Gwen Stefani hops in the wayback machine again on her new single, “Slow Clap,” which dropped Thursday (March 11). The reggae-vibed song — the singer’s first release of the year — is another dose of Stefani’s signature ska-influenced pop in the vein of classic early 1990s No Doubt.
“I’ll be David, you Goliath/ Set the rule and I’ll defy it/ You’ll be angry, I’ll be quiet/ You’ll be purple, I’m the violet,” she sings on the bouncy track co-written by singer Ross Golan and producer Luke Niccoli, whom she teamed with on earlier single “Let Me Reintroduce Myself.”
The hand-slapping, spunky chorus brings the signature Stefani heat and swagger on the lines “Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap/ Clap, de-clap, de-clap, clap, slow clap/Walk into the room like a boss, slow clap/ Puttin’ on a little extra sauce, slow clap.”
It’s the second verse, though, where Gwen asserts her veteran chops, chronicles her ups and downs and reminds everyone that she’s already climbed from the bottom to the top. So if you think you can take her spot, she warns, just hold on, junior.
“Been the champion, rang the bell/Rocked the bottom, been through hell/Climbed the mountain, now I’m well,” she explains. “I just feel like coming back for the belt/ I don’t wanna go to the back of the line/ No, no, I put in my time/From the garage to the penthouse girls/Underdog to the top of the world.”
In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Stefani explained of that the song originated from her collaborator Ross Golan, who woke up at 5 a.m. and “had this crazy weird idea.” According to the singer, he sang the song into his phone, which then became her latest single. “I was like, ‘You’re the weirdest guy ever,'” she recalls telling Golan. “And he was like, ‘It’s kind of like all those movies from the ’80s where you get clapped back to life. Like yes, you’re not the underdog. You’re an awesome person.’ And I feel like it’s that thing that happens to us through our life.”
“Clap” and “Reintroduce” are expected to appear on Stefani’s upcoming fourth full-length studio album, whose title and release date have not yet been announced. Stefani dropped You Make It Feel Like Christmas in October 2017, but has not issued a proper solo album since March 2016’s This Is What the Truth Feels Like.
She told Billboard shortly before the holiday season that she probably has “like 19 or 20 songs now, but I still want to go back in and write some more once we get through Christmas.”
Listen to “Slow Clap” below.