I’ll never forget December of 1995, when I asked my parents to get me No Doubt’s album, Tragic Kingdom, as a Chanukah gift. It’s one of the first albums I’ve ever actually owned all to myself  (I’m pretty sure Brandy‘s and Britney‘s album debuts in 1998 came next), but I didn’t know back then how much of an effect this album would have on my soon-to-be-pop-music-obsessed teen ( and fine, adult) brain until now. So let’s look back on the album that kinda changed my pop culture life today, on Gwen Stefani‘s 44th (what?!) birthday. Here goes…

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The first single off the album was “Just a Girl,” which to this day is a classic and has been covered by like, everyone. Last year I witnessed Gwen signing the song with Pink LIVE at the iHeartRadio Music Festival and it was a magical moment that brought me back to that winter when I was 8. Good times.

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Then came “Spiderwebs,” which was basically like the 1996 version of “Call Me Maybe.” If we all had cell phones back then, can’t you see that being like the song that plays on your voicemail? Or something? That song was way ahead of the times.

Next came “Don’t Speak,” which was seriously one of my favorite songs of the era (well, until Spice came out in 1997 in which case that was the only album I’d listen to but I digress). Then when they covered this classic song on Glee last season? Dead.

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Next was “Excuse Me Mister” which certainly isn’t as classic as the first three singles, but it holds a place in my heart because I remember dancing to this song in my room wearing a wife beater and pretending I was so punk like Gwen.

So this has been fun, hasn’t it? I wish the happiest of birthdays to Gwen, and I hope she knows that as much as I’d loved No Doubt throughout the years and certainly appreciated her solo career too (B.A.N.A.N.A.S, anyone?), nothing will ever top Tragic Kingdom for me. Nothing.

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What was the first album you remember loving? What are your bday wishes for Gwen today? Tweet us @OKMagazine!

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