I was born in 1991, and thus had the blessing to grow up in the music-era defined by girls in belly shirts and baggy pants and white people with dreads and two-sizes-too-big jackets over everything. Some of these trends have died a well-deserved death, but the pioneers behind the style are still alive and kicking and re-entering the spotlight. Two of the biggest '90s/early-'00s bands, NO DOUBT and GREEN DAY are back with new singles and upcoming albums.
Gwen Stefani has had her time in the solo-spotlight -- if you don’t count the Harijuku girls always crowded behind her -- since 2004, but we’ve always known she does her best when backed by her No Doubt bros. The bleach-blonde California foursome just released their new single “Settle Down” onto the internet air-waves, representing the recovering ska collective’s first new music in over a decade, as a preview to their upcoming album Push and Shove.
No Doubt proves their effortless pop-magic with this Caribbean-esque catchy track, produced by Diplo, best known for working with M.I.A., Major Lazer, and Beyonce. As Stafani croons out “I’m fiiiine/Nothing’s gonna knock this girl down/I’m hella/positive for real” we hear the old girl standing up again. The music video is set to be directed by Sophie Muller, the genius behind the bizarre but wonderful 1996 “Don’t Speak” video -- featuring a sweat-dripping, Bindi-wearing Stefani doing push-ups like a badass. We’re so glad to have you back, lady.
In a related punk vein of the yesteryear, Green Day has reemerged with a new single called “Oh Love” and plans for an upcoming album trilogy called ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tre!, produced by Rob Cavallo (the man behind 1994’s Dookie).
Bassist and back-up vocalist Mike Dirnt recently told Rolling Stone that the band wanted to move past the politically-weighted lyrics of their last two albums, 2004′s American Idiot and 2009′s 21st Century Breakdown. A return to their '90s roots is in store.
“We were just thinking about making a killer power-pop record -– dirtier, back to basics,” he said. “We tapped into our version of Exile on Main Street.” And their single rings true of '90s riffs and Billie Joe Armstrong’s earnest singing.
Each album in the trio is set to have a different tone, from power-pop to garage rock to “epic,” as Armstrong told Rolling Stone. “With the first album you're getting in the mood to party. On the second one, you're at the party. And the third album you're cleaning up the mess."
Feels somewhat awkward now that we're all grown up (kinda). But at least now we don’t have to worry about getting grounded.