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While we were all busy waiting for a certain Bajan bad gal to make her grand return to music, one of the most exciting pop stars of all time ever so subtly released her first new single in over six years. The magic of Q4, right?
That’s right, Gwenny Gwen Gwen has returned! And not a moment too soon. The lead single from Gwen’s third solo album, ‘Baby Don’t Lie’ was released on iTunes this morning (in almost every territory except for the UK, naturally). It’s safe to say that the opening singles from her first two albums were equal parts thrilling and bonkers, from the yodelling in ‘Wind It Up’ to the ‘tick-tock, tick-tock’ refrain of ‘What You Waiting For’ that has been stuck in my head for about 9 years. Gwen has always had a way of taking her sound in unusual directions, and her debut album remains one of the strangest collections of stellar songs I’ve ever heard. That’s why it’s peculiar that the most surprising about ‘Baby Don’t Lie’ is how… straightforward it all is.
It’s fair to have expected something groundbreaking for Gwen’s grand return, so the song’s simple reggae-pop beat and repetitive chorus are a little underwhelming upon first listen. It isn’t difficult to imagine this song being performed by a handful of other popstars, something that couldn’t be said for her earlier material, and that’s definitely a little disappointing. However, those higher notes at the end of almost each line (‘look me in the lie, baby don’t liIE!’) and that hand-clapping middle 8 keep the song from becoming too safe.
It’s fair to say that Gwen is playing it safer than usual for her reintroduction to the pop scene, but I’m okay with it. If anything, going down this route was probably a bigger risk for her, as an R&B Pharrell jam is probably the single most people expected her to release.
‘Baby Don’t Lie’ was clearly hand-crafted to be a huge radio smash the world over, and I’m fairly certain her next single (not to mention the album) will showcase the more eccentric sound we’re used to hearing from the hollaback girl. Those who wanted more from her will get what they asked for soon enough, while the rest of us can have fun listening to this on repeat until that happens. Win/win!