Big Bad Girl? Not Quite

There was a time when Avril Lavigne could sing a track like Nobody’s home — “Her feelings she hides,her dreams she can’t find,she’s losing her mind,she’s falling behind”.

Written by Deepika Nath | Published: March 12, 2011 11:41:17 pm

There was a time when Avril Lavigne could sing a track like Nobody’s home — “Her feelings she hides,her dreams she can’t find,she’s losing her mind,she’s falling behind”— and be believable. She had a fun-filled,Sk8ter boi image,but there was also a melancholy to her songs that resonated with angst-ridden teenagers. However,in her new album,Goodbye Lullaby,she struggles to grow out of her rebellious avatar,yet stay relevant in the world of Katy Perry,Lady Gaga and Lily Allen,where it is all about being unique in an outlandish way. Lavigne is just lost between these two worlds.

This album came out after several production setbacks,including Lavigne’s divorce from Sum 41 lead singer Deryck Whibley,who has also produced the first half of the album. She promised to be more mature and personal,but the tracks tell a different story: most are forced and not “bad ass” enough to amaze an average punk-rock fan. The opening track Black Star is a shameless plug for her perfume of the same name. It is a screechy,nursery rhyme-like soundtrack that barely qualifies as a song. Lavigne does not convince anyone when she sings “All my life I’ve been good but now,I’m thinking what the hell.” The song is too generic and the lyrics perfunctory. Repetitive vocals and clichés on a loop that clearly belong to a different decade further undermine the lyrics.

The slower songs,also mostly about pining in love,are not heartfelt enough to make an impact,despite a good sound. Wish you were here,Everybody hurts and Stop standing there are almost incoherent and rather insipid with their flimsy one-liners. Here is one: “Damn,damn,damn,what I’d do to have you here,here,here.”

In Lavigne’s four-year absence — her last album was Best Damn Thing in 2007— the likes of Ke$ha and Miley Cyrus have taken over. Singing “I like the way you misbehave,when we get wasted” in

I love you or “I remember making out,but then I woke up with a new tattoo” in Smile is no longer good enough. Lavigne’s attempts to appeal to a younger and daring audience not only fail spectacularly but they also end up under-utilising her voice. The only track that showcases her vocal abilities is Goodbye,an almost angelic ballad which sounds better than her forced,bad-girl image.

It is not much fun listening to the album and it seems Lavigne didn’t have much fun making it either.

deepika.nath@expressindia.com

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