After about 2 long years of peace and tranquility within the music industry (can’t really be proven), Avril Lavigne returns to our attention in the shape of a much-anticipated CD, entitled Avril Lavigne.
At first sight, one may cringe at the thought of even attempting to listen to her music as it is, which is, with the greatest of respect, overplayed jargon hell-bent on manipulating radios worldwide and drawing out the “that song is actually pretty catchy” line against everybody’s will everywhere. Though naturally, one must remain impartial when reviewing such an awaited LP, not just as a writer, but as an advocate for music as a medium.
More to the point, Avril Lavigne does create music. In fact, she always has done and has always found success. Her first album Let Go was credited as the biggest pop debut of 2002, followed by further achievements in the form of number 1 singles ‘Complicated’ and ‘Girlfriend’. What is yet to be seen is whether her most recent offering can emulate her former successes.
Without fear of being overtly critical and blunt, the short answer is that it does not. Though there are promising moments to be found, they are not as defining as one would hope and few and far between. Lavigne spurns the temptation of returning to her roots and ignores the simplicity of her initial album; the humble production behind ‘Complicated’, for example, far surpasses the technique and emotion found in any of her new tracks. An example of this can be found in new song ‘Hello Kitty’. The awfully titled pop snippet manifests itself as a confusing blend of playful rock vocals with inoperative – and maybe even unnecessary – dubstep sounds snuck into the chorus. One can’t help but wonder whether Lavigne has lost her wits as well as her reputation as a genuine rock star along the years.
Amongst all the bad however, is a little, dimmed ray of sunshine which attempts to expand throughout the cracks of the album fissured by ‘Hello Kitty’. What cannot be denied is the overruling light-heartedness of the majority of her songs. Clearly, this is an attempt to express Lavigne’s versatility as an artist and her ability to appear as a more-than-one-trick pony. Perhaps surprisingly for long term fans, Lavigne’s attempt to reincarnate the staple, acquainted sounds of her first album in songs like ‘Give You What You Like’ miss the mark.
Ultimately, Avril Lavigne offers a distinct lack of musical flair. It is an unmistakably overrated and exceedingly average album that fails to address expected issues of growing up and entering adulthood. Unfortunately slipping away from maturity, Lavinge retraces her younger years as a fruitful teenager, causing havoc and having fun in a manner that seems a little disingenuous from a 30 year old. Perhaps this album is an attempt to divide die-hard fans, or maybe it vainly hopes to unite them – either way, it isn’t going to guarantee a permanent place in the many iPods of the now teenage generation.