the best damn thing
When I briefly interviewed the recently transplanted Canadian, Avril Lavigne a few years back, she was on the cusp of stardom — having just released her phenomenal debut, Let Go. The maturity she showed for a then 17-year-old was as impressive as her songwriting ability, proving she could back up her “force to be reckoned with” bravado. Fast forward five years and after living amongst us Americans it seems that we have done irreparable damage to both her credibility and her brain. In the same week that I received Avril’s CD to review I also received Hannah Montana 2/ Meet Miley Cyrus. There were several times during the week where I had to re-check which CD I was playing. For the uninitiated, Miley Cyrus is a talented television performer who plays a young singer named Hannah Montana on the Nickelodeon channel. Avril’s new “dumbed down” approach is the main source for all of this confusion and it left me not only scratching my head but also her name off my list of favorites.
Opening with her current hit “Girlfriend,” Avril cheerleader stomps her way through a thinly-veiled version of Toni Basil’s “Hey Mickey” whilst pouting and shouting about how stupid the object of her affections current girlfriend is. Remarkably, two songs later she uses the exact same musical formula on the title track only this time her pom poms and consciousness are raised, expounding the pitfalls of such radical matters as a boyfriend with no money to…and I kid you not, being moody when having your period. And if that’s not enough also included in the kitchen sink mix is an obnoxious call and answer middle eight of “A-V-R-I-L” that would even make Al-Qaeda cry Uncle Sam and surrender.
Don’t get me wrong, Avril can sing her ass off and she still can pen a great song or two — as witnessed by her best ballad yet, “Innocence” and the stellar cell phone swaying concert closer, “Keep Holding On” — but unfortunately two good songs represent an eight minute visit to I-Tunes and not a great record. Hopefully, Avril has gotten this phase out of her system just as she did with her sk8ter persona and will take her own advice from the title of one of the albums songs, “I Can Do Better”…
Avril Lavigne: www.avrillavigne.com