Avril Lavigne Goodbye Lullaby album review

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7. Mär. 2011, 23:56

Avril Lavigne has always been graced by the charm of being a non-conformist, and throughout her career in music, she has consistently pushed out sounds that portray this point of view. She successfully explored and found a very comfortable niche in a sub-genre of pop that many don't even dare to follow: a pop-rock princess (especially not back in the early 00s). For many, this has been her selling point, as Let Go (her debut album, released in 2002) saw her drop her possible country background and was critically acclaimed to be one of the best albums of her career so far, if not her absolute best. Under My Skin followed in the footsteps of its predecessor, and although it contained quirky and awkward sounds (making it a second best in critics' books), it still managed to net Avril various awards after its release, though, and still is very positively considered by fans to this date.

The years passed, and 2007 saw the release of The Best Damn Thing, an album that dashed any hopes of fans seeing her diving headfirst into an alt-pop genre. She decided to play it safe by waving a green flag to bubblegum pop, something even unusual for this girl, but undoubtedly fresh for many that longed something different. The critics swayed to both sides on this one: while many quickly pointed out flaws and were fast to judge the lack of recklessness, others waited for the first sales figures before making judgments. And the truth is that it was indeed Sony's best selling album of 2007, and 3rd best overall. A feat that few can be proud of, especially when no one ever said it was her best work.

Up to the end of 2010, Avril hasn't exactly made headlines, but she has indeed been hard at work on her fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby. Now that we've seen the moderate success of the first single, What the Hell, many questioned if that would be her subject material throughout the entire album - more of the same that graced/plagued (depending on your point of view) The Best Damn Thing. The more attentive fans will quickly dismiss this concern, as this album is what many are calling to be "an Avril trying to recede to her debut days". Let's see if this is true or just spells out pointless desires, by conducting an overview of each track on the regular album:

Black Star: This is more of an intro to the album than anything else. It features beautiful piano keys and a melodic Avril paving way for most of the songs on the album, which are melodramatic. The final verse is different: "you will always be a rockstar". Hum...perhaps a sign that the old Avril still lives on?

What the Hell: After a calm piano based intro, we move to the most pop-ish sounding song and definitely the most upbeat. A very smart choice placing this track in 2nd, because the album keeps getting darker and deeper and even though this song sticks out like a sore thumb here, it still manages to retain the essence of what Avril really is. All in all, it's a very fun song to listen to, even if it's completely out of context with the subject material of this album, and may have already shunned potential listeners looking for an introspective Avril if they just listen to this single.

Favorite quote: All my life, I've been good, but now, oh oh oh, I'm thinking What The Hell?!

Push: Definitely one of the better tracks on this album. It has already been confirmed as the next single by Avril herself, which is a very intelligent strategy, seeing as What The Hell completely misrepresents the album. Very nice bridge background vocals by Evan Taubenfeld and Avril's vocal range is put to the test here - she can obviously sing high notes with ease, and not only impresses, but captivates the listener, desiring for more.

Favorite quote: You and me, we can both start over, just the two of us, we can get a little closer.

Wish You Were Here: An amazing song, that's what it is. This is a fan favorite and considered by many to be the best song on the album. This song is the essence of Goodbye Lullaby, without any doubt. It masterfully transmits the feeling of loneliness and despair with repeating lyrics.

Favorite quote: All those crazy things you said, you left them running through my head, you're always there, you're everywhere, but right now I wish you were here.

Smile: The bridge prepares you for the chorus, which is wonderful in this song. Avril shows off her more crazy side here, with some explicit lyrics that add to the fun.

Favorite quote: And that's why I smile, it's been a while, since every day and everything has felt this right.

Stop Standing There: This is my second favorite track. The lyrics are simple, the melody is catchy - simply put - it's Avril at her best.

Favorite quote: So open up your heart, help me understand, please tell me who you are, so I could show you who I am.

I Love You: Ah yes. There are little words to describe the sheer quality that this song emanates. Beautifully sung. This is probably one of the most personal songs on this album, and it's one to cherish. The lyrics are straightforward but true, because we should love people for who they really are, not who they appear to be.

Favorite quote: You're so beautiful, but that's not why I love you. I'm not sure you know that the reason I love you, is you being you, just you...yeah the reason I love you is all that we've been through, and that's why I love you.

