Every No Doubt album ranked from worst to best

No Doubt in 1996
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

Since their formation in Anaheim, California in the mid-80s, there have been few alternative bands that have changed, evolved, adapted and succeeded quite like No Doubt. From their early years as part of America’s first wave of ska bands, to their breakthrough and huge success leaning into a more pop-punk and new wave-driven sound, to the super shiny, mainstream-dominating electro pop of their final form, the pure star power they (well, mainly lead singer Gwen Stafani) exhibited made them a fascinating band to be a fan of. To celebrate their return, following the announcement that they’ll be reforming to play Coachella in April, we’ve ranked their six studio albums from worst to best. 

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6. No Doubt (1992) 

Madness meets Madonna would have been a pretty difficult sell at the height of grunge. Hence why No Doubt’s debut album was received with little more than a shrug upon release in 1992. Did it deserve better? Almost certainly, although the pure ska and swing vibes of majority of the album would be bettered by the band almost immediately. A song like Sometimes hints at future greatness, but this is for completists only. 

5. Push and Shove (2012) 

After reforming in 2009, it took three more years before we got No Doubt’s sixth album and, like many comeback records, it was something of a hotchpotch run through every aspect of their career. Opener Settle Down is a throbbing, modern, electro-pop rager, Push And Shove brings shiny stadium ska to the masses and Sparkle is a wistful, dubby, pop ballad. It didn’t always hit the highest highs of what came before, but Push And Shove was still a welcome return. 

4. The Beacon Street Collection (1995) 

Self-recorded and self-released by the band in frustration due to the lack of interest Interscope Records were showing them, The Beacon Street Collection is something of a lost gem in the No Doubt back catalogue. Unquestionably the roughest and punkiest they have ever sounded, the horn-parping energy of opener Open The Gate beautifully sets the tone for the rest of the album. The sophisti-pop tinkle of Striken, the funk rock crunch of Snakes and the pacy, ska-core Total Hate ‘95 (featuring late Sublime icon Bradley Nowell) are all top-tier No Doubt songs. 

3. Return Of Saturn (2000) 

It took five years, plenty of personal and professional travails and a clear change in direction for No Doubt to follow the biggest album of their career. But, even though few thought it at the time, Return Of Saturn is a great successor to the albatross that was round their neck. Lyrically darker, tonally angrier, but still containing that inescapable sugary sweetness so inbuilt in their DNA, hindsight has shown how skilfully the band navigated their most challenging period with songs like Ex-Girlfriend and Bathwater

2. Rock Steady (2001) 

By the time Rock Steady arrived in 2001, No Doubt had moved on from anything resembling punk rock and instead decided to make an album worthy of their pop megastar influences. Drafting in the likes of Ric Ocasek from The Cars, Sly and Robbie and Nellie Hooper, William Orbit and Prince as producers, Rock Steady is a fantastically wild ride through dancehall, electro-pop, new wave, hip-hop and dance. Hella Good and Hey Baby were huge, club-ready bangers, Underneath It All was as marshmallow sweet as they had ever sounded, and In My Head brought some doo-wop shuffle. A great parting shot before Gwen went off to become a solo megastar. 

1. Tragic Kingdom (1995) 

One of the definitive albums of the 90s, full-stop. Tragic Kingdom turned a scrappy ska punk band into multi-platinum-selling rock stars (16 million copies, if you’re counting), all fronted by someone who'd become one of the most famous faces on the planet at the time. It’s really not hard to work out why: the rougher and skankier edges of their previous material was replaced by major label sheen, a poppier bent and songs that any band would kill to write; Spiderwebs, Just A Girl, Sunday Morning and Happy Now? all are just incredible, instantaneous, stadium alt-pop anthems. But Don’t Speak remains the essential moment of their entire career: a gorgeous, lilting ballad that still pulls at the heartstrings almost three decades after its release. 

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.