Avril Lavigne – Avril Lavigne 2013

My ruffled-skirts-knee-high-stripped-socks days are long gone. I mean, I still wear knee socks but in the winter and under a pair of jeans, and only because it’s winter and it’s called. This is not to say that I don’t have the occasional adolescent strike or slight childish and silly behaviour. I’m guilty of reading young adult novels, having chipped nails and a few months ago I actually went to a Conor Mynard concert. But! And there is a big but… I’m 24, so I allow myself to do these things in small doses because there is a small part of me that is not ready to grow up yet. Now as for Miss Lavigne she just refuses to grow up – or better yet evolve as a musician. I never was a big fan, but when I was a teen her music was kind of fresh and sort of inviting, she was a pop-punk pretty girl with a strong voice and a tough exterior and attitude. How much if it was real and how much of it was faked remains to be debated, just like the theory of whether she can actually play and musical instrument. I cannot say much about it but I do know that there are plenty of haters (hate that word) around who will gladly slam her down with every opportunity they have. Do I love her? That’s a tough one simply because sometimes she seems so fake that I face palm myself and sigh, all the while feeling quite rage slowly bubbling up. Taking a quick look at her musical career Avril broke out with her debut CD Let Go. This one lacked any real substantial value: it was a fun and spunky album with lyrics that only sheltered 14-year old girls would find deep. But it was a huge hit none the less. Why? Who knows? Maybe we needed a girl like her to rock the male dominated scene a little, and someone who can appeal to young adult is just a plus. Under my skin was a more haunting and serious work, even the artwork was mostly in black and white which made us all realize that Lavigne grew up (can it be?) she doesn’t run up escalators in the mall anymore nor does she find skating as cool as she used to. It’s debated if she actually knows how to skate in the first place but whatever. Sometime after came the highly annoying yet catchy Girlfriend the hit single from The best damn thing in which the petit singer taught us that hi, it’s ok to steal other people’s boyfriends and it’s only a plus if you look slutty while doing it. I’m a little ashamed to admit that it worked on me and I actually asked the CD as a gift for my birthday. This CD was in a way a huge let down for anyone who looked for lyrics more substantial than being someone’s cheerios, with the exception of the powerful When you’re gone… This album was childish and bouncy, straying clearly away from Under my skin. Good bye lullaby is even worse – if it wasn’t for the song Smile, What the Hell and Alice this one could’ve gone straight to the bargain bin for a dollar… or simply the bin. Her music just got crappier and she got lazy as a musician, which makes me think that the only reason she kind of sings and writes still is simply because she likes to play dress up and get her pictures taken, since her modeling career didn’t exactly work out (harsh words, I know). Don’t believe me? Try and listen to her albums from an objective point of view and tell me I’m wrong.

After covering her musical implosion in a nutshell I can tell you one thing: I was not looking forward to her latest album, but it was inevitable that I will eventually listen to it – I’m human and I’m weak. And here is my verdict:

The three first songs on the CD are horrible! Rock ‘n Roll, Here’s to never growing up and 17 are positively childish and horrendous. Avril!!! You are 29! You’re not a little kid anymore. Did someone forget to tell you this? Even Taylor Swift has hard time getting away with her adolescent heart-break lyrics at her age, and that is her signature staple. Hate to break it to you, but you were married once already, you are closing on thirty soon, singing about being 17 and making out with boys who have soda pop breath is just, well, weird. And silly (God, I love that word). Which is exactly why I was blown away with songs like Let me go, Give you what you like and Hush, Hush. These songs were written by a mature, intelligent and observant woman. Which is odd since Hello kitty sounds like an ode to Nicki Minaj… And Bad Girl, that one eluded me. Mr. Manson and Ms. Lavigne make an unlikely collaboration and had a cracked up love child, and no it doesn’t sound like Marilyn Manson nor does it really sound like Avril Lavigne.

So what’s the verdict? 2 out of 5. There’s plenty on suburban rebellion to relish on and some heartfelt ballads, but most important thing is that Avril grew up (finally) and even if she’s less relevant today than she was in 2004 there is plenty of potential for her to make truly mature and intelligent music that will appeal to older audience, maybe even her grown up fans. This album does grow on you if you like to listen to slightly mindless music. As long as she doesn’t try to rap again or sound like Riahnna or Katy Perry we’re good.

 

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