chorus, Stefani repeats the general phrase her bandmates and the groupies use to flirt over and over again. She points out her bandmates usually pick the girls they find to be the most good-looking. (“All the boys say/Hey Baby, Hey Baby, Hey/Girls Say, Girls Say/Hey Baby, Hey Baby, Hey….All the boys get the girls in the back”).
The groupies find their inspiration from her. They dress and act like her to impress her bandmates. However, they need to give up a bit of their self-respect first and fawn over the bandmates before they are even considered worthy of attention. If the groupies are lucky enough, they’ll make it into her bandmates’ dressing rooms and then brag about it to their friends.
Stefani defends her personality and says she’s the same person, pre-fame. Even though the song’s not really about her to begin with. She notices her bandmates loving the adulation they are receiving from the groupies. (“I’m the one they feed upon/Give a bit a star is born/And if you’re hot enough you’ll get the pass/And you can tell your friends how you made it back/No matter what they say I’m still the same…And all the girls wanna get with the boys/And the boys really like it”).
Reggae singer Bounty Killer makes his appearance midway through the single. He says his name and namechecks No Doubt. After a long night of being on stage, he wants to a groupie for a nightcap. He tells them there’s no need to make up a lie to hang out with him backstage. Everyone knows why they are there – and it’s not to give him his water. (“Check it out, it’s Bounty Killer, and No Doubt/Jump on the stage makes me goin’ crazy/Afterwards myself and one of them gorgeous ladies/There is no need to be actin’ shady/Comon baby, hey hey baby”). He repeats what he just said to take up time which could’ve been spent with different lyrics.
He adds that they he likes how one particular groupie moves her hips. For that reason, he picks her to be his favorite. (“When you rock your hips you know that it amaze me/Got me off the hook and nothing else don’t phase me/Can you be my one and only sunshine lady…”).
Gwen sings the pre-chorus again (“I’m just sippin’ on chamomile…and went to my high school”). Then, the chorus is sung again for a minute to end the single.
“Hey Baby” has an entertaining topic (backstage behavior of bands). However, it goes on for too long. The chorus should’ve been shortened and the Bounty Killer section taken out completely. It would’ve gone from tedious to tolerable.