Top 10 No Doubt Songs

No Doubt Songs

Photo: Nicholastbroussard, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 No Doubt songs list looks back at a ska band that became mega pop stars in the 90s fueled by great musicians & Gwen Stefani’s star power. It’s tough to categorize No Doubt into any musical category because the band has explored all of them. From their ska-punk roots to rock and roll, jazz, funk, pop, and even dance hall, No Doubt became one of the biggest musical acts of the 1990s. Since their success in the 1990s, lead singer Gwen Stefani leaped into a solo career that made her a star of immense magnitude like Madonna or Lady Gaga.  She is credited with leading a musical movement that inspired countless female vocalists with her unique vocal phrasings.

The band No Doubt has released six studio albums. Their first album, entitled No Doubt, was released in 1992. The second album, The Beacon Street Collection, was released in 1995. The band’s break-out record entitled Tragic Kingdom was issued in 1995. It would be another five years before No Doubt would release a new album. In 2000, they released the Return Of Saturn album. A year later, No Doubt returned with a much different sound on the 2001 album Rock Steady. That seemed to be the last No Doubt album as Gwen Stefani would launch a very successful solo career in the 2000s. Nonetheless, twenty years after they released Rock Steady, No Doubt reunited and released Push and Shove in 2012.

Our Top 10 No Doubt songs list attempts to present a mix of their big hits with some lesser-known gems. We could have quickly made a top 50 list, but choosing ten is more fun.

# 10 – Trapped In A Box

There is no better song to open this top 10 No Doubt songs list than the super organic ska-infused track “Trapped In A Box.” The song was released on No Doubt’s debut album entitled No Doubt. The album was initially released independently on a meager budget. However, when No Doubt signed with Interscope Records, they re-recorded the entire album. No Doubt learned quickly that the celebration of signing with a major label can be overrated if the label does not get behind the band, which is what happened at the beginning. Nonetheless, the band financed making the video for “Trapped in the Box” themselves for about five thousand dollars. Sadly, MTV never played the video.

This great No Doubt song, “Trapped in the Box,” is pure rock and roll pop ska gold. It defines very early on the potential of this great band. The entire focal point of this is the music. Wearing a baseball cap, Gwen Stefani’s performance is all about her brilliant vocals on this track. Yet, even dressed down, one can not take their eyes off her. Her presence is off the charts, even in a tiny little room with nowhere to go.

# 9 – Oi To The World

Continuing with our top 10 No Doubt songs, we turn to another great recording that has mostly gone unnoticed or at least many people have missed. We rarely put a Christmas or Holiday song on a top 10 list, but this is so good we couldn’t resist listing it here on our No Doubt songs list. “Oi To The World” was released on the album A Very Special Christmas 3 in 1997. The song was initially written by Joe Escalante of The Vandals. No Doubt’s version is simply smoking and highly entertaining. How could you not love a song that opens with a musician playing a bass solo while standing on top of an elephant?

# 8 – Sunday Morning

After opening up our top 10 No Doubt songs list with two lesser-known songs, we now turn to one of the biggies. As we said in the intro, we wanted to mix it up a bit, but of course, the band had so many big-time hits that we could not ignore their success. After all, this is a top 10 list, and their hits were just as awesome as the rest of their catalog.

At number eight, we placed the grand track “Sunday Morning.” The song was released on their breakout album Tragic Kingdom. The album was released in 1995. “Sunday Morning” was the fifth single released from the album, although it was not released in the United States. This great track has always been one of our favorite songs from the Tragic Kingdom album. It’s also a critic and fan favorite. The energy and passion behind the song is just limitless.

# 7 – Squeal

If there ever was an argument that No Doubt was, in essence, a ska band, take a listen to this great one. The song “Squeal” defines No Doubt at their rock and roll ska best. What separated No Doubt from other ska bands like Madness was the dynamic phrasings of Gwen Stefanie. This cut shows how the band wrapped itself around Gwen’s vocals and vice versa. This is just stunning music that is both fun and captivating to listen to. The song “Squeal” was released on the album The Beacon Street Collection. The album served as the follow-up to their debut album. The album was released independently because their first album failed to sell, and the record company no longer supported the group.

