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Sublime Escape

Here at the Stefani Institute, we have concluded a period of intense study of the newest release, The Sweet Escape. While the rest of the academic world retired for a long holiday break, we continued a period of intensive study, dissecting the new album for what insights it might offer into the current state of the philosophical ruminations of the principal.

While the album has received mixed reviews in the academy, we find that it strikingly evidences continuity in Ms. Stefani's world view. We pay little attention here to the musical choices made. The focus rather is entirely on the subsntative message delivered and the philosophy that it conveys. As much as ever before, The Sweet Escape is suggestive of a young woman struggling to establish self-control and wondering about the possibility of free will.

The title track deals with Ms. Stefani's restlessness. She wonders why she has been behaving erratically and whether she might behave differently if she could escape to a place that's her own world. In "Early Winter", she again wonders why she gives in -- it is somewhat unclear to what she is referring -- but the song seems to refer to discontent with her lover and the premature termination of their romance. The questions go to the ability to master one's emotions -- and, as always, no emotion is more prominently on her mind than love.

Love takes a central theme in the album, in a manner strongly reminiscent of its prominence in Tragic Kingdom and Return of Saturn. "4 in the Morning" refers to her being awake early in the morning, ostensibly following a significant fight, and she worries about losing the love that she has found. In "Fluorescent" she again appears to be grappling with the questions of self-control regarding love that so heavily influenced the breakthrough No Doubt albums. She speaks of remaining perhaps too long in a relationship in spite of herself -- "I must have lost my mind" she says -- but she is "in love with a dream." The theme is clearest of all in "U Started It" where she admits that she doesn't know why she is "doin' this either." "It" appears to be expressing rage.

The Sweet Escape reveals a woman as honest as ever, grappling with the tumult of human existence, and trying to make sense of the choices that individuals make and that people make in general. In so doing, it is a significant and valuable addition to the already impressive ouevre.

One typo of note: your angry in the song "The Sweet Escape" should be "you're angry." The grammar in thw album is otherwise improved.