NO DOUBT Rocksteady (Interscope) Rating: NNNN
No way Britney's the new Madonna. While everyone's been ogling the former Mouseketeer's ample implants, Gwen Stefani has quietly assumed the throne. She's got the chameleon-like persona down pat. And in a sea of generic pop and lip-synched stadium extravaganzas, No Doubt are creating the kind of danceable, well-crafted tunes Ms. Ciccone made in the mid-80s. No Doubt have expanded their sound, eschewing their trademark ska-pop punk for a gleeful pastiche-o-rama. Expert producers give the tracks an air of authenticity: ex-Car Ric Ocasek lends a hand on the synthsational, utterly 80s Don't Let Me Down (which sounds like an outtake from True Blue); William Orbit helps out with Molokoesque house-pop; and Sly & Robbie contribute sun-drenched reggae flava.