♚ No Doubt Discography Rate (Top 15 recap) ♚

What is your favourite studio album by No Doubt?

  • No Doubt (1992)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Beacon Street Collection (1995)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Tragic Kingdom (1995)

    Votes: 16 22.9%
  • Return of Saturn (2000)

    Votes: 21 30.0%
  • Rock Steady (2001)

    Votes: 26 37.1%
  • Push and Shove (2012)

    Votes: 7 10.0%

  • Total voters
Are we finally about to lose a proper single from the remaining albums?


The return of Saturn
Assessing my life
Second guessing...



Artificial Sweetener

Average score: 8.378

Highest score:
10 x 4 (@soratami, @Ana Raquel, @SlowGinFizzzz, @Music Is Life & Death)
Lowest score: 6 x 1 (@WowWowWowWow)
My score: 9.5
High peak: #18 (5 voters)
Low peak: #27 (7 voters)

Sorry to us "Return of Saturn" stans, but it's three cuts in a row... at least I can reveal the album will be safe for a while. Anyway, "Artificial Sweetener" leaves the rate as the winning album track from "Return of Saturn". It was rather consistently scored, and had one of the most stable leaderboard trajectories so far, pretty much always being near the top 20. Some scores between 6 and 7 thrown its way prevented the actual top 20 placement by the end. Also, I'm pretty sure @Ana Raquel called it her second contender for an 11 - apparently, she made a good choice there since the actual 11 is still around.

"Artificial Sweetener" was written by Gwen Stefani, Tom Dumont and Tony Kanal, and was released at the 6th track on "Return of Saturn". As always, the production was done by Glen Ballard. Not really any info about the song's creation, but we do know that, for quite some time time, "Artificial Sweetener" was the working title of No Doubt's 4th album. Good thing they later settled on a line from the song (the first pre-chorus) because it makes for such a great album title. That way, some may call "Artificial Sweetener" 'the title track' in a non-traditional sense. It was performed live only during the Return of Saturn Tour, and only of some of the dates, but we do have some footage.

With Hole named as onw of its influences, "Artificial Sweetener" makes sure to bring that rock energy to the album. And it really is a blast. Great guitar riffs mixed with synthy elements and a tremendous chorus make for a rather energetic listen. Also a mention to the bass which feels subdued but it's so deliciously prominent and adds to the song. The melodies are varied and enjoyable, especially during the headbanger moment of the chorus, as well as the pre-choruses. Admittedly, the verses had to grow on me over time but I've always been impressed by how the middle-8 takes back most of the instrumentation before it going all out during the final chorus. Terrific vocal delivery once again showcases the angst in the song, which perfectly ties it with Gwen's frustration about her undecidedness and brings me to the lyrics - this song containing the album's title and being aptly placed in the middle of the album's tracklisting, it sure represents the centerpiece of it. Gwen mentioned how the lyrics during this era are very self-indulgent and the common theme of overthinking is excellently summed up here, choice of words and all. In this particular case, the uncertainty is whether to stop pretending and restraining the feelings in a relationship, with the song's title obviously serving as a metaphor for that. Oh and I absolutely love this couplet in the middle-8: "I was born two weeks late / Is that why I hesitate?" Will be right back, just gotta check when my due date was supposed to be.
While "Artificial Sweetener" has never been one of my absolute favourites, it sure is deserving of a high score and this placement. I didn't need to fake any I love you's here.

The comments here are again only positive, with @berserkboi (8.5) calling this a: "Well crafted little song!" and @bonnieetclyde (8.5) saying: "Great lyrics and that chorus is brilliantly powerful." before suggesting: "I think, with an edit, this could have been a single over 'Bathwater'." Both are great and single-worthy, me thinks.
Meanwhile, @AshleyKerwin (9.5) brings up a very cute nostalgia moment: "I remember I recorded this as my ringtone for like a year and the sound quality was distorted and terrible but I still love this song. Even if the lyrics are a little middle school I still think it's great." That sounds relatable dd. And the lyrics still seem pretty mature to me. And to close us off, let's have a pun from @Sprockrooster (9): "Not a fan of those fake artificial sweeteners, but this one is definitely sweet." I've heard No Doubt did a song titled "Fructose" during the "Tragic Kingdom" era (they didn't).

"I'm full of artificial sweetener
My heart's been deceitful..."

