Release Date: 06.04.02
Record label: arista
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
Anything But Ordinary
by: bill aicher
It's easy to immediately dismiss Avril Lavigne as yet another flash-in-the-pan pop/rock princess designed by the labels to help rake in the neverending supply of cash generated by that musical whore, MTV's Total Request Live (TRL). Fortunately for those who don't subscribe simply to what is deemed popular by those in power, Avril Lavigne's Let Go shows some definite promise (and is actually quite catching to boot).
Don't be fooled, however. This is by all means a calculated morsel of pop perfectionism. It's all there; the catchy hooks, the "can't get it out of your head" choruses, and (of course) the image. The days of being a beauty queen, song-and-dance Britney Spears remake have been fading fast. Not caring is the new cool - and Lavigne has this down pat. A skater-girl rocker with just enough sensitivity to be real but just enough sass to make her dangerous, she's a record label's dream.
Especially since she's actually a talented artist.
The majority of Let Go features your basic pop-rock confection: guitar laden rock tracks which would have fallen under the "alternative" category back in the early 90s and have since become part of the pop-music world. Still, Lavigne manages to do her part right for the most part. She's a fairly proficient guitarist (especially since she's just 17 now - just wait until she's in her 20's!) and her vocals are extraordinarily strong. At times sounding like the vocal meanderings of Alanis Morissette meets the guitar-pop sensibility of Michelle Branch, she still manages to retain an identity all her own.
Where the album does falter is at the songwriting level. At time she'll stumble, like "We rock each other's world!" in "Sk8r Boi." But honestly, she's singing to her age group, and it's something to be commended more than anything. Like any teenager, she's bound to say some things that just don't work (whether in a song or just in life). The honesty and reality of her songs will undoubtedly win her a steady fanbase. It's a safe bet to say this isn't the last we'll here of Avril.
Above all, Lavigne is easy to associate with - we all know what it's like to deal with people not being who they are. Let Go focuses on this idea a lot. She's the kind of girl you can look back to your high school years and know she was that kind of naughty girl you secretly wanted but never had the balls to talk to.
She'll get the boys looking, and get the girls listening - but she's no Britney Spears. Instead she's just what pop music has been missing.
28-May-2002 5:35 PM