Before Taylor Swift made a name for herself writing inescapable break-up anthems, another blonde was doing it bigger and better. 20 years ago Gwen Stefani was celebrating the release of her band No Doubt’s third studio album “Tragic Kingdom,” but last week she has another reason to celebrate. “Used To Love You” is the first single off Ms. Stefani’s forthcoming solo album, her third coincidentally, and her first since “The Sweet Escape” in 2006. Since then she’s had three children and is currently going through a divorce from her husband of 13 years, Gavin Rossdale of the British alt-rock band Bush.
The song is an electro-pop power ballad of stadium proportions. With raw, emotion-filled vocals layered over twinkling synths and a driving drum beat that ultimately gives out during the chorus to showcase the heaviness of the lyrics, Gwen hasn’t sounded this good in a long time. With lyrics like “I don’t know why I cry, But I think it’s cause I remembered for the first time, Since I hated you, That I used to love you,” you can’t help but to feel genuine heartbreak for her, but we already knew Gwen could pull our heartstrings like that. “Used To Love You” is bound to be labeled the new, updated for 2015 version of “Don’t Speak,” and that isn’t a bad thing. Tried and true, Ms. Stefani’s best work has come about as a result of terrible sadness, which is a bittersweet experience for the audience, but there’s no doubt this is helping her get through this difficult time. If this song is any indication of what is to come from Gwen Stefani, this album couldn’t come any sooner.