Gwen's announcement here is so extra, she even cringes at herself dd

The title says 2002 but this is definitely from 2000

Next up: The song with the greatest amount of 10s so far.
Sorry, I'm a bit tired to finish-up the next elimination but it should be posted earlier tomorrow. It happens to be one of my favourite rediscoveries of the rate.
What do you think (or hope) the last song to miss out on the top 20 will be?
I'm not 100% sure of what's left at this point but I'm going to go with Platinum Blonde Life.​
That song would be my ideal elimination at this point. You did get the album right though...


Hey girl, save the liar
Can’t you see his pants on fire?




Average score: 8.463

Highest score:
10 x 6 (@BEST FICTION, @Music City Queen, @berserkboi, @SlowGinFizzzz, @Music Is Life & Death, @AshleyKerwin)
Lowest score: 6 x 1 (@Angeleyes)
My score: 9.5
High peak: #16 (5 voters)
Low peak: #25 (19 voters)

The album tracks keep falling, as "Detective" becomes the next elimination from "Rock Steady", just before the top 20. As mentioned before, this is the song with the most perfect scores so far (with 6 of them - something we'll obviously be seeing more often from now on) and also holds the title as the highest ranked song that's below 3 minutes in length. Despite all these high scores, it wasn't divisive at all since it just got two scores under 7, which likely made it miss out of the top 20 placement. Speaking of which, it looked like this song was securely inside the top 20 up until about ten voters, when it went below and unfortunately didn't manage to get back.

As a song with a rather hectic history, "Detective" was written by Gwen Stefani, Tom Dumont and Tony Kanal, and its creation began in February 2001, making it one of the earlier songs from "Rock Steady". While the band was in the middle of cutting the track in Los Angeles, Gwen was alerted that her then-boyfriend, Gavin, had some time off from his own band Bush, so she wanted to visit him. Tony Kanal objected: "Fuck, dude, you can't leave - we're going with you." So the band jetted to London and finished the song there. By the end, "Detective" was the result of sessions at four different locations, co-produced by No Doubt and Nellee Hooper, marking their first out of five collaborations with him. The song was performed during Rock Steady Tour at about half of its total dates.

"Detective" sure has to be one of the most interesting and playful No Doubt songs. This adventurous tune begins with the hook which is an absolute earworm and has a radio-jingle quality to it. Interestingly, that might be my 'least fave' part of the song because the rest of the song properly shines too. The verses offer a more "organic" instrumental, and after some twists and turns with the hook, leads into the middle-8 brings the drama before the refrain and then we get another bonus middle-8. Gwen shifting her vocals styles from goofy to angry to sensual with each section and the way those various, melodically diverse sections unconventionally flip and segue one into another... Xenomania found taking notes. Oh and the outro having the interpolated hook with the addition of steelpan is delicious. The crisp production is fantastic throughout, the varied instrumentation (in particular the use of guitars) is giving plenty of excitement, and all those little spy-themed sound effects further add to the experience and reflect the song's theme - you can almost imagine a music video for it while listening. "Detective" really packs so much in less than 3 minutes, it just keeps giving and giving while it goes on, such a delightfully impressive little song full of charm. I remember it really jumped out to me while revisiting their discography for this rate (it's even closer to a 10 now but not exactly there), so it's great to see it earned a really good placement. I think it should've definitely been in the top 20 out of the remaining songs but oh well, you can't have it all..
As for the topic, "Detective" was one of the few tracks to surface on "Rock Steady" that showed signs of Stefani's old insecurities (in the main, she was in the mood to party) and harks back to "Return of Saturn" days. Namely, the song is about Gavin, as Gwen suspects he's being unfaithful during their long-distance relationship (something that actually proved to be true more than a decade later oop). Given that this song was nearly abandoned because of that relationship just adds to the value. The lyrics may seem a bit on the childish side, but Gwen's great songwriting is prominent during the verses. There's also some speculation that Gavin did drugs which could've influenced this song's theme but let's leave it there.

The only voter to not leave overly positive commentary here is from the lowest scorer, @Angeleyes (6), who states: "Conversely from the next two songs, I loved this one when I was a kid, but I don't find as much fun in it as I used to. I don't usually skip it, because it's so short and I do like it, it's just not my favorite." At least @clowezra (9) brings both memories and a good score, reminiscing: "I used to stick this on repeat when playing spy games as a kid sksksk, a bop." Cute!

