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?
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.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Post-jazzers add ambient dub to a spacey, love-infused mix
Touching field recordings from Vietnam
Punk poppers give the beginning of the week an almighty shot in the arm
Russia’s counterpart to North Britain’s Eighties miserablists harnesses the power of song
Echo & the Bunnymen singer successfully retrieves a concert initially marred by his own unpleasantness
As all-encompassing as it gets on massive, thought-provoking Northern Soul box set
Festival perennial replenishes the soul with good vibes
A triumphant end to a tour of ancient songs sung in sacred places
Introspective songstress reaches for her inner rock chick
The majestic Senegalese singer is back with a new EP and glossy video
London-Parisian singer-pianist amazes with his debut
The parts of this stellar dance-with-jazz line-up dazzle, without quite making a whole