Sadly, if “Settle Down” is an example of what listeners can expect from their new record Push and Shove (25 September 2012), then perhaps the band should quietly step back from the spotlight. No Doubt’s new single is upbeat and feel good, but the song seems almost amateurishly overproduced. While No Doubt has never been clean or polished in their style, they have always maintained a novel unique sound that has separated them from their colleagues.
“Settle Down”, in comparison, sounds like a karaoke session at a local chill spot rather than a fresh new single off a highly awaited album. The beat is annoying at best, and Gwen Stefani’s voice does nothing to soften the blow. The singer usually embodies a rock essence, and the influence is clear in “Settle Down”. The problem lies in the whiny voice Stefani lets rip on the chorus. The rhythm of her singing against the instrumentals also adds to the frustration, as it sounds like a children’s rhyme gone horribly wrong.
While you may find glimpses of Stefani’s natural tone on the track, they are unfortunately rare and simply cannot drown out the crashing thump of noisy production.
Let’s chalk this one up to the “acquired taste” category and hope that “Settle Down” is a one-time error on Push and Shove.