tue 29/07/2014

CD: Avril Lavigne - Avril Lavigne | New music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Avril Lavigne - Avril Lavigne

The sk8er girl's self-titled statement, a decade in the making?

Taking her cues from the women she blazed a trail for: Avril Lavigne

It’s taken Avril Lavigne more than a decade to release a self-titled album, but in some ways it’s appropriate: after all, the Canadian singer’s best music still sounds exactly like what she was releasing as a teenager. The difference is that when she first burst onto the scene, all sweatbands and heavy eyeliner, Lavigne was a breath of fresh air - but now, on her new album, she seems to be taking her cues from the women she blazed the trail for.

What she ends up with is the fun pop hits Katy Perry didn’t have room for in her spiritual new direction (“Sippin’ on Sunshine”, “Rock ‘n’ Roll”); reinterpreted Taylor Swift-style romantic nostalgia with foghorn lungs and a backbeat (“17”); and a little of the mischievous, slightly knowing tween-pop Miley Cyrus grew out of about 18 months ago (“Bitchin’ Summer”). The album also features the bizarre prospect of two newlyweds milking the soul out of a tender breakup song - just when you thought there was nothing that the world needed less than an Avril Lavigne/Chad Kroeger of Nickleback duet - and Marilyn Manson playing everybody’s least favourite, heavy breathing pervy uncle on “Bad Girl”. Paired with “Hello Kitty” - a cartoonish, J-pop channelling track with sordid lyrics and a melody that sounds as if it’s being performed on a Nokia 3310 - it ranks as one of the worst atrocities committed on behalf of popular music in 2013.

Ultimately, Avril Lavigne is a mixed bag. It’s an album full of songs about teenage rebellion, getting wasted and “putting your middle finger up to the sky”; performed by a woman who, on her second marriage and the cusp of 30, you’d think would have a few more rounded stories to tell by now - but the ballads, “Falling Fast” and “Hush Hush”, are too drippy to relate to (bar the former’s magnificent lyric, “I never knew I needed you like a sad song needs a sea of lighters”). In the end it’s bombastic lead single, “Here’s to Never Growing Up”, that sticks with you - so perhaps the onetime sk8er girl still has the right idea.

Overleaf: watch the "Here's to Never Growing Up" video

Her best music still sounds exactly like what she was releasing as a teenager

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