Friday 8 November 2013

Avril Lavigne - Avril Lavigne

It’s fairly remarkable that, after eleven years in the industry (that’s right, ‘Let Go’ was released way back in 2002), Avril Lavigne still sounds as youthful as ever.  Where some artists pride themselves on their ability to evolve and change with the times, she’s stuck to the same pop-rock template since her debut.  Yet amongst all the copycat EDM and R&B pop hits, this new self-titled album still sounds fresh.

Lead single Here’s To Never Growing Up really is Avril’s anthem, whilst on the rest of the album she sings of teenage love (“he was working at the record shop, I would kiss him in the parking lot, tasting like cigarettes and soda pop” – 17), summer vacation (“everyone is waiting on the bell, a couple seconds we’ll be raising hell” – Bitchin’ Summer) and the thrill of a new relationship (“hold on tight to this rollercoaster ride and if you’re loving this, just give me one more kiss” – You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet).  Co-written by husband Chad Kroeger, the lyrics may be clichéd and basic but it fits with the bright, juvenile feel of the album (despite the odd case of swearing).  That said, Hello Kitty is a particular low point with the line “let’s all slumber party like a fat kid on a pack of Smarties”.

On the plus side, Hello Kitty is the only electronic track, providing a pleasing change of pace similar to Ke$ha’s brand of electro rock-pop.  Bad Girl, featuring Marilyn Manson, also stands out as the heaviest track.  Yet, despite her protestations on opener Rock N Roll, Avril is a popstar through and through, the album full of breezy, guitar-pop tracks simply but effectively written and catchy as hell - typified by Sippin’ On Sunshine.  They might not rival the best of the classics (Sk8er Boi or Girlfriend), but Avril can stand tall next to her nearest pop competitor, Katy Perry.

Avril’s best tracks, though, have often been the ballads (I’m With You in particular).  This album doesn’t disappoint, especially with its final triptych of ballads.  Hello Heartache feels like a continuation of Complicated (“goodbye my friend, hello heartache”); Falling Fast is a touching parallel to You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet (“I’m falling fast, I hope this lasts, I’m falling hard for you”); and closing track Hush Hush ends the album on a piano-led, sombre note that contrasts with its opening.  Let’s just forget that the soppy duet Let Me Go with Kroeger exists, yes?


Gizzle’s Choice:
* Rock N Roll
* Sippin’ On Sunshine
* Falling Fast

Listen: 'Avril Lavigne' is available now.