Avril Lavigne’s last album was a letdown, a slap in the face for fans that had been waiting for it with baited breath. It lost her a lot of fans and was bilge compared to her previous efforts Let Go and Under My Skin. But last week Avril released her fourth studio album. Last week the punk princess came back.
As someone that’s been a fan of the Canadian starlet for nearly a decade I wasn’t sure if I would like this record, after all I too was stung by The Best Damn Thing, but I do. Goodbye Lullaby is a comeback, it is proof that Avril is still Avril, and although it sits at third in the ranking of her four albums it is still very, very good.
The album opens with Black Star; a meaningless but none-the-less pretty song with repetitive lyrics. Throughout this short song the words “Black Star” are repeated over and over again, and many fans may recognise them as being the name of Miss Lavigne’s very own perfume. The song was in fact adapted from the fragrance’s advert and has been described by Rolling Stone as being “one of Lavigne’s most ambitious songs, an ethereal lullaby that turns epic with Coldplay-like pianos and soaring strings”. Those are kind words, but to say that this track is anything more than a nice enough piece of music with some hollow words sprinkled on top like glitter would be an over exaggeration. It is the opinion of many that this song is nothing more than an advertisement for the fragrance of the same name. Could it really be product placement? Product placement on an album? I bloody hope not. Thankfully things get a lot better from there.
Track number two What The Hell seems to be about Lavigne’s mood lately; “All my life I’ve been good but now/ I’m thinking what the hell/ All I want to do is mess around and I don’t really care about/ If you love me/ If you hate me”. A lot has been said about her lifestyle in recent times, what with all the stories of partying and one night stands that seem to be littering gossip magazines at the moment, but then again she’s been in the public eye for a long time now and surely that gives her the right to go a bit crazy every now and again. Doesn’t it? I think so.
The video for What The Hell has been getting a lot of attention lately, and not for a good reason. Just like Britney’s advert (I won’t call it a music video) for her song Hold It Against Me it has a hell of a lot of product placement in it. Watching the video it’s obvious that things are a lot less in your face in Lavigne’s video than in Spears’ but that doesn’t make things any less appalling. Surely there are less cheapening ways for artists to make money. Shame on you Avril.
Much of this album unsurprisingly seems to be about her ill-fated marriage to Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley. The song Push seems to bring to light her view that love should always win in the end and that relationships take work with the lyrics “Maybe you should just shut up even if it gets tough/ baby ‘cause this is love/ and you know when push comes to shove/ it’s gonna take the both of us”. But then again the song Not Enough seems to have Avril contradicting herself; “it’s not enough to give me what it is I want/ it’s not enough/ it’s not enough to give me everything I need/ And I/ I wish it was/ I think it’s time to give this up”. Does it all add up? You be the judge.
This album has many great songs; Wish You Were Here, Smile, and Everybody Hurts being just three examples, but it also has some weaker songs as well; I Love You, Darlin’, and Stop Standing There. To say that Goodbye Lullaby was a perfect record would be a lie, but then again it isn’t far off. Tracks on this album range from the catchy sing-along 4 Real, to the masterfully hidden track 14; Alice.
I went into this review with the intention of slating Avril Lavigne. I expected another poppy debacle like the last album, and felt that she needed a slap for turning her own video into an advert. I’m so glad that after listening to this LP I no longer want to bitch. Despite its flaws, and there are a few, Goodbye Lullaby is a very good album that doesn’t disappoint. It may not be her best work but it is far better than her worst. Finally fans can hear Avril back at her best, and hopefully, if there is a God, she’ll stay that way.
Originally published here: http://www.bn1magazine.co.uk/music/album-reviews/303-avril-lavigne