Avril Lavigne’s new release caters to teen girls

Andrew Gaug


Credit: Jason Hall

Who would’ve thought after her three-year absence, Avril Lavigne would come back with the deepest and most experimental album in years. In reality, that cannot be said.

Lavigne’s latest album, The Best Damn Thing, is more of the same guilty pleasures she’s been offering since she donned a wife beater and tie. This time around, it appears Lavigne has some catching up to do – the female pop scene has been taken over by the likes of Gwen Stefani, Fergie and Kelly Clarkson. And, judging by the album’s overall sound, it appears she’d rather join them than try and beat them.

In more than a few instances on the album, Lavigne sound like she’s channeling Stefani’s trend of mixing traditional vocals with infectious, yet mindless chants.

Case in point: her first single, “Girlfriend.” The song features a so-terrible-it’s-good chorus of “Hey! / Hey! / You! / You! / I don’t like your girlfriend” and so on and so forth. It’s a song most people over 16 will be ashamed they like, but, like Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl,” it’s a song with enough annoying brattiness to almost certainly become a novelty at bars and parties.

Avril Lavigne

The Best Damn Thing

Released on RCA Records

Stater rating (out of five): ??

The same can be said for the lion’s share of the album. Over a stuttering bass beat on “I Don’t Have To Try,” she proclaims “I’m the one / I’m the one who knows the dance / I’m the one / I’m the one who’s got the prance / I’m the one / I’m the one who wears the pants.” On the ’60s-inspired title track, she digs deep and comes up with this nugget of wisdom: “I hate it when a guy doesn’t understand /Why a certain time of month I don’t want to hold his hand.” In the same song she also gives the phonetic spelling of the name Avril, which only adds to the hilarious absurdity of the track.

The album’s more playful songs deviate from her past efforts, mainly due to her new producer, Dr. Luke. Slower songs come and go as if to apologize for the album having a bit too much fun. None stand out as they come off as poor attempts at going beyond the surface such as “When you’re gone / the pieces of my heart are missing you” on “When You’re Gone,” and the bland, adult-contemporary ballad “Keep Holding On.”

Despite the album’s handful of profanity that give it a Parental Advisory, Lavigne’s target audience is clearly a 16-to 20 year-old female crowd (which excludes this critic on both bases). For them, they will find this as a bratty good time as they sing along with the “With a bitch / slut / Psycho babe / I hate you / Why are guys so lame?” lyrics of the Bowling-for-Soup-esque “Everything Back But You.”

The album is typical junk food Pop that feels like a collection of songs rather than a cohesive album. So, to many listeners, it’s far from The Best Damn Thing they’ve heard. But for her fans, they’ll be having too much fun to care.

Contact ALL assistant editor Andrew Gaug at [email protected].