Avril Lavigne – Avril Lavigne
Before Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, there was Avril Lavigne, a tiny, teenaged, tie-wearing Canadian pop/punk princess who topped the charts with hits like “Complicated” and “I’m With You.” Now, thirteen years later, Avril’s pushing thirty, recently married for the second time and desperately still trying to connect to today’s youth. And therein lies some of the problem with Avril Lavigne’s fifth, self-titled album (out November 5th).
Songs like “Rock and Roll” and “Bitchin’ Summer” keep the bratty, motherf***ing princess attitude and mimic earlier hits from two albums ago. And even though it’s catchy, lead single “Here’s to Never Growing Up” sounds like Nickelback-lite, probably because the song was co-written and produced by Nickelback lead singer and Mr. Lavigne himself, Chad Kroeger.
“Hello Kitty”, a weird tune that finds Avril rapping in Japanese and singing some of the worst lyrics ever written, should never, ever have been recorded, let alone made it on to an album. Do yourself a favor and skip this song entirely.
There are a few glimmers of hope, though – the duet with her husband, “Let Me Go” is a soaring piano ballad that sounds like something from an early Evanescence record. It’s easily the best song on the disc and has potential to be a huge hit. “Hush Hush”, “17” and “Give You What You Like” are also all really good songs on the album and prove that when Avril pushes herself artistically, she can really shine. Also worth a listen, an unlikely duet with Marilyn Manson called “Bad Girl.”
Like a lot of musicians these days, Avril has had some struggles with her record label, which may be why she’s shown very little artistic growth since her second (and best) album, Under My Skin. It seems like her label doesn’t quite know what to do with her, so they keep recycling the same kinds of tunes we’re used to hearing instead of releasing the good stuff. Trouble is, her fan base isn’t 15 anymore and they don’t want to hear Sk8ter Boi part 2, which is why she hasn’t truly had a hit since 2008. Maybe Avril should take her own advice from a popular song she penned for Kelly Clarkson and “take a risk, take a chance, make a change and breakaway.”