Cool (Gwen Stefani song): Wikis

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"Cool"
Single by Gwen Stefani
from the album Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
Released May 1, 2005 (2005-05-01)
(see release history)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded DARP Studios
(Atlanta, Georgia)
O'Henry Sound Studios
(Burbank, California)
Genre Pop rock, New Wave
Length 3:09 (Album Version)
4:05 (Video Edit)
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Gwen Stefani, Dallas Austin
Producer Dallas Austin
Gwen Stefani singles chronology
"Hollaback Girl"
(2005)
"Cool"
(2005)
"Can I Have It Like That"
(2005)

"Cool" is a pop rock song written by Gwen Stefani and Dallas Austin for Stefani's debut solo album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (2004). The song's musical style and production were heavily inspired by pop and New Wave music from the 1980s, and its lyrics chronicle a relationship in which two lovers have separated, but remain "cool" with each other as good friends. "Cool" received praise from pop music critics, and the media have drawn parallels between the song's lyrical content and the romantic relationship that Stefani had with Tony Kanal, a fellow group member of No Doubt.

The song was released as the album's fourth single in mid-2005 and entered the top twenty of the majority of the charts it appeared on. Although "Cool" failed to match the success of its predecessor "Hollaback Girl", it reached number one in Canada.

Contents

Background and writing

The lyrics of "Cool" reflect Stefani's former relationship with No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal. Although their romantic relationship ended, Stefani's lyrics portray her attitude that it is "cool" that they still remain very good friends. Stefani and Kanal's relationship had provided the inspiration for No Doubt's "Don't Speak" (1996),[1] and while "Cool" presents an amicable friendship between former lovers,[2] "Don't Speak" is about a failing relationship and never arrives at a solution for the couple.[1] Stefani and Kanal supply the basis for the characters.

Dallas Austin wrote "Cool" after listening to No Doubt's "Underneath It All" (2002).[3] He was unable to finish the song and asked Stefani if she wanted to co-write lyrics.[3] During a studio session together, they finished "Cool" in fifteen minutes.[2] "When he told me about the track and where it came from for him, it just triggered something in me," Stefani said.[2]

Because Austin had wanted to write a song about the aftermath of his failed relationship, the lyrics recall a romantic affiliation from the point of view of one who has moved on from their former lover. Stefani indicates that she is in a new relationship. They suggest a progression "through a turbulent time to an understanding that takes their relationship to a level of respect.

Stefani sums up the evolution of their relationship with the line "after all that we've been through, I know we're cool". The former couple are now "hanging out" with Kanal's new girlfriend, while Stefani has married and is pleased that he calls her by her "new last name".

Stefani said that she had never intended to include "personal"[2] material on Love. Angel. Music. Baby. and commented, "but no matter what you do, things just come out. It just ended this whole thing for me in my head, and it puts an end to a chapter in a really nice way."[2]

"Cool" was featured in the 2006 comedy-drama film Click.

Music and structure

"Cool" is a mid-tempo love song featuring New Wave production and is composed in D major. It is written in common time and moves at a moderate tempo of 112 beats per minute.[4] The song is written in the common verse-chorus form[4] and features five instruments: bass guitar, drums, guitar, keyboards, and synthesizer.[5] "Cool" opens with all five instruments, and as Stefani begins singing, the synthesizer is lowered, and the hard-hitting drum beat steadily increases in volume. She performs her highest pitch (C#5) during the chorus, after which she sings in a softer, almost sotto voice, and her lowest pitch (E3) at the beginning of the verses.

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The synthesizer emulates brass and woodwind instruments, while the bass and guitar retain a prominent and regular eighth note pulse, using a I-IV-V chord progression for the verses. In the percussion section a drum kit is used, and the snare is introduced at the beginning of the first chorus, which maintains its beat. During the song's fade-out, Stefani repeats "I know we're cool" and "yeah", and she occasionally emphasizes "cool". Her vocal range covers close to two octaves.[4]

Critical reception

"Cool" was generally very well-received by contemporary pop music critics. LAUNCHcast's Jennifer Nine referred to the song as "a liltingly sweet paean to post-break-up friendships",[6] while Allmusic wrote that the "high school anthem-in-waiting" exuded "sleek, new wave textures".[7] Richard Smirke of PlayLouder commented that the song successfully used the same production formula as fellow album tracks "Serious" and "What You Waiting For?", and described it as a "crisp blend of edgy 21C production and early 80s Madonna-esque pop".[8]

Jason Damas, in a review for PopMatters, characterized the song as "a slippery slice of keyboard driven new wave pop that easily could've slotted into any No Doubt album ... pitched halfway between The Go-Go's and Cyndi Lauper", and added, "the lyrics immediately ensure it will be sung along to by lonely 16-year-olds".[9] While Blender magazine ranked "Cool" at number forty-five on its list of "The 100 Greatest Songs of 2005",[10] Bill Lamb of About.com felt that it "doesn't immediately grab attention like her other singles"[11] and the Toronto Star called it "the year's love anthem, but at the cost of its short length and undeniable repetition".[3]

Chart performance

Stefani performing "Cool" on the Harajuku Lovers Tour 2005.

