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Released: 2004

“Luxurious” by Gwen Stefani is a sexy, unapologetic anthem that equates love with wealth and luxury. As a paradoxical testament to the hard work that love requires, Stefani contrasts material symbols of wealth with emotional wealth, resulting in a complex narrative of love that’s as extravagantly fancy as it is down-to-earth.

The song kicks off with Stefani painting a picture of hard work and dedication, sung over a straightforward beat: “Working so hard every night and day / And now we get the payback.” There’s a double entendre at play here – ‘payback’ speaks to the literal sense of enjoying the fruits of their labor, while on a metaphorical level, she’s referencing the payoff of investing time, effort, and emotions into a relationship. This refrain repeats often, reinforcing the song’s central theme.

Delving deeper into the lyrics, Stefani’s love is characterized as luxurious and costly. Lines such as “We’re luxurious / Like Egyptian cotton” suggest a love that’s luxurious but not necessarily ostentatious – Egyptian cotton, after all, is valued for its quality, comfort, and durability rather than bling. Stefani’s touch of class is amplified when she sings, “We’re rich in love, we’re rolling in cashmere,” underlining her claim to a love that is both warm and high-end.

Moving along, Stefani’s, “Diamond in the rough is looking so sparkly” is a reference to how this relationship has polished and brought out the best in her. This shows that even amidst challenging circumstances (the ‘rough’), something precious and irreplaceable (the ‘diamond’) can be found.

As we step into the chorus, the song gets frosty with some clever wordplay. “Sugar, honey, sexy baby / When we touch, it turns to gold” alludes to the Midas touch, where everything turns into gold upon contact. This speaks to the transformative power of their shared love.

The song’s bridge borrows from money culture: the sound of a cash register – “Cha-ching, cha-ching.” The message here is that their emotional bank is full, they’re abundant in love, and they’re not about to squander it.

A quick dip into flirtatious French – “Tu es si jolie” essentially means “You are so pretty,” and “C’est parfait” translates to “It’s perfect.” The foreign language adds a layer of exotic allure to the song, reinforcing the notion of their love being a lavish, global affair.

By the final verse, “Luxurious” has played with enough metaphors and material goods to fill an upscale boutique, while contrasting beautifully against the realities of love. Ultimately, the song reveals the truth that no matter how much money you pour into a relationship, the real luxury lies in the quality of the love you give and receive.