Ex-Girlfriend (song)

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No doubt.jpg
Single by No Doubt
from the album Return of Saturn
  • "Leftovers"
  • "Big Distraction"
  • "Full Circle"
Released May 2, 2000 (US)
Recorded 1999
Length 3:32
Producer(s) Glen Ballard
No Doubt singles chronology
"Simple Kind of Life"
"Simple Kind of Life"

"Ex-Girlfriend" is a song written by Tom Dumont, Tony Kanal, and Gwen Stefani for No Doubt's fourth studio album Return of Saturn (2000). The song was released as the album's first official single in mid-2000 (see 2000 in music) and it was moderately successful, reaching the top 40 in most countries.

Background and writing[edit]

Gwen Stefani originally composed the song as a dirge about her relationship with Bush's lead singer Gavin Rossdale, whom she married in 2002. After listening to it, the band increased the tempo because the album already included several ballads.[1] The line "you say you're gonna burn before you mellow" is a reference to the lyrics in the Bush song "Dead Meat": "I'm doing you in tomorrow/I'll burn before I mellow".

"Ex-Girlfriend" is a song composed in the key of E minor. It is written in common time and moves at a fast tempo of 168 beats per minute. Stefani's vocal range in the song covers nearly an octave and a half, from G3 to C5.[2] It features flamenco guitar riffs and influence from new wave and hip hop.[1]

Music video[edit]

Stefani and Kanal falling in the music video.

The song's music video, which the video itself indicated was "presented" by Hype Williams, was partially based on the highly controversial anime Kite. In the video, Stefani cross-dresses to enter a men's bathroom and, upon being discovered, assaults Tony Kanal (who plays her ex-boyfriend) and several other men. When Kanal regains consciousness, he grabs Stefani and jumps out the window, and the two plummet to the ground. The storyline is cut with scenes of the band playing on a stage. No Doubt's guitarist Tom Dumont initially played the part of a police officer but was cut from the final version of the "Ex-Girlfriend" video. He enacts the role in MTV's Making the Video.

Formats and track listings[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Ex-Girlfriend".


  1. "Ex-Girlfriend" – 3:31
  2. "Leftovers" – 4:31
  3. "Ex-Girlfriend" (CD-ROM video)


  1. "Ex-Girlfriend" – 3:31
  2. "Big Distraction" – 3:34
  3. "Full Circle" – 3:16


  1. "Ex-Girlfriend" – 3:31
  2. "Leftovers" – 4:31
  3. "Full Circle" – 3:16
  4. "Ex-Girlfriend" video

Netherlands/UK 2-track

  1. "Ex-Girlfriend" – 3:31
  2. "Full Circle" – 3:16

Chart performance[edit]

"Ex-Girlfriend" failed to enter the U.S. Hot 100 chart and spent only one week on the Canadian Singles Chart, on which it peaked at number forty. Elsewhere the single experienced more success, and reached the Australian top ten and UK top thirty. It managed to be successful on U.S. alternative rock stations peaking number two on the Modern Rock Tracks chart tying with their highest charting and breakthrough hit single, "Don't Speak", that managed more mainstream success on other U.S. charts than "Ex-Girlfriend".

Chart (2000) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[3] 9
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[4] 15
Canadian Singles Chart (Nielsen) 40
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[5] 15
Germany (Official German Charts)[6] 34
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[7] 15
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[8] 11
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[9] 9
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[10] 18
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[11] 19
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[12] 23
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[13] 11
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[14] 2


Country Certification Sales
Australia Gold[15] 35,000+


  1. ^ a b Montoya, Paris and Lanham, Tom. "Ex-Girlfriend". The Singles 1992-2003 (liner notes). Interscope Records. November 25, 2003.
  2. ^ Sheet music for "Ex-Girlfriend". Hal Leonard Corporation. 2000.
  3. ^ "Australian-charts.com – No Doubt – Ex-Girlfriend". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  4. ^ "Ultratop.be – No Doubt – Ex-Girlfriend" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  5. ^ "No Doubt: Ex-Girlfriend" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  6. ^ "Musicline.de – No Doubt Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  7. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – No Doubt" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  8. ^ "Charts.org.nz – No Doubt – Ex-Girlfriend". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  9. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – No Doubt – Ex-Girlfriend" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – No Doubt – Ex-Girlfriend". Singles Top 100. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  11. ^ "Swisscharts.com – No Doubt – Ex-Girlfriend". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  12. ^ "No Doubt: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  13. ^ "No Doubt Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "No Doubt Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  15. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2000 Singles". Aria.com.au. Archived from the original on 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 

External links[edit]