But the last several months have also resulted in some of her happiest moments, too: while she won’t talk about it specifically, Stefani and her The Voice co-star/country crooner Blake Shelton – (who also recently parted with former wife Miranda Lambert) – have been dating at least since last fall and aren’t shy about revealing their mutual affection for each other. It’s clear that many of the songs on the record, which dropped in March, are about her newfound beau. Just witness the palpable chemistry between the duo as they united to sing “Go Ahead and Break My Heart” on the reality music show in early May. “Even though things were horrible, they went from horrible to, like, euphoric over an eight-month period – the music just captures that.”

Stefani admits that the highs and lows of her personal life over the last year, openly documented on the album, may be why it seems the pop star has found a new sound; not since No Doubt’s ‘Tragic Kingdom’ have we seen her so vulnerable and honest. The chameleonic performer has dabbled in everything from pop, electronic, soul, ska and hip hop throughout her career as a solo act and as lead singer of the band No Doubt. “There’s two parts to the record: the beginning of the writing, and me trying to save myself, when I was angry and dealing with really crazy stuff,” she says. “Then, I started healing and the music started getting kind of hopeful and joyful. I’ve never been in a place to write songs like that before, because I’ve never felt good.”