# 6 – Hella Good

Tell me the drums and bass line in the song’s intro are not to die for. This one grabs you right from the start and gets better with every line Gwen Stefani sings. No Doubt’s “Hella Good” was released on the album Rock Steady. It was released as the album’s second single. This No Doubt song has topped many Best of No Doubt lists and stands as a favorite of critics and fans worldwide.

# 5 – Spiderwebs

We turn to the band’s big hits as we enter the second half of our Top 10 No Doubt songs list. Of course, because the group had so many hit songs, we will miss plenty of them because of space limitations. Nonetheless, these are our favorites that were also big-time commercial hits. No Doubt’s single, “Spiderweb,” was released as the second single from the album Tragic Kingdom. While it was not as commercially successful as the album’s lead single, “Just A Girl,” it still was a top 20 hit in the United Kingdom and Canada. This intense tune perfectly combines all the ska, rock, and pop elements with such a unique sound.

# 4 – Ex-Girlfriend

Another of No Doubt’s most entertaining and fun songs is the great single “Ex-Girlfriend.” Gwen Stefani seems to be having a lot of fun on this one. “Ex-Girlfriend” was the second single released on the album Return of Saturn. The album and single were both released in 2000. Return of Saturn had a more stripped-down sound than Tragic Kingdom because of the hiring of Glen Ballard, who was well known for his success as producer of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album. Still, a great song is a great one, no matter what type of production is added or removed. We love this one, as everyone did a fantastic job on it.

# 3 – Hey Baby

This was one of those songs that took Gwen Stefani’s original vocal phrasing and tuned it up to eleven. The song “Hey Baby” kept the band in the commercial spotlight when released as the first single of their album Rock Steady. Rock Steady was the band’s most commercial-sounding album of their career. It also marked a change in direction from their ska roots towards a sound more geared to the hip-hop world.

In many ways, it was one of the most influential albums in changing the direction of hip-hop or at least adding another lane to it. One could see that it wouldn’t be long before Gwen Stefani’s growing star power would lead her to leave the group and embark on a solo career that would make her one of the biggest stars in the world. This is the song that began that process.

# 2 – Don’t Speak

As we close in on the number one spot on our top 10 No Doubt songs list, we turn to the band’s most commercially successful song. No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” was released as the third single from their landmark album Tragic Kingdom. Fueled by the success of the album’s first two singles, “Just A Girl” and “Spiderweb,” the band found its popularity juggernaut internationally with this explosive hit single. “Don’t Speak” would become No Doubt’s first number-one single. The song hit number one in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Canada and Australia.

The video for “Don’t Speak” showcased the personal story of the breakup of  Gwen Stefani and No Doubts bassist Tony Kanal.  One could see the sadness that Gwen Stefani had endured from the breakup. It was an early glimpse of reality TV without monologue seen through a three-minute video. The song’s video got heavy airplay, helping promote “Don’t Speak” internationally and turning this band into a mega superstar.

# 1 – Just A Girl

We close out our top 10 No Doubt songs with the highly entertaining and original-sounding song “Just A Girl.” The song “Just A Girl” was released on the Tragic Kingdom album. The song was released as the first single from the album. It would become the band’s first hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song also peaked at number three on the United Kingdom music charts.

It was tough to pick a number one on this top 10 No Doubt songs list because they have so many earth-shattering songs. In the end, it was that ultra slick, funky guitar lick, the change from the groovy verse rhythm to that pulsating intense chorus, and, of course, Gwen Stefani’s highly adducting, totally captivating, and pitch-perfect vocal performance on the song that made us pick “Just A Girl,” for the number one spot.

Top 10 No Doubt Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024 

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