The song marked a turning point in the recording sessions. After getting the heartbreak out of her system, Stefani began writing more cheerful tunes inspired by her budding romance with country musician Blake Shelton, a fellow coach on The Voice who had also recently gone through a divorce. (Stefani, who originally filled in as a coach for Christina Aguilera, is now an adviser for Shelton's team.) “It was the first time that I really had written a record from a different point of view of being in love and being grateful and being in a really, 'Oh my God, I got saved!' kind of place," she says.
Fans following her relationship with Shelton will find plenty of insight in This Is What the Truth Feels Like, which tones down the hyperactive mix of 1980s-inspired pop and hip-hop of her last albums for more introspective material. "They’re all gonna say I'm rebounding, so rebound all over me," she sings over acoustic guitars on "Truth," which inspired the album’s title and sounds more like a No Doubt song than some Push and Shove tracks did. The buoyant new single "Make Me Like You," she recently confirmed, chronicles the early stages of their romance, and its music video features several nods to their life in the public eye.
"This newfound tabloid fame that I've got definitely came from being on TV—that just takes it to a different place I've never been before," Stefani says. Yet for her, it's an acceptable tradeoff: "I’m just so grateful for that experience. To be on a show where I got to step outside of myself and coach and think about my own career really helped me find my confidence again and feel kind of reborn."
There are some songs Stefani is less forthcoming about. She won’t confirm or deny whether the song "Send Me a Picture" is about sexting. (Sample lyric: "Are you all alone? Baby whatcha wearing?/ Send a little something I could stare at.") "I’ve never sexted before. What’s sexting?" she asks before letting out a laugh. "You can think whatever you want. That’s what’s so cool about all these songs, no matter how personal I get or whatever I intend the song to be."