Single Review: Gwen Stefani “Hollaback Girl”

Hollaback Girl
Album: Love, Angel, Music, Baby.
Year: 2005

In the pep squad beats of “Hollaback Girl,” Gwen Stefani cockily declares she’s not any guy’s sloppy seconds.

Drums, mimicking marching band, tapped assertively in the background while Gwen chants that is her music. Except she cusses like she discovered it and thinks it’s so hot. She tells the girls to step to the beat (” Uh huh, this is my s***/All the girls stomp your feet like this”). Be prepared to hear it a lot. It will be said at least 34 times within the span of 3 minutes, 19 seconds.

She’s been picked over many times before. But this time, she’s not going to tolerate it. She’s not going to be girl a guy settles for after being rejected by someone else. (“A few times I’ve been around that track/So it’s not just gonna to happen like that/Because I ain’t no hollaback girl/I ain’t no hollaback girl”). After the second time the section is sung, synths flare and pop.

In the excessive-swearing-filler section, she says it’s her new music four times. Here, the keyboard is made to sound like a tuba. (“Ooooh ooh, this my s***, this my s***….”). It’s such a waste of excellent keyboard effects.

She confronts the girl who’s been gossiping about her. The girl saying she’s going to nab the guy because she’s hotter and cooler than Stefani. Stefani’s like, “I so heard what you said about me in gym today, bee-yotch.” Stefani says the whole popular clique is on her side.. Stefani says she’s going to kick the girl’s ass. Then, she tells the girl to stop hiding behind her pom-poms. (“I heard that you were talking s***/And you didn’t think that I would hear it/People hear you talking like that, getting everybody fired up/So I’m ready to attack, gonna lead the pack/
Gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out/That’s right, put your pom-poms downs, getting everybody fired up”).

Stefani challenges her to a schoolyard fight after school where they wouldn’t be any authority figures around to see it. She tells the girl she doesn’t have a chance against her. She’s going to give 110 percent and make her eat sweaty, leftover snacks-from-last-night’s-football-game dirt. She’s going to win! Cue Rocky theme. (“So that’s right dude, meet me at the bleachers/No principals, no student-teachers/Both of us want to be the winner, but there can only be one/So I’m gonna fight, gonna give it my all/Gonna make you fall, gonna sock it to you/That’s right I’m the last one standing, another one bites the dust”).

After the chorus and swearing section, she breaks into a vulgar, self-promoting cheer twice. Drum and handclaps accompany as Stefani. She calls for the crowd to say that the single is banananas, slang for meaning cool. She then spells the word. Then, she shouts it back louder. (“Let me hear you say this s*** is bananas/B-A-N-A-N-A-S/(This s*** is bananas)/(B-A-N-A-N-A-S/Again/This s*** is bananas/B-A-N-A-N-A-S/(This s*** is bananas)/(B-A-N-A-N-A-S”).

After the chorus and swearing section, the single ends with a campy fake tuba.

Stefani works really hard to appeal to teen girls. She has a detached, conceited tone in her vocals which come across as pitiful. Gwen Stefani wants to be cool so badly. She’s dressing in the latest styles and saying the up-to-the-minute slang. But she forgets the best dance pop singers don’t worry about being accepted. They naturally exude confidence in their music. A quality Stefani doesn’t have. The synth pop elements are the reason to the listen to the single. It’s a mix of 1980s dance mixed with modern R&B.

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