A few mornings ago, I was listening to my iPod and decided to revisit the music of No Doubt, starting with songs on the Rock Steady album. Gwen Stefani is/was the lead singer of the group and has since produced a couple of solo albums. As I was listening, I wondered what it would be like to pair her with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (NIN). Artistically speaking, of course. Reznor appears to surround himself solely with male creatives. Perhaps he’s worked with women in the past and I’m in the dark because I’m a recent fan. In any case, I’d like to see how both Reznor’s and Stefani’s work would be impacted by teaming up.
When it comes to creative work, sometimes you’ve got to do something extreme in order to enhance your work, or give it a new direction. I’ll give you an example from my visual arts experience. During my final semester of college, I was pregnant with Eldest Son and miserably morning, noon, and night sick. I had a 400-level drawing class with a very understanding teacher. It was an independent study, so I was the only one “in class.” My teacher wanted to go easy on me, so he suggested I get a notebook and produce scribble drawings for the duration of the class. All I had to do was scribble. That’s it. When I first started, I produced complicated scribbles with distinct patterns. As the time passed, my scribbles became more free-form. By the end of the class, I was producing quick, one-line scribbles.
The strange thing about this seemingly easy exercise was that it loosened up the rest of my drawing, which tended to be precise and painstaking. After learning to scribble, I could produce other drawings faster, while maintaining accuracy. (Ironically, Eldest Son is now in a class where he is doing scribble drawings.)
While Stefani and Reznor have dissimilar styles that may not work well together, the exercise of pairing them might bring a new richness to the music of both. Reznor’s music is dark, although not as dark as it used to be. Stefani’s music is sugar and spice, with a tablespoon of piss and vinegar. (I’m thinking of her No Doubt songs “I’m Just a Girl,” ” Excuse Me Mr.,” and “Making Out” and her solo songs “Crash” and the cheerleader stomp, “Hollaback Girl.” She’s not a girl to mess with.)
I’ll have to admit, it’s not an intuitive Frankensteining of the Talent Pool, but I think there’d be some interesting sparks produced.