Although "Cool" was officially released to U.S. radio on July 5, 2005, it appeared a week early on Billboard magazine's Pop 100 Airplay chart. The song reached the top ten on the Pop 100, and the following week it debuted on the Hot 100, the official U.S. chart. "Cool" peaked at number thirteen in its eighth week and remained on the chart until its twentieth week. The song entered the top twenty on the majority of the Billboard charts on which it appeared, and its remixes topped the Hot Dance Club Play chart in mid-November. While "Cool" proved somewhat popular on the Adult Contemporary chart, it peaked inside the top five on the Adult Top 40 format and reached the top ten on the U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40, a chart unassociated with Billboard.

In Canada "Cool" was officially released to radio on July 13, 2005. The song reached the top five on the Canadian BDS airplay chart and remained in the top ten for another month. "Cool" debuted higher on the Canadian Singles Chart than it did in the U.S. and topped the chart three months later for two weeks, from October 13, 2005. It peaked higher in Canada than "Hollaback Girl"'s predecessor "Rich Girl", while in the U.S. "Rich Girl" was the single that charted higher.

Stefani at the Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

The song was released in Australia, Europe, and New Zealand on August 22, 2005. "What You Waiting For?" (Love. Angel. Music. Baby.'s first single) and "Rich Girl" reached the UK top five, but "Hollaback Girl" had only the top ten. "Cool" continued the trend of lower-charting singles when it debuted and peaked at number eleven. Stefani's previous singles had charted most strongly in Australia, where "What You Waiting For?" and "Hollaback Girl" debuted at number one and "Rich Girl" at number two. "Cool" debuted at number ten and quickly descended the chart, but widespread airplay and Stefani's concurrent promotional visit to Australia stimulated a resurgence of interest in Love. Angel. Music. Baby., which briefly reascended the albums chart again.

Although "Cool" reached the top ten in the Netherlands and New Zealand, it was a moderate top twenty success in Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Norway. The song peaked at number five on the Russian Airplay Chart, but was not commercially successful in Japan, where it reached number seventy-five on the airplay chart.

Music video

The song's music video was directed by Sophie Muller and filmed in Lake Como, Italy.[12] The video follows the song's theme very closely and depicts the relationship that Stefani has with a former boyfriend, who is played by Spanish actor Daniel González. González and his new girlfriend (played by Tony Kanal's girlfriend, Erin Lokitz) are shown walking to a house. Stefani answers the door, and the three of them are seen in each other's company, with intercut scenes of Stefani rolling around on a bed. There are brief flashbacks to the time when Stefani and her former boyfriend were dating, where she wears a brunette wig, representing her younger self (her natural brown hair has not been seen since she was in ninth grade).[13] Flashbacks and modern day are linked with match cut cinematography. The lyrical theme of "Cool" is maintained in the video, frames are incorporated to portray Stefani feeling "cool". She is depicted as "cool" with her former boyfriend and his girlfriend throughout most of the video.

The music video includes match cut flashbacks to Stefani's relationship as it comes to an end.

The video showcases the scenery of Como's forests, lakes and restaurants and was the first from Love. Angel. Music. Baby. not to include Stefani's Harajuku Girls, who were present throughout the majority of the album's promotion. The complete version of "Cool" featured in the music video was released commercially on CD single and digital download formats and introduced an orchestral arrangement that differs from the original 1980s composition on Love. Angel. Music. Baby.

"Cool" premiered on MTV's top ten chart program Total Request Live on June 30, 2005,[14] where it reached number three.[14] On VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown, the video peaked at number two.[15] After its July 8 debut on MuchMusic's Countdown, it reached number one for the week of October 7.[16] "Cool" debuted and peaked at number nine on LAUNCHcast's top one hundred most-watched videos for the week of July 23.[17]

Track listing

U.S. CD single
  1. "Cool" (Album Version) – 3:09
  2. "Cool" (Photek Remix) – 5:19
  3. "Hollaback Girl" (Dancehollaback Remix by Tony Kanal featuring Elan) – 6:53
  4. "Cool" (Video) – 4:06

Credits and personnel

  • Keyboards: André 3000, Dallas Austin
  • Producer: Dallas Austin
  • Additional production: Nellee Hooper
  • Programmer: Jason Lader
  • synthesizer: Tony Kanal
  • Recorded at DARP Studios in Atlanta, Georgia and at O'Henry Sound Studios in Burbank, California, U.S.

