Release Date: Nov 5, 2013
Record label: Epic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock
Review Summary: Pop’s punk princess delivers another bout of radio-ready rockers.Consistency has been Avril Lavigne’s forte ever since she exploded onto the pop music scene in the early 2000’s. As she keenly toed the line between high school drama and adulthood, she has always kept a balanced musical persona that would appeal to adults and teens alike. There isn’t a contemporary soft rock station that hasn’t overplayed ‘My Happy Ending’, and everyone who was a teenager in 2006 will half-ashamedly be able to recite to you the lyrics of ‘Girlfriend.’ Lavigne is a staple of new millennium pop, and with that success comes very specific expectations.
There is a pattern to Avril Lavigne albums, one that's easily discernible to anybody paying attention. First comes the party, then comes the reflection, then comes the party again. Avril Lavigne, her eponymous fifth album, is an odd-numbered release, so that means it's one of her party records, somewhat mitigated by her union with fellow Canadian post-grunge superstar Chad Kroeger.
Rock'n'Roll, Here's to Never Growing Up, Bad Girl: the titles on Avril Lavigne's fifth album are self-explanatory. Her reversion to her brat-punk roots, after the relative reflectiveness of her last record, is probably not unrelated to recently turning 29 and marrying for the second time (to Nickelback's Chad Kroeger). Confronted by a decline into thirtysomething respectability, who wouldn't emit a cri de coeur? And Lavigne's is heartfelt.
It’s been quite the while since Avril Lavigne felt like a proper force to be reckoned with in pop. Since 2007’s first-rate effort The Best Damn Thing and its deliriously bratty lead-single Girlfriend, Avril has released the stinker of an album that was 2011’s Goodbye Lullaby, got married to Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger and been well and truly usurped by Taylor Swift when it comes to preppy oh-so-youthful teen anthems. So it shouldn’t really be any surprise that Avril’s new, self-titled, album is supposed to act as a kind of re-invigoration of both her music and overall relevance as a popstar.
Avril Lavigne is at a creative crossroads. The once rebellious 29-year-old now finds herself with little against which to define herself. Where a younger Lavigne once found inspiration in the instability of youth, her apparent life of privilege is hardly fodder for the kind of angst-ridden songs she's famous for. With so little to rebel against, the pointedly titled Avril Lavigne, her fifth album, becomes an exercise in rediscovering her identity.
Avril Lavigne, Avril Lavigne (Epic) Avril Lavigne’s twice-married, pushing 30—and speaking for sloppy teens like the Lorax who grabbed the axe. We’re supposed to hope for more from a star releasing her fifth album (which is streaming now on iTunes, a week ahead of its release), never mind one doing it at a time when even music’s biggest brats get folks clucking about high-toned topics like appropriation and blasphemy. Avril, who turned 29 last month, can’t compete with Miley and Kanye when it comes to making a spectacle of pop spectacle.
Usually self-titled albums so late in a career - this is the fifth in 11 years for Napanee's punk "princess" (her word) - signify a rebirth of sorts. Or at least a mature, self-assured coming into one's own. Which would make sense, given the singer's recent marriage to Canadian rocker Chad Kroeger (who co-writes and -produces here) and the fact that she'll be 30 in a year.