Please, hold your applause until the end of Gwen Stefani’s new track. The No Doubt frontwoman, fashion icon Blake Shelton’s better half, and music superstar released her second new track in less than three months. In “Slow Clap,” out today (March 11), Gwen returns to the bouncy, pop sound that helped define her solo career. With a touch of tropical sun on the beat and a chorus that will likely spawn a million TikToks, “Slow Clap” is a musical victory lap after overcoming her adversities. “Been the champion, rang the bell,” she sings, per Genius. “Rocked the bottom, been through hell / Climbed the mountain, now I’m well / I just feel like an unbreakable belt.”
Gwen dished about the new single to Zane Lowe on Apple Music. “It’s kind of this place of, you always go through different phases in your life where you question yourself, and you question like, ‘What am I supposed to be doing? Who am I? Do I mean anything? Why am I?’ You know what I mean? I’m in the super in-between place again. I don’t know how you are, but I feel super in this in-between place, like where am I supposed to be right now? With this new single, ‘Slow Clap,’ which was written a while, in quarantine…”
She said that one of the song’s writers had a “crazy idea” about how slow-clapping in eighties movies saw people start to clap slowly before breaking out in huge applause. “It starts in high school where you feel like you don’t fit in, and then sometimes your weirdness actually is what makes you so special, and so the song is kind of about that. And it’s also about wanting to just, even though I know I’ve had my 15 minutes of my time wanting to kind of double-dip and just get a little bit more, why not? If they’re going to let me, I’m going to take it,” she told Zane.
Gwen also gave a status on her forthcoming album. “So I do have an idea what the title is, and I did actually shoot the artwork for it, and so I guess I can’t change it now, but I don’t know. I’m not really going to really reveal it, but it’s basically off of a song that I had already written that for me was the one peaking moment of like, ‘Okay, this is what defines this phase of my life. What I’m trying to do.’ Another song that I actually wrote with Ross and Luke. So we had this thing where it was like we were in a band together where we wrote nine songs in a row.”
— Gwen Stefani (@gwenstefani) March 11, 2021
Gwen’s new music comes days after her appearance at iHeartRadio Presents SeeHer Hear Her: Celebrating Women in Music event. During the chat, she spoke about how “Just A Girl” put her and No Doubt on the map in 1995. She spoke about how she created the song after her brother, Eric, exited the band the year before. “I just thought the idea of ‘Well I’m just a girl,’ I’m being sarcastic like, ‘Oh that’s all you are?’…That was a good way to say that,” she said. “This song, I knew when I would do it live, something changed. People didn’t know the words necessarily, but something about the energy of this song, [it] felt like people [were] relating to it. For a while, it felt like I was this girl in an all-guy situation, in a band where the girls looked at me like, ‘[Mock scoffing] Who are you to be up there?’ But then there was a certain point where that turned into like, ‘Woah…we’re homies. We’re on the same team.’ ”
“And that was crazy, because I never thought that I would have an impact on anyone, let alone another girl would look at me with that energy. So it was a pretty magical time to find my gift [of songwriting].” In 2020, Gwen and No Doubt reflected on the 25th anniversary of Tragic Kingdom, the album that contained “Just A Girl,” “Spiderwebs,” and “Don’t Speak,” three songs that cemented the band’s place in pop culture history. “So many people that I’ve met through the years that have told me that that’s their favorite record. I didn’t even think it would come out, let alone have people would love it and listen to it and it be their favorite,” she said in an Instagram video. “I feel like I’m still just a girl from Orange County, but I have all these blessings.”
ITS SO AMAZING OMG IM OBSESSED IT'S LIKE LET ME REINTRODUCE MYSELF'S SIBLING AHHHHH pic.twitter.com/YBD1Bzx279
— kait | SLOW CLAP OUT 3/11 (@blakeylovesgwen) March 11, 2021
Gwen was in a bit of a nostalgic mood with “Let Me Introduce Myself,” the song she released in December 2020. It was her first solo, non-holiday music since 2016’s This Is What the Truth Feels Like. The song’s reggae/ska-influenced production was reminiscent of her southern California ska-punk days. She referred to “Bananas” from “Hollaback Girl” in the lyrics. Plus, the music video was a visual trip down memory lane, with Gwen recreating a handful of her now-iconic looks.
Does this mean fans can expect a new album in 2021? “I honestly … never really was planning to do new music,” Gwent told Zane Lowe on Apple Music ahead of “Let Me Reintroduce Myself” dropped. “I mean, I fantasized about it, but I was also like… I don’t know. I always think about artists that I loved growing up, and I think I just want to listen to the songs that I like that they did. And that’s nostalgic for me. … I don’t really go seek new music from them. So something about that made me feel like why should I do it? I love writing songs.”