Charts

Chart (2005) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart[18] 10
Austrian Singles Chart[18] 15
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)[18] 36
Belgian Tip Chart (Wallonia)[19] 2
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Danish Singles Chart[18] 14
Dutch Top 40[18] 6
European Hot 100 Singles[20] 26
Finnish Singles Chart[18] 18
French Singles Chart[18] 32
German Singles Chart[18] 20
Hungarian Airplay Chart[21] 12
Chart (2005) Peak
position
Irish Singles Chart[18] 12
Italian Singles Chart[19] 15
New Zealand Singles Chart[18] 9
Norwegian Singles Chart[18] 16
Russian Airplay Chart[22] 5
Swiss Singles Chart[18] 24
UK Singles Chart[18] 11
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[23] 13
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary[23] 23
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[23]
  • Photek/Richard X remixes
1
U.S. Billboard Pop 100[23] 9
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Year-end charts

Chart (2005) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[24] 124
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[25] 76
U.S. Billboard Pop 100[26] 57

Chart procession and succession

Preceded by
"Don't Cha" by Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes
Canadian Singles Chart number-one single
October 15, 2005 – October 22, 2005
Succeeded by
"Alive" by Melissa O'Neil
Preceded by
"Precious" by Depeche Mode
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
November 12, 2005
Succeeded by
"Hung Up" by Madonna

Release history

Region Date
United States May 1, 2005 (2005-05-01)
World August 2005 (2005-08)

Notes

  1. ^ a b "The phenom": Information on the inspiration for "Don't Speak". October 20, 2005. "Sign on San Diego". Retrieved October 20, 2005.
  2. ^ a b c d e Vineyard, Jennifer. MTV News. "Gwen Stefani's Song About Tony Kanal To Be Her Next Single". Retrieved November 28, 2005.
  3. ^ a b c Cohen, Sandy. "'Underneath It All' helped conceive the year's love anthem". Toronto Star. F1. Retrieved October 15, 2005.
  4. ^ a b c Commercial sheet music for "Cool". EMI Music Publishing. Distributed by Hal Leonard Publishing. Retrieved October 20, 2005.
  5. ^ Unknown (2004). In Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (CD liner notes). United States: Interscope Records. Retrieved December 7, 2006.
  6. ^ Nine, Jennifer. "Gwen Stefani — 'Love, Angel, Music, Baby'". LAUNCHcast. November 25, 2004. Retrieved October 25, 2005.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Love.Angel.Music.Baby". Allmusic. Retrieved October 25, 2005.
  8. ^ Smirke, Richard. "Love. Angel. Music. Baby.". PlayLouder. November 23, 2004. Retrieved October 25, 2005.
  9. ^ Damas, Jason. "GWEN STEFANI – Love.Angel.Music.Baby.". PopMatters. November 29, 2004. Retrieved October 25, 2005.
  10. ^ "The 100 Greatest Songs of 2005". Blender. January/February 2006. Retrieved June 1, 2006.
  11. ^ Lamb, Bill. "Gwen Stefani — Cool". About.com. Retrieved October 25, 2005.
  12. ^ Collis, Clark. "Holla Back". Entertainment Weekly. December 1, 2006: issue #909. Retrieved April 11, 2007.
  13. ^ Toht, Betony. "Transformation". In Style. Retrieved April 28, 2007.
  14. ^ a b "The TRL Archive — Debuts". PopFusion. Retrieved January 30, 2007.
  15. ^ "Gwen Stefani biography". VH1.com. Information on Gwen Stefani. Retrieved January 30, 2007.
  16. ^ #1s. MuchMusic programming. Original airdate: October 2006. Retrieved January 30, 2007.
  17. ^ LAUNCHcast. "Top 100". Retrieved January 30, 2007.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Gwen Stefani – Cool – Music Charts". αCharts.us. http://acharts.us/song/851. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  19. ^ a b "ultratop.be – Gwen Stefani – Cool". Ultratop. http://www.ultratop.be/en/showitem.asp?interpret=Gwen+Stefani&titel=Cool&cat=s. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  20. ^ "Gwen Stefani Album & Song Chart History – European Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.. http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/gwen-stefani/chart-history/239085?f=349&g=Singles. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  21. ^ "Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista – 2005. 43. hét" (in Hungarian). Mahasz. http://www.mahasz.hu/m/?menu=slagerlistak&menu2=archivum&lista=radios&ev=2005&het=43&submit_=Keresés. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  22. ^ "Gwen Stefani – Cool – TopHit.ru". TopHit.ru. http://www.tophitru.com/cgi-bin/trackinfo.cgi?id=3599. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  23. ^ a b c d "Love.Angel.Music.Baby. > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:g9fuxqrsldhe~T31. Retrieved August 1, 2007.  
  24. ^ http://www.chartsplus.co.uk/ChartsPlusYE2005.pdf
  25. ^ Billboard Year End Charts - Top 100 Albums - Billboard Music Charts
  26. ^ Billboard Year End Charts - Top 100 Albums - Billboard Music Charts

References

External links


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