Let’s all be honest with ourselves: “Settle Down” was fine, but it wasn’t amazing. At all. Actually, it was mostly just meh.

(That debut performance at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards, no matter how flawless Gwen Stefani looked, wasn’t going to make matters any better, either.)

Enter “Push & Shove,” the title track from No Doubt‘s upcoming record and, as band member Tony Kanal rightly described to Rolling Stone recently, their very own “Bohemian Rhapsody.” (Sort of.)

The Diplo & Switch (aka Major Lazer)-helmed track slip-slides, crashes and bends (and SHOVES!) itself in between rapidly changing tempos, leaping from frantic ska-tinged verses, to a spirited back-and-forth with Jamaican dancehall artist Busy Signal, to an almighty, arena-sized power pop-rock chorus: “You work it hard/Boy, you got me good/How you push and shove,” Stefani yelps. (Oooo, sexual!)

Gwen’s wacky, warbling delivery feels like a nod to her own ingenious solo work (“Make my tic talk, step up to the place/No underestimate, never play it safe!”), while the ska-tinged horns and crashing drums scream classic No Doubt.

Sure, it might not exactly be “Spiderwebs” (what is, really?), but “Push & Shove” is still a vast improvement from the first go-around, chock full of devastatingly catchy hooks and punchy rhythms.

Now that’s what I call a comeback, ladies and gwentlemen.

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  • Steve Z.

    The choruses sound like they belong on a different song. Diplo’s “everything and the kitchen sink” approach lacks the usual nuance. It’s hackneyed. I like the verses, though. But it’s not as effortless sounding and inspired as their previous records. It seems labored and overthought. I want to hear the b-sides. I bet the songs not meant for radio will be a lot better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lukerossmusic Luke Ross

    Chorus makes up for the ok verses! Absolutely love

  • Luke

    Prefer Settle Down tbh

  • theprophetblog

    Settle Down is AMAZING!

  • sph1984

    There are no b-sides. This album was hard for the band, especially them all being parents now. The 11 songs are the 11 we get save a few remixes and acoustic versions.

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  • http://twitter.com/nickynacker nick

    Couldn’t disagree more. Settle Down is amazing and this is disappointing. I agree with Steve Z. the first thing I thought was that the chorus sounds out of place. It sounds so sudden and weird when it goes into the chorus, like listening to the radio and changing the station to a completely different song. It doesn’t flow and it sounds awkward to me. I just can’t wait for the rest of the album to leak. I love all the previews.

  • http://twitter.com/nickynacker nick

    And I don’t know what the hell he meant with that Bohemian Rhapsody comment…. what the hell….