I'm not very guarded when it comes to my adoration of Gwen Stefani. As a consumer of both style and music, there's no more complete package; Juliette Lewis has style, but I hate her music; Yelle has music, but I hate her style. Gwen Stefani is the modern equivalent of Marlene Dietrich, an artist so cunning, current and timeless her brilliance becomes an afterthought. I own all of No Doubt's albums (Return of Saturn being my favorite), both of Stefani's solo releases, and I look forward to No Doubt's upcoming fifth studio album with high expectations. (Random fact: Stefani was not the original lead singer of No Doubt. The leader singer committed suicide, and--surprise!--Gwennie can sing)
Stefani is powerful. She dominated an all-male rock band for twelve years, broke off and set records with Love. Angel. Music. Baby., sells a kick-ass clothing line with actual relevance, and has completely reinvented herself as a cocaine-snorting femme fatale-slash-mother-slash-wife since 2006. Sans cocaine, of course.
One of her most important songs, "Cool" off L.A.M.B., had an even more important video. The music video for "Cool" is a snapshot of pop culture in our era, completely free of year indicators or tongue-in-cheek references to society. Keep in mind, this video was produced in 2004. Almost five years ago, Stefani was wearing what iconic designer Michael Kors designed for next spring. Impossible. The song is nice, too, but the visual design of this video captures exactly who Stefani is, and is how I hope my generation's pop culture is remembered.
Above: Notice the cinematography in this shot.
Above: Stefani may actually look better as a brunette, which is her natural color.
This is it. This is the image I want people to remember. As a lover of aesthetic beauty of any kind, this is the Mona Lisa of music videos.