Everybody Hurts: I have to say that this song, on par with Remember When, displays a terrific overemotional vocal performance by Avril. Starting here, we move toward sadder songs, with stronger content, and less upbeat tracks compared to the first part of the album.

Favorite quote: It feels like nothing really matters anymore, when you're gone I can't breathe and I know you never meant to make me feel this way. This can't be happening on me.

Not Enough: Epic is the only word to describe this song. It mixes three different instruments - guitar, drums and piano - managing to create a sensational composition. Severely captivating.

Favorite quote: All the memories that we're losing, all the time that I spent with you everyday, I think it's running down the drain, I'm feeling that we're fading.

4 Real: This song just screams "Let Go", "Let Go", stripping any trace of TBDT at this point. Extremely catchy song and excellent guitar work.

Favorite quote: Cause I'm for real, are you for real? I can't help myself, it's the way I feel.

Darlin: Almost an acoustic sounding version, it contains mostly violin and guitar. Avril has the most delightful voice in these kinds of songs, and it's here that we can see the impeccable set of pipes she has. Definitely a favorite.

Favorite quote: There's nothing else I can do, but love you the best that I can, yeah yeah yeah yeah.

Remember When: I have to confess I am a very nostalgic person, and songs with this kind of material, especially this well written, composed and sung can make anyone cry. I was blown away by the simple fact that I could picture anyone sing this song except Avril, but wow...it's such a pleasant surprise. The lyrics are by far her best on here, and I cannot wait to get my hands on an instrumental of this song just to listen to the amazing work the composers have put into this. It is a masterpiece. This is my absolute favorite track on Goodbye Lullaby.

Favorite quote: These feelings I can't shake no more, these feelings are running out the door, I can feel it falling down, and I'm not coming back around. These feelings I can't take no more, this emptiness in the bottom drawer, it's getting harder to pretend, and I'm not coming back around again...

Goodbye: Viola and piano? Yes please! The track is titled simply "Goodbye" but the word "lullaby" can be heard in the background. This is an amazing way to the end this album. Just like the "black star" as it slowly fades, "always know that I love you so, I love you so". Amazing finale.

Favorite quote: But always know, always know, always know, that I love you so, I love you so, oh. I love you so. Oh.

Alice (extended version): This is more a bonus track than a continuation of the album, as it technically ends with Goodbye. Extremely dramatic intro, this is a song where we can truly enjoy her powerful and compelling voice. Very interesting song title choice.

Favorite quote: "I'll survive, when the world's crashing down, when I fall and hit the ground, I will turn and hit the ground, don't you try and stop it."

Final comments & rating: Fans might be disappointed because Avril is following a more heartbroken theme than anything she has ever put out, but the truth is that Goodbye Lullaby is most likely her best album, showcasing a side of her that so many have longed for, and seems to be back: the "Let Go/Under My Skin pre-TBDT Avril", as not many fans took her TBDT pop turning point very happily.

This is NOT a commercial album, nor does it try and be one, unlike The Best Damn Thing. This is an meditative, reflective album, full of mature songs that really make you think. This is an album for you to LISTEN, cherish and take seriously. Avril has matured so much, while still retaining elements from all her previous albums, and this is evident throughout Goodbye Lullaby's listening process. Picture this album as a long spiraling staircase that starts high up. Black Star is at the top, and Goodbye is the very pit. As you make your way down, you'll encounter a lot of different emotions that twist and turn, but they are all necessary to understand the album completely, just like each step is essential in a staircase to complete it.

There is only one downside, previously mentioned: What the Hell was a terrible choice for a first single and it simply doesn't fit into the content of this album. But the positive aspects hugely outweigh the (pretty much) only downside.

Whatever the case, if you're a fan of the old or the new Avril, she has returned in full force. Watch out music industry, the best (and hottest!) pop-rock princess is back! Welcome back, and thank you for such a terrific album.

Final Rating: A+ (full marks)
Recommended Tracks: Push, Wish You Were Here, I Love You, Smile, Stop Standing There, Darlin', Remember When, Goodbye

The bottom line: Avril Lavigne has been able to convey her thoughts, her rage, her non-conformism, and most importantly, her feelings into song, and put them out for the whole world to listen. And for that, I salute her.

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