Just a small town girl from Canada, at the ripe old age of seventeen, Avril Lavigne made quite the statement. She took the music world by storm with her killer pipes and punk attitude and gave us hit singles like “Complicated” and “Sk8r Boi.” Fast forward ten years and 35 million records later and Avril is back with a brand new self-titled CD. Lavigne is a terrific songwriter and for this record her new husband and Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger lent a hand with co-writing credit on most of the songs, so I was interested to see what this more mature Avril would sound like.
The album kicks off with a series of disappointing bubblegum pop songs. Although the songs are structurally not bad, the lyrical content seems far too juvenile for the grown up Lavigne, especially the electronica disaster of “Hello Kitty.” While titles like “17” and “Bitchin’ Summer” may appeal to the tween girls, I suggest taking a pass on those.
However, all hope is not lost. Avril’s vocals really shine on the slower understated ballads of “Give What You Like” and “Falling Fast” and the dreamy quality of “Hush Hush” is a winner. It is here that we see a glimpse of the maturity I was expecting. The best song on the album was the upbeat “Bad Girl,” featuring an appearance by Marilyn Manson. The track has a great groove with Lavigne showing off all that attitude that made us love her in the first place.
It’s clear that Avril has much more to offer than the first half of the album suggests but to keep things going in the right direction we’re going to need to see a lot more “Bad Girl” and a whole lot less “Hello Kitty.”