Bathwater (song)

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Australian commercial single
Single by No Doubt
from the album Return of Saturn
  • "Beauty Contest"
  • "Under Construction"
Released November 14, 2000
Length 4:01
Label Interscope
Producer(s) Glen Ballard
No Doubt singles chronology
"Simple Kind of Life"
"Hey Baby"

"Bathwater" is a ska punk song written by Tom Dumont, Tony Kanal, and Gwen Stefani for No Doubt's fourth studio album Return of Saturn (2000). It was released as the album's fourth and final single on November 14, 2000.

Background and writing

The song was written in only ten minutes, opening with slow New Orleans funeral brass and Adrian Young as a human beat-box. The lyrics discuss overcoming insecurities about a relationship with adoration. The lyric "to wash in your old bathwater" means accepting a lover's faults.[1]

"Bathwater" is a ska punk song written in the key of E minor. It is composed in swing time with a medium swing and moves at a moderately fast tempo of 138 beats per minute. The song's verses are carried by perfect fifth chords with a i-IV chord progression. Some use minor key piano chords on the off beat. Stefani's vocal range spans over two octaves in the song, from G3 to B5.[2]

Critical reception

"Bathwater" received mixed reviews from music critics. Entertainment Weekly described the song's cabaret style as campy and noted that "even lovelorn teen girls may... think it's pretty yucky."[3] Rolling Stone described it as a combination of 2 Tone and the slapstick of farces by Gilbert and Sullivan that "never drops the band's signature blend of adrenaline and sugar."[4] In its review of The Singles 1992-2003, OMH Media disagreed and referred to it as an "uncomfortable merging" of 1940s dance music and the work of 2 Tone band Madness.[5]

Music video

The music video was directed by Sophie Muller, who also directed the video to their previous single, "Simple Kind of Life". The whole video comprises dancing. In it, Adrian Young cross-dresses as Gwen by wearing a platinum blonde wig and a black dress and Gwen appears herself with her trademark platinum blonde hair and wearing a black shirt saying "CAN'T TOUCH THIS" in glittery writing. It also features members of the burlesque group The Pussycat Dolls.

Track listing

  1. Bathwater (G. Stefani/T. Kanal/T. Dumont) - 4:03
  2. Beauty Contest (G. Stefani/T. Kanal) - 4:14
  3. Under Construction (G. Stefani/T. Kanal) - 3:12
  4. Ex-Girlfriend - Acoustic Live (G. Stefani/T. Dumont/T. Kanal) - 3:50

Chart performance

The single was a commercial failure, contradicting the overall success of the Return of Saturn project. In the United States, the song failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100 and barely entered the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, inching to number 39.[6]

In the territories where the song did chart, it performed poorly. On the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, the single managed a number 71 peak position. In Germany, the song reached number 73.

On American Idol (season 6), Sanjaya Malakar performed "Bathwater", the week that Gwen Stefani was the mentor for the contestants.[7] This performance is most famed for the mohawk Malakar wore, which was composed of seven ponytails.


Chart (2000–2001) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[8] 71
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[9] 4
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[10] 5
Germany (Official German Charts)[11] 73
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[12] 39

Invincible Overlord Remix

"Bathwater (Invincible Overlord Remix)"
Bathwater Invicible Cover.jpg
Single by No Doubt
Released April 20, 2004
Label Interscope
No Doubt singles chronology
"It's My Life"
"Bathwater (Invincible Overlord Remix)"
"Settle Down"

"Bathwater (Invincible Overlord Remix)" was released as a single to promote the album The Singles 1992–2003, although the version on the album is the original version from Return of Saturn, not the remixed version. The song was remixed by Invincible Overlord, No Doubt guitarist Tom Dumont's side project. "Bathwater" was not originally released in the UK as a single; however, it was issued in 2004 as the second single from The Singles 1992–2003, as a double A-side with a re-release of previous single "It's My Life". The single peaked at number 17 on the UK Singles Chart.[13] The video for "Bathwater (Invincible Overlord Remix)" is an edited version of the original video. It was the last single released by No Doubt before their five-year hiatus due to Gwen Stefani's solo career.

Track listing

CD single

  1. "Bathwater" (Invincible Overlord remix)
  2. "It's My Life" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke mix)
  3. "Bathwater" (Invincible Overlord remix) (video)
  4. "It's My Life" (video)

UK CD single - "It's My Life" / "Bathwater"[14][15]

  1. "It's My Life" – 3:48
  2. "Bathwater" (Invincible Overlord Remix) - 3:07
  3. "It's My Life" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Mix) - 6:59
  4. "It's My Life" (Chocolate O'Brian Remix) - 5:43
  5. "Bathwater" (Invincible Overlord Remix Video)
  6. "It's My Life" (Video)


Chart (2004) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[16] 61
Ireland (IRMA)[17] 6
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[18] 22
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[19] 17

Official versions

  • "Bathwater" - 4:03
  • "Bathwater" (Invincible Overlord Remix)
  • "Bathwater" (2002 Live) (Recorded live 23 November 2002, Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, California) - 4:01


  1. ^ "Bathwater". Montoya, Paris and Lanham, Tom. 2003. The Singles 1992-2003 (liner notes). Retrieved December 6, 2006.
  2. ^ Sheet music for "Bathwater". Hal Leonard Corporation. 2000.
  3. ^ Browne, David. "Return of Saturn | Music Review". Entertainment Weekly. April 10, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  4. ^ Walters, Barry. "No Doubt: Return Of Saturn : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. April 27, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  5. ^ McDonnell, Sara. "No Doubt - The Singles 1992-2003 (Interscope)" Archived 2009-02-07 at the Wayback Machine. OMH Media. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  6. ^ "Return of Saturn". Allmusic. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  7. ^ Poniewozik, James "Sanjaya Malakar - Bathwater" Time Retrieved October 20, 2007
  8. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  9. ^ " – No Doubt – Bathwater" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  10. ^ " – No Doubt – Bathwater" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  11. ^ " – No Doubt – Bathwater". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  12. ^ "No Doubt Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  13. ^ "No Doubt: Artist: Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  14. ^ "It's My Life/Bathwater: No Doubt: Music". Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  15. ^ "It's My Life/Bathwater at Juno Records". Juno. Archived from the original on 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  16. ^ "Pandora Archive" (PDF). 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – It's My Life / Bathwater". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 April 2018.

External links

  • No Doubt's official site
    • "Bathwater" lyrics
  • "Bathwater" music video on YouTube
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