Album: Love.Angel.Music.Baby
Producer: Hooper, Kanal

Gwen Stefani had already scored hits produced by The Neptunes, Dallas Austin, and Dr. Dre before she released the fifth single from her solo debut Love.Angel.Music.Baby in 2004. "Luxurious" was perhaps not as memorable as "Hollaback Girl," and it didn't manage to crack the Top 20. But there's something uniquely appealing about the sheer R&B-ness of it all. Gwen had flirted with the genre for so long, and fused it with so many other genres on her debut, that to hear her go the full Marvin on "Luxurious" was a relief.

In a way, it was almost a perfect parody of a '90s R&B record. Veteran producer Nellee Hooper—the British mastermind behind Soul II Soul's "Back To Life"—convinced Gwen to sample The Isley Brothers' "Between The Sheets" (of "Big Poppa" fame). The hook is a stuttering Bone Thugs-esque chant, and the bridge features the refrain "Cha-ching!" Lyrically, the song uses luxurious imagery—platinum! cashmere! limousines!–as metaphors for the comfort of being in love. Hubby Gavin Rossdale speaks seductive French on the intro. IT HAS A FUCKING SLIM THUG GUEST VERSE FOR GOD'S SAKE.

Something about this song feels like Tony Kanal's inside joke gone too far, but it sounded great, and managed to get some spins on Hot 97. The real head-scratcher was the song's music video, where 35-year-old gringa Gwen lived out her teenage chola fantasies, dressed up like Frida Kahlo and hit a bunch of piñatas. Perhaps we should be happy that she didn't opt for blackface? —Brendan Frederick

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