When’s the last time somebody asked you, “Have you heard that new Gwen Stefani song?”
Just like Ciara, Kelly Rowland, Mandy Moore (and perhaps Kelly Clarkson, depending on who you ask), we’re not really checking for new music, even though we still love following them as personalities. But surprisingly, Gwen’s music is grabbing my attention this week, because last night she dropped a remix to her latest single, “Slow Clap”, featuring Saweetie.
Now, “Slow Clap” was originally released last month and it’s a cute little record, but it’s no B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Serving as the second single from Gwen’s upcoming fifth studio album, Let Me Reintroduce Myself, the song has yet to appear anywhere on the Billboard charts three weeks after release — and I mean, nowhere. It’s not like she hasn’t promoted it. She’s performed it on GMA and Kimmel, and her 11 million instagram followers known all about it. So what’s a girl to do with a single that’s flopping? Get a rapper who’s hot right now to hop on a remix. I might be overly cynical though, because there is something organic to this team-up, which is nice to see. Gwen had somebody from her label looking for an artist to feature, but then she saw Saweetie post an Instagram story listening to “Luxurious”, a classic (in my opinion) from Gwen’s first album, so they reached out for the collab. The next day Saweetie was heading to the studio to record her verse which includes “Hollaback Girl” and “Rich Girl” shout outs: “I ain’t no Hollaback b-tch / Now I got it, I ain’t gotta act rich.”
The song’s lyrics are incredibly simple (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) but in typical early-2000s-Stefani fashion, it’s a little deeper once you actually listen. “Slow Clap” is an anthem for the underdogs and that’s who Gwen wrote it for — including herself, as she enters this phase of her career. She told Variety, it’s like in the 80s film Lucas, “where he’s the nerd and then everyone kind of slow claps him at the end for being a champion.” But the “champion” status of Gwen’s next album is still pending after lackluster response to the first two singles. The problem, to me, is her music sometimes feels immature, so some of her fanbase has grown out of her and she isn’t making the type of music the radio plays right now. But in the current state of the music industry, Saweetie starting a #SlowClapChallenge on TikTok could change everything. Appealing to new audiences is part of the cachet of this featured artist. Seeing Saweetie’s name made me pay attention and that’s exactly why, according to Variety, Gwen decided to reshoot the music video in order to include Saweetie in the visual. Aesthetically, the video calls back to Gwen’s early days but at the same time I could see any of these outfits in a high school cafeteria tomorrow and Saweetie doesn’t look out of place at all.
Give the song at least one listen. It’ll pump you up. It’s actually great workout playlist material… if I ever were to work out. And “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” is on deck for the cool down stretches.