My parents had broadband internet installed in 2006, as I turned 17. Until then, my access to music was limited, only heard on the radio or the two Freeview music channels. I spent one whole Saturday glued to Viva waiting for "Stuck" by Stacie Orrico to come on.
I'd buy singles from Woolworths for £1.99 or go to Fopp in Dundee, leaving with stacks of albums by Nirvana, Funeral for a Friend and Sum 41. With no way to preview songs, I had to go on a mix of recommendations from friends, Kerrang! reviews and gut instinct.
Gut instinct is how I discovered No Doubt and Gwen Stefani, when I picked up their 1995 Beacon Street album in Oxford's HMV and played it relentlessly.
I remember reading an interview with Gwen when she spoke about being naturally chubby and the amount of work it took to keep the weight off. Perhaps not the most empowering message for a teenage girl, but I loved that honesty, and the feeling that she was just like me underneath the hard abs.
I think that's the appeal for me - Gwen Stefani is a totally normal woman. She has insecurities about her body, is honest that she never had any ambitions for herself other than being somebody's wife or somebody's mother. You could call her whole career an accident, if it wasn't for her insane talent.
P.S - There are no songs from Gwen's new solo album because (I'm really sorry), but I think it's a bit pants! Sorry Gwen!