No Doubt are back and partying like they never left. That’s the big takeaway from “Settle Down,” the lead single from the band’s upcoming sixth studio album, Push and Shove. Packed with reggae beats, steel drums and Gwen Stefani’s unmistakable voice, the song is a showcase for the island sound the band pursued on their last studio album, 2001’s Rock Steady.
The six-minute track begins with a lengthy string arrangement before the beat kicks in and Stefani arrives to tell us to “Get in line, and settle down.”
“Settle Down” is classic No Doubt and sticks closely to the formula that made the band one of the biggest of the late ’90s and early aughts. They are again working with the signature ska sound they pioneered, and lyrically, the song plays right into the tough-girl posturing Stefani has delivered both with the band and, more recently, as a solo act.
“I’m fine (and nothing’s gonna knock this girl down)/ I’m hella positive for real, I’m all good,” Stefani sings. “I’m fine (and nothing’s gonna knock this girl down)/ It’s gotten complicated that’s for sure.”
She goes on to assert, “I’m a rough and tough, I’m a rough and tough/ And nothing’s gonna knock this girl down.”
The song’s catchy, sing-along chorus is reminiscent of ND’s biggest earworm singles (think “Spiderwebs”), and Stefani is as lively and distinct as ever on her tight vocal.
There’s, well, no doubt this summery, feel-good track is bound to make just the splash the returning band is looking to make ahead of the September 25 release of Push and Shove, their first record in 11 years.