Song Of The Week: “The Sweet Escape” by Gwen Stefani (featuring Akon)

One of my goals with this blog involved focusing on music people might not be familiar with, or might not have heard in a long time. So why, I can sense you asking, do we have a song you could hear any day of the week on the radio?  Because it’s time for some sugar-sparkly, gold-plated, super-fluffy ear candy.  And that means a massive, played over and over again hit.  So let’s wrap up this cycle of Song Of The Week and finish with a flourish in the 21st century.

In the early 2000s, the U.S. and the U.K. had mini-movements which became the proverbial talk of the town, led by the emergence of The Strokes and The Libertines and those who followed in their wake.  These groups produced my favorite songs of the time but almost all of these artists fizzled by mid-decade due to drugs, fights, mismanagement, or simply not living up to their potential.  As the decade progressed, I began noticing my favorite songs year after year did not come from ultra-hip bands but instead were ultra-poppy radio hits, all of them by ladies.  It seemed to start with Gwen Stefani’s “The Sweet Escape” and continues to this day with Katy Perry and Carly Rae Jepsen.

If Madonna wasn’t insanely jealous when this song became a hit, she should have been, as it successfully marries a mid-80s True Blue chorus with more modern-sounding rhythmic verses.  It’s exactly the kind of music Madge should have been making for the last 10 years, rather than her (mostly) unsuccessful attempts to remain au courant.  Plus, it’s insanely catchy. As an added bonus, this song helped to bring Akon to mainstream attention.  And, like bacon, Akon makes everything better.

For me, there are four hallmarks to a perfect pop song.  Four questions to which I must answer in the affirmative:

Does it get stuck in my head for days and I don’t want to let it out?

Check.

Am I movin’ my hips like “Yeah!”?

Like . . . duh.

Can I listen to it repeatedly without getting sick of it and thinking I’m gonna go crazy?

You know it.

And finally, when it comes on the radio, do I think I’m about to explode and scream out like a drunk college girl, “I love this song!  This is my jam!”

Sadly, yes.

Gwen Stefani – The Sweet Escape

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