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"Just a Girl"
File:JustAGirlGermanCover.jpg
Single by No Doubt
from the album Tragic Kingdom
Released September 1995 (North America)
Format CD
Genre Ska punk, alternative rock, New Wave
Length 3:26
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Gwen Stefani, Tom Dumont
Producer Matthew Wilder
Certification Platinum (RIANZ)
No Doubt singles chronology

<span />

"Doghouse"
(1994)
"Just a Girl"
(1995)
"Spiderwebs"
(1995)
<span />
Alternate covers
European single cover
European single cover
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"Just a Girl" is a song written by Gwen Stefani and Tom Dumont for No Doubt's third album Tragic Kingdom. The song was released in 1995 as the album's lead single and helped the band break into mainstream music, peaking at number twenty-three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Upon release in the UK in 1996 the song only reached #38[1]. However, after the massive success of Don't Speak the song was re-released and managed a peak of #3[2].

"Just a Girl" was first aired on Californian radio show Ska Parade.[3] It was also featured in the movie Clueless and the opening credits of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion

Background and writingEdit

After Eric Stefani left No Doubt in 1994, his sister Gwen Stefani took on the role of songwriter, which dramatically changed the band's musical style. Tragic Kingdom was the first album on which Gwen Stefani had written most of the material and there were claims that the band had "sold out" - dropped their own style to pick up a more popular one in order to make more money. Tom Dumont explained the change of style in an interview with Backstage Online:

This album was our first attempt [to write simpler music]. It was Gwen's first time really writing all the lyrics herself so to me, it went the opposite from selling out we have done something that is even more personal. In the past, Eric was writing songs about his life and having Gwen sing them. Now we have Gwen singing and writing about her own experiences. It makes it more natural. She's a singer, she should sing about herself or sing what she wants to sing. I think that is the main reason why our musical style has changed.[4]

The song itself is written about Gwen Stefani's exasperation over female stereotypes, portraying women as weak and in need of a man to look after them. This is evident from lyrics such as "Don't you think I know / Exactly where I stand? / This world is forcing me / To hold your hand." She explained her inspiration in an interview for BAM Magazine:

I wrote that because my dad got mad at me for going to Tony [Kanal, No Doubt bassist]'s house and driving home late at night. I mean, c'mon, I'm, like, going on 30 here! I wouldn't trade [being female], but I really don't think guys understand what a burden it can be sometimes.[5]

MusicEdit

File:JustAGirlRiff.png

"Just a Girl" is a moderately fast song at 110 beats per minute and is written in the key of D major. Like the majority of popular music, it is set in common time.[6] The voice of the singer, Gwen Stefani, spans nearly an octave and a half, from B3 to E5 in scientific pitch notation.[6] The opening riff that Dumont uses was taken from an earlier effort by keyboardist Eric Stefani.[7] The song is heavily influenced by New Wave music, using synth noise from a Roland Jupiter-8, '80s keyboards and effects, and retro sounds.

Music video Edit

The music video was directed by Mark Kohr.

The video begins with the band members loading their silver car with recording equipment. Gwen Stefani stands in front of a damaged red car and sings. They drive away, with Tom Dumont , Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal sitting in the backseats. The band arrive at a building where Stefani enters the ladies' bathroom, carrying a boombox, and the rest of the band enters the gents', carrying speakers, instruments and electrical equipment. The ladies' bathroom is clean, brightly decorated and well furnished with flowers, fruit and two female assistants. The gents' bathroom is dark, dirty and bare-walled. The men set up and play their equipment in the gents' while Stefani sings in ladies'. Various men and women enter their respective bathrooms; the men use the urinals and the woman check their make-up, before dancing with the band. Eventually, the men take to lifting each other through the ceiling to get into the other bathroom and the video ends with everyone dancing together in the ladies'.

Charts Edit

Chart (1995) Peak
position[8][9]
Swiss Singles Top 100 31
Austria Top 40 21
French Singles Chart 28
Dutch Mega Top 50 14
Belgian Ultratop 50 30
Swedish Singles Chart 14
Norwegian Singles Chart 4
Australian ARIA Charts 3
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 9
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 10
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 23
UK Singles Chart 38
Chart (1997) Peak
position[10]
UK Singles Chart (re-release) 3

Track listingsEdit

American CD single[11]
  1. "Just a Girl" – 3:31
  2. "Different People" – 4:38
  3. "Just a Girl" (video)
European CD single[12]
  1. "Just a Girl" – 3:32
  2. "Just a Girl" (live from London, UK) – 5:39
  3. "Don't Speak" (live from Hamburg, Germany) – 5:28
  4. "Hey You" (live from Den Haag, Holland) – 3:20
German CD single[12]
  1. "Just a Girl" – 3:29
  2. "Different People" – 4:34
  3. "Open the Gate" – 3:38

Cover versionsEdit

Country music duo Bomshel recorded a cover version on its 2009 debut album Fight Like a Girl.

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.chartstats.com/songinfo.php?id=24624
  2. http://www.chartstats.com/songinfo.php?id=25356
  3. Layne, Anni. "The Ska Parade Is Coming To Town". Rolling Stone. May 9, 1998. Retrieved April 27, 2007.
  4. "Interview with Tom Dumont". 25px Hello. In case you didn't know, when you add the title of a book, film, album, magazine, or TV series to an article, it should be italicized by adding two single apostrophes on either side ('' ''). Titles of television episodes, short stories and songs should be placed within quotation marks. More detail can be found in the Wikipedia Manual of Style. No Doubt official website. October 31, 1996. http://www.nodoubt.com/press/articles/10BackStage.aspx. Retrieved on October 23 2008. 
  5. Hermanson, Wendy (November 17, 1995). "Just a Girl". BAM (San Francisco). ISSN 0194-5793. OCLC 4855429. Archived from the original. Error: You must specify the date the archive was made using the |archivedate= parameter. http://www.nodoubt.com/press/articles/01Bam.aspx. Retrieved on October 23, 2008. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Just a Girl" sheet music. Hal Leonard Corporation. 1995.
  7. "Just a Girl". Montoya, Paris and Lanham, Tom. 2003. The Singles 1992-2003 (liner notes).
  8. "Chart positions of "Just a Girl"". Australian-charts.com. http://australian-charts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=No+Doubt&titel=Just+A+Girl&cat=s. Retrieved on October 25 2008. 
  9. "Chart positions of "Just a Girl"". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/retrieve_chart_history.do?model.vnuArtistId=19895&model.vnuAlbumId=508221. Retrieved on October 25 2008. 
  10. http://www.chartstats.com/songinfo.php?id=25356
  11. "American track listing of "Just a Girl"". No Doubt official website. http://www.nodoubt.com/music/singles.aspx. Retrieved on October 26 2008. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "International track listing of "Just a Girl"". No Doubt official website. http://www.nodoubt.com/music/international.aspx. Retrieved on October 26 2008. 

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