Good to know @Sprockrooster (9) agrees with me about the earworm bit: "That intro/chorus is probably the most catchy they ever did. Hints of teenpop so I obviously stan hard. Verses are a bit of a bore so keeping me from handing out a 10 here." Well I love those verses, they bring variety to the song. Speaking of 10s, the only perfect scorer to provide commentary is @berserkboi (10), who can be found getting his life to this song and exclaiming: "What is this Annie joins No Doubt AMAZINGNESS?????" I'm not sure what was the connection there, but thanks for reminding me that I still need to check out Annie's albums.
Despite not being among the higher scorers, @bonnieetclyde (8) gives insight "Not sure it would have been a big hit single but I would have liked to see a music video for this one!" That would've been an amusing video for sure - like a prelude for "It's My Life" perhaps.

"I've caught you, you're hands are red
Now I'm your broken hearted detective..."

Next up: What could've easily been the most consistently scored song so far. Except it received an 11.



TOP 20

No Doubt


The Beacon Street Collection

[0/10], [0/12]


Tragic Kingdom

Excuse Me Mr.
Just a Girl

Happy Now?
Different People
Hey You!
The Climb

Sunday Morning
Don't Speak

You Can Do It
World Go 'Round
End It on This
Tragic Kingdom


Return of Saturn
[4/14], [4/24]

Simple Kind of Life

Six Feet Under
Magic's in the Makeup
Artificial Sweetener
Marry Me
Too Late
Comforting Lie

Suspension Without Suspense
Staring Problem
Home Now
Dark Blue

Big Distraction

Under Construction
Beauty Contest

Full Circle
Cellophane Boy
Everything in Time (Los Angeles)
You're So Foxy

Everything in Time (London)


Rock Steady
[6/12], [6/13]

Hella Good
Hey Baby
Making Out
Underneath It All

Don't Let Me Down
Start the Fire

In My Head
Platinum Blonde Life
Waiting Room
Rock Steady

New Friend


Push and Shove
[4/11], [4/12]

Settle Down
Looking Hot
One More Summer
Push and Shove


Dreaming the Same Dream

Stand and Deliver



Showin Off (demo)
Everything’s Wrong
Dear John (demo)
Where’s Your Lovin’? (demo)
Up Yours
Sailin' On
Oi to the World
I Throw My Toys Around (feat. Elvis Costello)
Love to Love You Baby

It’s My Life
Monkey Man (with Toots and the Maytals)

"Return of Saturn" takes the most hits out of the albums *sigh* while "Push and Shove" only lost one song since we reached top 30. "Rock Steady" is still holding strong as the album with the most percentage of songs unscathed. We're at that point where it's only a few of album tracks, while the rest are all singles - I can finally say that this really looks like we're getting close to the end. Predictions as to which songs will we lose before the top 15/10? Ideal top 15/10? Let us know.
I usually do a video recap after every 20 eliminations but I forgot to do that here, oops.
My lowest scores left are Spiderwebs, Making Out, Platinum Blonde Life and Push and Shove, so hoping those go next. All 8s though, so it's not like I actually dislike any of them. Super solid top 20.


Staff member
My dream top 10 (sorry I didn't vote!xo)

Just A Girl
Sunday Morning
Don't Speak
Simple Kind Of Life
Hella Good
Hey Baby
Underneath It All
One More Summer
It's My Life

Seems harsh leaving out classics Ex-Girlfriend, Running and Push And Shove but this is a really stellar catalogue!
Oh and to put into perspective how tired I was last night - while making some changes to the custom artwork of "Detective" (yes I still have a few of these left to do), I spent solid 10 minutes thinking the fence in the image was some type of grid I accidentally activated and trying to remove it. Mess...

The next elimination will be up in a day or two.
I think I would rate "Detective" higher if I was doing it now. I'm kind of surprised I scored it so low, but I'm a major Rock Steady stan so I was probably trying to be fair and not give everything an a 8+. It was one of my favorites from the album when I was younger, but overtime it slipped down my rankings. It's still a bop.
Detective is one of the best album tracks and definitely deserved to stay in over a few of my 7's and 3.5 I still have remaining.

I'm also not liking that Spiderwebs is beginning to be paid dust and looks more likely to be eliminated anytime soon.
Let's dive into the top 20 with what would be my ideal cut out of the remaining songs...

And unfortunately, someone's 11...

I'm going to sleep all through the day
I'm going to sleep my life away...



Platinum Blonde Life

Average score: 8.511

Highest scores:
11 x 1 (@Ana Raquel), 10 x 2 (@tylerc, @SlowGinFizzzz)
Lowest score: 7 x 2 (@WowWowWowWow, @Angeleyes)
My score: 7.5
High peak: #18 (14-16 voters)
Low peak: #25 (6 voters)

So, with "Platinum Blonde Life", we say goodbye to the second 11 of the rate. Up until now, the highest low score for a song were 6s and you'd probably expect to see 7s as lowest scores once we reach top 10 or top 5, but here we are. Just look how damn consistent the scores are - that 11 aside, everyone scored it within a 3 point difference. Mighty impressive. And even if @Ana Raquel gave this a 10, it would've still been in the top 20 because the difference between it and "Detective" is 1.3 points. In terms of leaderboard performance, it was outside of the top 20 during the entire first half of the voting period, but once it entered, it never left and was only between #20 and #18.

