Title: Avril Lavigne
Artist: Avril Lavigne
Just when I thought Avril Lavigne would take music seriously after a divorce and a second marriage, I couldn't be more wrong. She's brattier and younger than ever before on her self-titled album. The artwork might deceive you and make you expect her to pull another angst-filled Under My Skin type of record, but that's not quite true. The record is a collection of tracks ready to hit beach parties, too bad summer is long gone. Thanks to the multiple push back. The summer album of the year was released in November.
Lavigne has collaborated with new writers and producers in this album, but that didn't cease the record to sound like the Avril we know. All the music styles she has incorporated in the last eleven years of her career was present. There are punk, pop rock, post-grunge, bubblegum pop and her new experiment on EDM territory.
The record is a reminder that Avril has done it way before Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Ke$ha and the likes re-did it. She single-handedly brought the female pop rock revolution to the mainstream audience back in 2002 which spawned a handful of Avril Lavigne's. She is the genuine female pop rock icon after Alanis Morisette. Back then and maybe even now, a debuting pop girl has two basic choices in which musical path they will take (a) Britney Spears dance pop or (b) Avril Lavigne pop rock. Fair enough, she stayed true to her sound and here she is in 2013 presenting us who is Avril Lavigne in a 13-track album in case we have forgotten.
Rock N Roll
The opening line, “I don't care about my make-up” should give the listeners a glimpse of what message Avril is trying to get across with her latest project and that line sums up the song perfectly too. Just when I thought Chad will help her define rock and roll by throwing sex and drug reference; I am wrong. She has her own definition of it in mind. Rock N Roll (not rock and roll) is about being yourself with “no one to tell us who to be.”
It paid homage to Joan Jett's Bad Reputation on “Don't care a bad reputation, must be living in the wrong generation” line, to a modernized Queen's legendary We Will Rock You clap-clap-stomp beat and to Slash's November Rain guitar solo scene in the music video. It is a nice pop song if all you want is ear candy and nothing else.
Here's To Never Growing Up
The lead single off the album was horribly snubbed by the radio, despite Billboard predicting it to be a huge hit. It all went down to mediocre promotion and little radio support to cause the death of the song's potential. Despite the minimal success, it is still one of the best songs released in 2013.
17 takes us back to her guitar-driven-pop-rock Let Go days, ironically when she was 17 years old too. It sends Complicated vibe which sounded time transcendent like her debut single.
I miss to hear Avril rap since she never did again after her Hip-Hop-experiment-gone-awesome, Nobody's Fool. Well, she might have missed rapping too that's why she showed her flow in the bridge of Bitchin' Summer. The song is an awesome track directed at "high school lovebirds" who will "live fast and kick ass together." It is another Let Go inspired track with The Best Damn Thing lyrics, pleasing both "old Avril" fans and "new Avril" fans.
Let Me Go (feat. Chad Kroeger)
It should not come as a surprise why the married couple wrote a break-up song because the song was written way before the scrapbook proposal and the gothic-themed wedding. That's the reason they did some updating to the lyrics.
Usually, Avril is in her A game during ballads, but this one doesn't sound like top-notch. The songwriting is superb. I couldn't care less about Chad Kroeger's vocal contribution, neither liked it nor hated it. Lavigne's vocal is affecting. But the main problem is the production. When you listen to the song, you will have a thought that you've heard it before, but just can't figured out what song exactly. It is reminiscent of Nickelback and Evanescence's past work. Surely because it was produced by Chad Kroeger (Nickelback's frontman) and David Hodges (former Evanescence member).
Give You What You Like
The darkest and most mysterious song ever by Avril Lavigne was exceptionally written and produced. Give You What You Like explores the theme of one night stand, but don't expect to hear her sultry voice. The track is not presented to seduce but to expose the pain of such relationships. I'm glad this turned out to be a full song rather than just a bridge on Bad Girl. It's one of the best song she has ever released in a long time.
Bad Girl (feat. Marilyn Manson)
The album is full of extremes and some shock. If there's one biggest shock in here, it's Bad Girl -- just the sole reason that Marilyn Manson is in the track. It's the naughtiest song in Lavigne's discography backed up by her heaviest production to date as well.
Picking up from where Bad Girl left off, Hello Kitty gives us yet another raunchy Avril, but with a little twist. If Bad Girl wandered in heavy rock territory and too vulgar, this one goes the EDM route and a little refined. The lyrics is too shallow, but the song never promised some depth especially with that title. It's a fun song in the lane of Ylvis's The Fox. It's all good, the song is surely a little joke Avril played out and hey, it turned out to be a really infectious track.
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet
Lavigne was established as a songwriter ever since she started in the music industry. She is one of the few pop artists who have songs credited to her without any co-writers. You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet is an addition to the list of her solo writing. It is full of cliches in the lyrics, but it is irresistible. The song is a carefree "roller coaster ride."
Sippin' On Sunshine
It is clear that Avril wants this album to be out during the summer. Sippin' On Sunshine is the second in-your-face summer song. If The Best Damn Thing established her as the leading lady of cheer dance pop, Avril Lavigne plays around with summer sound.
Hello Heartache is one of the weaker tracks on the album. The song's lyrics is comparable to Goodbye. One cool thing about it is Avril's tone in the intro resembling Florence Welch.
This song has the most beautiful lyrics in the album. Surprisingly, it's entirely written by Avril. She has improved in songwriting over the years and I don't think lyrics is her kryptonite anymore. It features my favorite lines: "I never knew I needed you like a sad song needs a sea of lighters."
Falling Fast's stripped production made Avril's crooning the main attraction of the song. The vocal delivery reminds me of Dido and Sarah McLachlan. She is such an underrated vocalist. She can play with her tone and emotion so well. When she sings about her scar, we empathize with her and when she sings about her anger, we join her rebellion.
The album closer is a solid Goodbye Lullaby throwback. Its production is laid-back and the piano took center stage. Hush Hush is a great sendoff song to summer. It ended the story this album is telling. A girl having the time of her life one summer and lost it at the end of it.
Deluxe Tracks:Rock N Roll Acoustic
Uhm... This is awkward. It was titled Rock N Roll for a reason. Anyway, this is very unnecessary. Rock N Roll was intended to be fun and crazy.
Bad Reputation (Joan Jett cover)
Not again! Epic records should have checked with RCA records so they will know Avril Lavigne already released this twice (1) Goodbye Lullaby Deluxe Edition and (2) The Best Damn Tour: Live in Toronto. The cover sounds cool... back in 2008 when I first heard it. Anyway, this should help the album sell in Japan where the song charted well (thanks to One Piece Z for including it on its soundtrack).
How You Remind Me (Nickelback cover)
image courtesy of Amazon