For this week’s edition of Song Saturday, we’re looking back at one of Gwen’s cherished singles from her debut solo album, “Cool”.
Written by hit maker Dallas Austin and Gwen in 2004, “Cool” was released as Gwen’s fourth single from Love.Angel.Music.Baby. Its been noted that Austin wrote the song after being inspired by No Doubt’s “Underneath It All” and said that he was trying to write his own “Simple Kind of Life”. He was unable to finish the song on his own, so he reached out to Gwen to help co-write the rest. During a studio session together, the pair were able to finish the song in 15 minutes. The “lyrics chronicle a relationship in which two lovers have separated, but remain “cool” with each other as good friends” which hit a strong chord with Gwen. She was able to reflect on her own strong relationship with Tony over the years even “after all that” they’ve been through… they are still “Cool”. Gwen said, “When he told me about the track and where it came from for him, it just triggered something in me.” During writing sessions for her debut album, Gwen did her best to strive away from putting too much of herself into the music, but found it both difficult and therapeutic. “It just ended this whole thing for me in my head, and it puts an end to a chapter in a really nice way.”
The single was recorded in both Atlanta, Georgia and Burbank, California and produced by Dallas Austin and Nellee Hooper.
“Cool” was received well by critics and fans and was released as a CD single and digital download on August 29, 2005. The single’s sound drew similar comparisons to beloved 1980s ballads from Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. “Cool” peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and made the Top 20 all around the world. After the monster success of “Hollback Girl”, Gwen’s new single was a perfect fit to the end of summer and was promoted with a couple of notable performances on MTV’s TRL and Fashion Rocks.
The song landed at #45 on Blender magazine’s list of the “The 100 Greatest Songs of 2005”.
The music video for “Cool” was directed by longtime collaborator and close friend Sophie Muller and was filmed in beautiful Lake Como, Italy.
The video follows the song’s theme and depicts the relationship that Stefani has with a former boyfriend, who is played by Spanish actor Daniel González. González and his new girlfriend—played by Tony Kanal’s girlfriend, Erin Lokitz—are shown walking up to a villa where Stefani answers the door. The villa featured in the video is the Villa Erba, in the town of Cernobbio, which Stefani said was “so beautiful”. The three of them are seen in each other’s company, with intercut scenes of Stefani singing on a bed. There are flashbacks to the time when Stefani and her former boyfriend were dating, where she has brunette hair. Flashbacks and present day images are linked with match cut cinematography. The lyrical theme of “Cool” is maintained in the video, frames are incorporated to portray Stefani feeling “cool”. She is depicted as cool with her former boyfriend and his girlfriend throughout most of the video, although there are certain times that, when looking at her eyes during the video, one can see that she still has feelings for her ex. (Wikipedia)
The video debuted on MTV’s TRL on June 30, 2005 and peaked at #3 shortly after. “Cool” hit the #1 spot on MuchMusic’s Countdown in October 2005.
Gwen performed the song nightly on both her Harajuku Lovers Live and Sweet Escape tours and most recently during her return to the solo stage in Los Angeles last month.
Several notable official remixes were released for “Cool” including the Photek and Richard X mixes.