Las Vegas residencies are having a moment and the latest artist to sign onto a handful of shows in Sin City is Gwen Stefani. Following in the footsteps of her contemporaries Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and most recently Blink 182, Stefani announced on Tuesday that she will be debuting her run of 25 dates for the Gwen Stefani: Just A Girl, Las Vegas show starting from June 2018 until March 2019.
Stefani’s announcement is big news for fans of the No Doubt frontwoman, with the singer boasting one of the most impressive discographies of the past 25 years thanks to her work both with her band and as a solo artist. Helping to define multiple generations of music, Stefani’s impact on pop culture has come through her fashion line, her music and her music videos.
To celebrate Stefani’s announcement of her Las Vegas residency, we’re taking a look back at the singer’s most iconic music video moments.
Bringing ska to the mainstream with their single “Just A Girl,” Stefani and No Doubt delivered a timeless anthem on girl power while integrating a genre that would only last a few years. Feminine, tough, fearless, and vulnerable, Stefani’s performance in the bathroom-centric music video helped usher in a new generation of feminists who saw a woman creating her own style and feeling comfortable and empowered in her own skin. The first single released from Tragic Kingdom, “Just A Girl” put the youth of North America on alert that there was a new band in town—one that didn’t sound or look like anyone else.
Although “Spiderwebs” was released after “Just A Girl,” the second single charted much higher and helped No Doubt gain widespread popularity. For many fans, “Spiderwebs” was the first time they saw the Anaheim, California pop, punk, ska, rock band, which doubled as their introduction to lead singer Gwen Stefani. With her bleached blonde hair, tartan pants, cropped white tank, chain wallet, and bright red lips, Stefani’s appeal came from looking unlike any pop star at the time. Combining elements of femininity and masculinity in her look and performance, Stefani was unabashedly original. Not since Madonna’s introduction to MTV had an artist used their own designs to create a look that inspired millions around the world, with Stefani’s style continuing to evolve throughout her career.
Stefani has remained a chameleon throughout her career, but the singer took her love of fashion to a new level in 2000’s “Ex-Girlfriend.” Directed by Hype Williams, Stefani and her bright pink locks play an assassin in the over-the-top visuals, complete with the singer flying out of a hotel window with band mate Tony Kanal. “Ex-Girlfriend” was an unofficial rite of passage for No Doubt, with only the most famous pop stars and bands of the late 1990s and early 2000s earning a Hype Williams joint.
For No Doubt’s fifth studio album Rock Steady, the band travelled to Jamaica for part of the recording and brought the influence from the dance halls into their music and music videos. Setting the tone for much of Rock Steady, “Hey Baby” features Stefani in the black and white houndstooth and yellow and green outfits that would dominate the visuals for the album and tour.
For many No Doubt fans, Stefani’s announcement of her intentions to go solo were met with fear and trepidation that the artist wouldn’t be able to capture the same magic she had with No Doubt. With her second single “Rich Girl,” Stefani teamed up for her first post-No Doubt solo collaboration with Eve, with the two women having previously released “Blow Ya Mind.” Finding magic for a second time, the pair shot a music video on board a fake pirate ship along with director David LaChapelle. Using inspiration from a Vivienne Westwood campaign, “Rich Girl” acted as yet another example by Stefani that music and fashion were two mediums she excelled at marrying together, also acting as an early indicator for the singer’s fashion designer dreams.
Indecision, writers block and lack of confidence are all factors that plague every musician. Using this as the jumping off point, Stefani’s debut solo single “Whatcha Waiting For?” featured the honesty and vulnerability that fans had always connected with in No Doubt’s music. Acting as the introduction to Stefani as a solo artist, the Alice In Wonderland music video was a visual feast for the eyes, with the song infusing pop, electronic, and musical theatre. Thanks to both the song and the music video, Stefani made it clear to fans in one fell swoop that after five albums with No Doubt, she still had a lot to say.
Would any of us know how to properly spell bananas without the help of Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl”? Reportedly written in response to a diss by Courtney Love, Stefani returned to her SoCal roots of oversized men’s pants and cropped white tees for her “Hollaback Girl” video, where she’s joined by a marching band and a group of cheerleaders. In 2004, was there anyone cooler than Gwen Stefani in her video for “Hollaback Girl”? We think not. Fourteen years later, that still hasn’t changed.
Written about her relationship with No Doubt’s Tony Kanal, Stefani’s video for “Cool” jumps between two timelines in a picturesque Italian village. Showing off her acting chops for the first time, Stefani plays a younger, brunette version of herself who spent her summers in love with a local boy. Now both older and in new relationships, the two have become friends, with the scenic backdrop providing a stunning setting for the music video that feels like a mini film.
If Alanis Morissette’s “Head Over Heels” and D’Angelo’s “How Does It Feel” had a baby and it did nothing but lay around all day and sleep, that would pretty much be Gwen Stefani’s 2015 video for “Used To Love You.” The stunning musician grabs her old Tragic Kingdom uniform, complete with a bright blue bra and white tank, and performs a whole lot of looks for the camera. Does she lip sync? Not really, except for two lines. Does she cry? Almost. Does she make any hand gestures? Nope. Is it one of her most compelling videos ever? You bet. Stefani’s “Used To Love You,” released in the midst of her break-up with husband Gavin Rossdale, is the singer at her most raw and vulnerable. The pop star’s tried and true abilities as a performer who can engage her audience has never been clearer than in “Used To Love You.” She’s just that good.
Continuing to push musical boundaries, Stefani teamed up with her frequent music video collaborator, director Sophie Muller, to film a live music video inside a commercial break during the 2016 Grammy Awards. Released in conjunction with Target, Stefani focused on her new mod phase, riding scooters from the 1960s and hanging out in a beauty parlor, all while dressed in a tight black turtleneck. The former coach of The Voice confirmed her then-new relationship status with boyfriend and fellow coach Blake Shelton, naming the bar in the music video ‘Blake’s.’ Pulling off a live music video is no easy feat and one that could only be achieved by an artist with Stefani’s already long and accomplished list of music video endeavours.
It’s difficult to think of No Doubt and Gwen Stefani without immediately thinking of the band’s iconic 1996 single “Don’t Speak.” Earning two Grammy nominations and still the most famous single released by the group, the song about Stefani and Kanal’s break up packed a punch both musically and with its music video. Showing a band feuding over the popularity of its lead singer, Stefani’s navy polka dot dress and red lips became iconic immediately following the video’s release. Inspired by actual tension in the band over Stefani’s popularity, “Don’t Speak” is such a visceral experience that many fans thought they were in fact watching the new band announce their break up. Thankfully, No Doubt went on to release many more albums, but thanks to both the song and the music video, “Don’t Speak” remains one of the greatest pop rock singles of all time.