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'Sweet' Relief

Led by the Neptunes-produced instant top 10 hit "Wind It Up," Gwen Stefani will unveil her second solo album, "The Sweet Escape," this week via Interscope.

Led by the Neptunes-produced instant top 10 hit "Wind It Up," Gwen Stefani will unveil her second solo album, "The Sweet Escape," this week via Interscope. The project also sports collaborations with Akon, Stefani's No Doubt bandmate Tony Kanal, Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley and producers Nellee Hooper, Sean Garrett, Swizz Beatz and Dave Stewart.

"This album is surprisingly different than the last one," Stefani says. "I started recording it last year before [her son] Kingston was born and it's definitely evolved over the last year. The dance sound is very 'now.' It's modern ... not so retro."

Highlights including the Madonna-shaded synth-pop of "Early Winter" and "U Started It," as well as the Depeche Mode-ish electro of closer "Wonderful Life." Elsewhere, Stefani salutes her California roots on "Orange County Girl" and knowingly references her past hits on "Yummy" featuring Pharrell Williams.

"The Sweet Escape" is the follow-up to 2004's "Love.Angel.Music.Baby," which has sold 3.8 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It will be supported by a two-month North American tour that gets underway in April.