No Doubt - Beacon Street Collection (Cover Artwork)

No Doubt

Beacon Street Collection (1995)


Here is a review guaranteed to piss off the punk rock elite. Go ahead, bitch all you want. Cite creative mistakes such as the current single "Hey Baby" or perhaps Gwen Stefani's duet with rapper Eve. It makes no difference, because the fact is, No Doubt was at one time a staple of the ska-punk underground in california, and they pre-date many ska and punk bands that get all the accolades today.

No Doubt's first major label release "S/T" was a commercial failure. The nation was still engulfed in a sea of grunge and metal, so ska-pop was not on anyones agenda. Interscope, while refusing to support the band further, also refused to let them out of their contract. So, No Doubt took songs they recorded between 1993 and 1995 and put out a self-produced disc, "The Beacon Street Collection". This disc actually proved to be better than their self-titled effort, and it set the stage for later success with albums like "Tragic Kingdom", "Return of Saturn" and the current "Rock Steady".

I find this album to be a little scatter-shot, which is to be expected of an album of this nature. Some songs come off sounding like watered down funk-ska, tracks like "Open The Gate" and "Blue In The Face". There are some great tracks though, and these make the purchace of this album worth it. Tracks like "Total Hate" for example, the duet with Brad Nowell from Sublime is a ska-punk classic. "Greener Pastures" has a cool opening riff, and "Squeal" is just about as good as No Doubt style ska-punk can get. "Snakes" has an opening riff that could have easily been ripped from Black Sabbath and "Doghouse" is a two-tonish ska track with a catchy hook.

This is a very different face of No Doubt then the one normally seen in the public eye. I will be the first to agree that their output ever since Tragic Kingdom has not been up to par, and while I am all for creative innovation, I'm not sure No Doubt is going in a good direction. On "Beacon Street", we get what I consider to be the real No Doubt, with Gwen's ever popular warble over a kinetic mix of funk, punk and ska. I like it. Recommended if you like: Radiation Kings, Save Ferris, Nuclear Rabbit, Fishbone.