"Platinum Blonde Life" was written by Gwen Stefani, Tom Dumont and Tony Kanal, and released as 11th track on "Rock Steady" album. The co-producer of the song, Ric Ocasek, did this song with them in late June 2001 alongside "Don't Let Me Down" and potentially a few others. A funny little background story of this song is that Tony had to apologize to Ric, who's The Cars frontman, about "Platinum Blonde Life" being too strongly influenced by and sounding too much like the song of his band - Ric had to apologize back, saying that he doesn't hear those resemblances. Mess. The song has been performed live only during the Rock Steady Tour, but it got a lot of performances and is also featured on Rock Steady Live DVD.

So... "Platinum Blonde Life" has never been one of my faves by No Doubt in general, let alone on a strong album that is "Rock Steady". It sure does stand out as the rockiest-sounding track on the album, which some obvious new wave influences going on (alongside "Don't Let Me Down", the only other Ric Ocasek production there) but, I don't know, it's never done much for me. The song is giving some evil/ominous vibes and ark undertones which should appeal to me though the melodies during the verses and chorus don't really work. However, there is that gorgeous, dreamy and atmospheric middle-8, by far my fave part of the song - you just dip into heaven for a moment there. I actually wish they made an entire song based on that section. The production in general is great, like on the entire "Rock Steady" album, no complaints there. Lyric-wise, it gives a little insight into Gwen's behind the scenes, day-to-day life and her uncomfortable reaction to the spotlight, while also paying homage to her late dog Maegan ("And where did my lamb go? / I wish he could stay...") - an adorable Lhasa Apso you can see on the artwork used for "Leftovers". Not much else to say there, some very charming and likeable lyrics indeed.
"Platinum Blonde Life" has had a great run, but as my joint lowest score in this top 20, it's good to see it leave. I'm a bit surprised that its poppier sister song, "Don't Let Me Down", left earlier but obviously we've had (and will have) much more unexpected results in this rate.

Among the commentary, @Angeleyes (7) is again the lowest scorer and basically sums up my thoughts: "I appreciate the lyrics a lot, but musically it's not my favorite. Although it's still pretty good. Rock Steady has no bad tracks." Expanding on this, @bonnieetclyde (9) states: "This sounds like another track that had single-potential. I like that it's more rocky than the others." Definitely more rocky then the rest but not sure about its single potential. It is a fan fave though, so I could likely be wrong. @berserkboi (8) is trying to remain positive: "Some lovely elements!" and, giving it the same score, @Sprockrooster (8) makes it clear: "If you are wondering if I am headbanging on the chorus, then I can answer that question with: yes."

@AshleyKerwin (9.5) has such a lovely comment I should've just let them do the write up - they say: "The original "when you have to deal with shit but you ignore it and bleach your hair <3" song. An anecdote I'll always remember about this song is when we had a class trip to Philadelphia and it was the big overnight trip people talk about for 2 years and I was supposed to room with my one friend but we stopped talking a few months before that but in the cut throat world of middle school politics, it was too late to find anyone else to befriend so I got stuck with this one kid nobody liked. I remember getting Chinese food and it raining a lot and playing this on the bus." These mini stories are so freaking cute, I love reading them.

Last but definitely not the least, he final word goes to the 11-giver, @Ana Raquel: "I DON'T KNOW WHICH SONG OR ARTIST THIS ONE REMINDS ME OF but I simply adore her voice in here and it stands out in this album for being a tad more experimental, which paid off imo. Also, rip doggo." You know it's a proper stan when the trivia is on display like that. I'm sorry this song is not my fave but I love your "Artificial Sweetener" stanning. At least the eventual 11 choice did slightly better.

"There's a knock on my door
But I'm not gonna open it
I'm gonna close my eyes
and maybe it'll go away..."

Next up: Another song with three words in its title

Six of you will be losing 10s tonight.

Since we eliminated "Platinum Blonde Life", the only remaining album track that had no single status whatsoever is "One More Summer", though "Making Out", "Excuse Me Mr." and "Push and Shove" can also be considered non-singles in some ways. For how long will these last?