First of, I want to put this up to disclaimer to say that I am not an expert on Avril Lavigne's musical career and for awhile was just a casual fan who only knew her singles and the occasional song I found on LimeWire's software (wow, I am also really dating myself, this was like ten years ago or so before iTunes?!). I have never actually heard her debut album, Let Go from beginning until the end and it wasn't until her second album Under my Skin did I buy a physical copy of her work for the first time. I was impressed with the depth and darker sound to her and liked that it was a lot more mature (then her singles from her first album, like I've said, I never listened to her debut album before). So when I a little put off by the direction of her third album, Best Damn Thing by how poppy and top 40 it was trying to sound and thought immediately thought it was a regression, I grew to accept it and learned to love it as it was a fun, catchy album and Avril seemed to be having fun with it and not taking it into srs business with it. That brings us to her recent release, Goodbye Lullabye...to be honest I am approaching it with a biased opinion. I heard that Avril was initially due to release her album last summer in 2010. I heard that it continually was pushed back and delayed because she couldn't come up with an agreement with the label execs on the material and a direction of the album. So, naturally I came onto this hoping that Avril was progressing and growing as an artist and such, as she is around my age and in her mid twenties (she's 26, I'll be 27 in like three weeks).
And that's where we start...
OK...having said those disclaimers let's dive right into it. Having admitted that I wasn't an expert in the artistic history of Avril Lavigne and might come into this album with preconcieved notions I decided to listen to it twice...well, actually three times if you included the standard stream I listened to a few weeks ago and the deluxe edition I recieved yesterday. I don't really have any outstanding tracks that stood apart from the rest, but that's not a bad thing...its a very easily-flowing album apart from the lead single "What the Hell" (which luckily is at the beginning of the album so you can easily skip it). This album is in a lot of ways the way I desired her to progress as an artist. It's still manufactured pop music but it's not as glossy and polished as The Best Damn Thing. It has a rawer feel to it, and in turn it seems like a lot more personal and it is very cohesive from (almost) beginning until the end. It reminds me a lot of her earlier work in a lot of ways which is a good thing most of the time, and it brings back a lot of good memories from my past.
OK, now for the bad: it reminds me a lot of her earlier work. It's a double-edged sword really. It has the musings of someone that is trying to write out what she's feeling, but I dunno why exactly but its very reminscint of the teenage angst she had in her first two albums. That coupled with like the thirty or forty expletives that are thrown into the songs as a filler of sorts for feelings and thuoghts she hasn't seemed to be able to articulate in another way, leaves me sad and disappointed. After all, she is not a teenager. She is a woman in her midtwenties, a fully grown adult that should have matured more by now. As I said on my Facebook after hearing the stream for the first time, "I would have loved this album to death...if I was still a teenager". It's not emotionally satisfying album or progression in her growth as an artist. In the right direction? Yes, this is definitely in the right direction after The Best Damn Thing but I feel like she could have made this album around the same time as her first album. Rather than a progression, I feel like both Let Go and (especially) Under my Skin are companion pieces to this album rather than albums showing the evolution of a young teeange songwriter to young adult woman.
I know I said that there aren't any songs that stood out from the rest of the album, but having finished my third listening to, I will say my favorites are three of the songs near the end of the album that were produced strictly by Avril herself and her ex-husband Derek Whibley. Altho first week estimates are on the low side, I hope she's still allowed to develope and progress as an artist on future albums and isn't schlocked back and regressed to the songs she was doing in The Best Damn Thing by her label executives.
Standout Tracks: "Darling", "Remember When" and "Goodbye" and my softer side says that these are the most radio friendly and probably be the most popular of the bunch - "Wish You Were Here" and "I Love You".