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Single by No Doubt
from the album Return of Saturn
Released November 14, 2000
Genre Ska punk
Length 4:03
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Tom Dumont, Tony Kanal, Gwen Stefani
Producer Glen Ballard
No Doubt singles chronology
"Simple Kind of Life"
"Hey Baby"

"Bathwater" is a ska punk song written by Tom Dumont, Tony Kanal, and Gwen Stefani for No Doubt's fourth studio album Return of Saturn (2000). It was released as the album's fourth and final single on November 14, 2000.


Background and writing

The song was written in only ten minutes, opening with slow New Orleans funeral brass and Adrian Young as a human beat-box. The lyrics discuss overcoming insecurities about a relationship with adoration. The lyric "to wash in your old bathwater" means accepting a lover's faults.[1]

"Bathwater" is a ska punk song written in the key of E minor. It is composed in swing time with a medium swing and moves at a moderately fast tempo of 138 beats per minute. The song's verses are carried by perfect fifth chords with a i-IV chord progression. Some use minor key piano chords on the off beat. Stefani's vocal range spans over two octaves in the song, from G3 to B5.[2]

Critical reception

"Bathwater" received mixed reviews from music critics. Entertainment Weekly described the song's cabaret style as campy and noted that "even lovelorn teen girls may... think it's pretty yucky."[3] Rolling Stone described it as a combination of 2 Tone and the slapstick of farces by Gilbert and Sullivan that "never drops the band's signature blend of adrenaline and sugar."[4] In its review of The Singles 1992-2003, OMH Media disagreed and referred to it as an "uncomfortable merging" of 1940s dance music and the work of 2 Tone band Madness.[5]

Music video

The music video was directed by Sophie Muller, who also directed the video to their previous single, "Simple Kind of Life". The whole video comprises dancing. In it, Adrian Young appears in drag as Gwen. It also features the burlesque group The Pussycat Dolls.

Track listing

  1. Bathwater (G. Stefani/T. Kanal/T. Dumont) - 4:03
  2. Beauty Contest (G. Stefani/T. Kanal) - 4:14
  3. Under Construction (G. Stefani/T. Kanal) - 3:12
  4. Ex-Girlfriend - Acoustic Live (G. Stefani/T. Dumont/T. Kanal) - 3:50

Chart performance

The single was a commercial failure, as had been much of the Return of Saturn project. In the United States, the song failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100 and barely entered the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, inching to #39.[6] In its initial release the song also failed to chart on the Top 75 Singles chart in the UK; however, upon re-release in 2004 as the second single from the compilation album The Singles 1992-2003, it peaked at #17.

In the territories where the song did chart, it performed poorly. On the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, the single managed a #79 peak position. In Germany, the song reached #73.

On American Idol (season 6), Sanjaya Malakar performed "Bathwater", the week that Gwen Stefani was the mentor for the contestants.[7] This performance is most famed for the mohawk Malakar wore, which was composed of seven ponytails.

Chart (2000) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 79
German Singles Chart 73
Chart (2001) Peak
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40[6] 39
Chart (2004) Peak
UK Singles Chart 17

Bathwater (Invincible Overlord Remix)

"Bathwater (Invincible Overlord Remix)"
Single by No Doubt
from the album The Singles 1992-2003
Released April 20, 2004
Genre Ska punk
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Tom Dumont, Tony Kanal, Gwen Stefani
No Doubt singles chronology
"It's My Life"
"Bathwater (Invincible Overlord Remix)"

"Bathwater (Invincible Overlord Remix)" was released as a single for the album The Singles 1992-2003, although it is actually not on the album. It charted poorly until released as a double A-side single with a cover of Talk Talk's It's My Life when it peaked at #17. The video for "Bathwater (Invincible Overlord Remix)" is mostly an edited version of the video for "Bathwater".


Track listing

  1. "Bathwater" (Invincible Overlord remix)
  2. "It's My Life" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke mix)
  3. "Bathwater" (Invincible Overlord remix) (video)
  4. "It's My Life" (video)

Official versions

  • "Bathwater" - 4:03
  • "Bathwater" (Invincible Overlord Remix)
  • "Bathwater" (2002 Live) (Recorded live 23 November 2002, Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, California) - 4:01


  1. ^ "Bathwater". Montoya, Paris and Lanham, Tom. 2003. The Singles 1992-2003 (liner notes). Retrieved December 6, 2006.
  2. ^ Sheet music for "Bathwater". Hal Leonard Corporation. 2000.
  3. ^ Browne, David. "Return of Saturn | Music Review". Entertainment Weekly. April 10, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  4. ^ Walters, Barry. "No Doubt: Return Of Saturn : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. April 27, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  5. ^ McDonnell, Sara. "No Doubt - The Singles 1992-2003 (Interscope)". OMH Media. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Return of Saturn". Allmusic. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  7. ^ Poniewozik, James"Sanjaya Malakar - Bathwater" Time Retrieved October 20, 2007

External links


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