You all know who she is so let’s make sure this doesn’t get Complicated. She was a girl, she had some hits, can I make it any more obvious? She was the Girlfriend of a Sk8r Boi, they fell in love, got married but it was not to be – so much for her happy ending. She thought I Can Do Better but somehow ended up married to Chad Kroeger from Nickleback; we all make mistakes Avril. Now she is back with her fifth album, with the imaginative title ‘Avril Lavigne’, but is it The Best Damn Thing that our ears have ever heard?
You know what you’re going to get with an Avril Lavigne album – some girly teen angst set to a catchy guitar pop punk melody and well, that is exactly what you get here. Opener Rock N Roll is the type of song you can just see a group of drunken ladies passionately chanting as they stumble arm in arm down Harcourt Street at 4.00am. Catchy? Check. Lyrics that stick it to the man? Check. No surprises, so far so good.
Here’s To Never Growing Up is appropriately titled and sets the theme for the rest of the album. Coming onto the scene as a fresh faced teen in the early noughties, Avril is now an equally fresh faced late twenty-something. Her music has never really progressed or grown up; in a way there is something refreshing about that given the amount of young pop starlets out there showing off the tits and lady bits in a sad desperate attempt to appear mature. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of fun in pop music.
New husband Chad joins Avril for the tender Let Me Go; honestly they probably should have let it go from the track listing. While contrasting vocals can often work surprisingly well, Chad’s gruff vocals make him sound severely constipated when accompanied by Avril’s sweet tones. We can only hope in future they keep their business life and private lives separate for the good of our aural cavities.
Surprisingly, Marilyn Manson duet Bad Girl works out well. With a slightly harder rock sound to the rest of the album – well, you’d expect no less from Manson – it just seems to hit all the right notes. It is the first WTF moment of the album but is quickly followed up with Hello Kitty, a song about…eh Hello Kitty. A 29 year old twice married woman singing about Hello Kitty…let that sink in. It’s saved slightly by the electro J-Pop influenced melody, but part of you does hope it is all just a bit of a joke.
‘Avril Lavigne’ is what it is – it was never going to be life changing or win countless awards; if you like Avril Lavigne you will like the album, if you don’t like her well you’re unlikely to listen anyway. It’s a bit of fun by someone who should know better, not the best release of the year but definitely not the worst thing either.