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Avril Lavigne “Goodbye Lullaby” Review

While Avril Lavigne‘s 2007 album, The Best Damn Thing, has become an unquestionable success—certified platinum in the US within a few months, it has since gone on to sell over six million copies worldwide—the years that followed its release offered some unique obstacles for the young vocalist. Plagiarism claims persisted and by 2009 the bottom finally fell out on her marriage to Sum 41′s Deryck Whibley. Despite such issues however, the singer was still able to log plenty of studio time in creating what would eventually become her new album, Goodbye Lullaby. Having the majority of the album completed before even reaching 2010 the singer was then dealt another blow, this time from her label. Signed to Arista, Lavigne found herself transplanted as the label was consumed by RCA. It was under this new watchful eye that she was told to take on a more “urban” sound. Lavigne disagreed; the album was delayed.

With the release of Goodbye Lullaby‘s lead single (“What The Hell”) in January however, things appeared to once again be right on track for the perennial pop punker; the song itself acting much like “Girlfriend” did on The Best Damn Thing, adding a very recognizable kick early on in the LP. The single continues to project Lavigne’s longstanding edgy persona that has persisted throughout her career, this time utilizing a catchy organ line as she confronts the double standard of being a player, “You say that I’m messin’ with your head boy, I like messin’ in your bed… All cause I was makin’ out with your friend.” From the remaining tracks that follow however, the song’s energy is only duplicated in “Smile.” “Last night I blacked out, I think/What did you put in my drink?” yelps Lavigne before the song’s squirly guitar is pushed aside for a glowing pop hook. The energetic track pales in comparison however, picking up on a trend that persists throughout the entire recording: aside from “What The Hell,” the album is largely forgettable.

Make no mistake, “I Love You” serves its purpose as a solid pop song, “Alice” leans on a momentous sound in focusing on lyrics aimed at triumphing over adversity and opener “Black Star” is at the bare minimum a relatively graceful introductory track. (If it weren’t simply a theme song for a fragrance it might’ve been able to develop into something special.) In between however, there are few sparks that deliver something on par with what Lavigne’s career has proven her capable of.

This isn’t to point fingers, but one of the likely reasons for the lack of excitement in Goodbye Lullaby might have to do with the project being far more in-house than any she has ever taken on before. While Avril Lavigne has always assumed the role of a songwriter in the creation of her music, the new album finds her as the sole writer on a number of songs. Not only that, but through their rocky ups and downs, Whibley played role of producer for roughly half of the album; Lavigne herself also wearing that hat for a pair of tracks. The result is something that she’d obviously be willing to fight to the death over—a personal creation unlike any she’s had to this point in her career. Unfortunately it also emphasizes her obvious need for collaboration.

The aforementioned “What The Hell” and “Smile” are two of four tracks written with the help of proven hit-makers Max Martin and Shellback, each standing out for their obvious pop-heavy appeal. Even at that however, the lyrics in the tracks translate as remarkably soft, “Wish You Were Here” including “There’s a girl who gives a shit, behind this wall you’ve just walked through it” and “I Love You” topping out emotionally with “You’re so beautiful but that’s not why I love you.” Lavigne’s work with guitarist Evan Taubenfeld on the album yields an unfortunate trio of “singer/songwriter” tracks; “Push,” the cliché-ridden “Everybody Hurts” (“Everybody hurts, everybody screams, everybody feels this way—and it’s OK”) and “Not Enough.” From there however, we’re led to believe that it’s all Lavigne: from the dull sounds of “Stop Standing There” to the the limp acoustic-focused “4 Real” (“I’m for real, are you for real?”) to the relationship driven “Remember When” (“Remember when I cried to you a thousand times?”) and “Goodbye” (“I have to go and leave you alone but always know that I love you so”). There’s a lot of emotion in the songs, but practically none of it makes an impact.

In a recent interview with Maxim, Lavigne broke down the album’s focus from her perspective, “Is it inspired by my personal relationships? Yes. Inspired by life experiences? Yes. Inspired by experiences in situations with my family and friends? Yes.” Just as these are all important sources in terms of learning more about herself, they’re also powerful in gathering inspiration for her lyrics. That said, the drawback comes when the songs themselves are neglected in the process of making the album more “personal.” There’s nothing wrong with taking the risk, but the outcome unfortunately illuminates the unmistakable transparency of Lavigne’s game. Sad to say it, but now she’s just Taylor Swift with a “fuck” tattoo.


36 Comments

    I couldn’t disagree more with this review – Goodbye Lullaby is by far Lavigne’s finest work – she has an exceptional pop sensibility that she can tap in to on nearly all the tracks on the album – there’s not a single song (except for maybe Everybody Hurts) that isn’t top notch pop! It’s a fantastic album and effort from Lavigne!

    • Exactly!!! This person is saying that the only good songs are when she collaberated with others…..Avril Lavigne wrote Remember When all by herself and that is the best song on the album!

    • I’m soory but i think this review is spot on. I love Avril Lavigne to pieces, but this album definitly is not my favorite! And i think of all albums its the least creative :( I was really looking forward to the release of this album, but to me, all the songs sound the same, and after hearing what lyrics and vocals she is capable of, this album just doesnt show it. And for it to be about what she has been going through, it doesnt sound like there is any REAL emotion, it sounds dull and just doesnt grab me like some of her old heart-felt songs always do.

    I agree with Mike one hundred percent. This reviewer obviously doesn’t understand anything about good, true music. I have had this album on a constant loop and every song is fantastic…

  • I think Everybody Hurts is the best song on the album.

    • I agree totally! “Everybody Hurts” should have been the first single released from “Lullaby” – not only is it a better song than “What the Hell”, but it also has more of the sound I’m hearing on mainstream FM these days. “What the Hell” is not bad, but does sound a little too young to compete with artists like Pink, Perry, or GaGa.

    Goodbye Lullaby is full of pure melodies and the best album she’s ever done…but if u’re in for autotune music and big commercial hits then definitey THIS album is not for you cause it’s about the lyrics, the emotions and is really stripped down. There isn’t ANY room to compare Avril’s work with Taylor Swift!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes it’s a wonder when everywhere she’s getting 5/5 ratings and you come up with this pessimistic review!

  • As a long time Avril Lavigne fan, I couldn’t be more happy and satisfied with the outcome of Goodbye Lullaby. Through the let down that was The Best Damn Thing and constant delays for this record thanks to her record company, I was blown away with what I listened to and can’t believe RCA delayed such a brilliant record for over a year! This album shows what amazing vocals she has and she ventured deeper into her work by being a solo writer and even producing for the first time. It also shows that Avril can sing about more meaningful, deeper topics than crushing on a skater boy or being depressed that her happy ending was ripped away from underneath her feet.

    I’d be surprised if most of these other pop stars could dress themselves in the morning. Not many are even on the same level as Avril when it comes to pure, true talent.

  • I agree with the review. It’s nice that she did more of the work herself this time around but I couldn’t help but think it wasn’t a very strong album. It’s mostly forgetable, which is sad, because I’ve been a huge fan since I was 13. I like smile, and I sort of like I Love you, and Push. But it’s very clichéd and minimal, and unimaginitive for the most part.

  • I am a fan of avril but sadly this album is far from her old ones.

  • You guys are not real fans -_- I mean the ones who don’t think the album is good enough. This album is by far the best. Yes the best damn thing was kinda a let down. But it was still a pretty good album. She’s amazing. Yeah its a bit cliche but every song out there honestly is. I love this album and I ve been a fan since she first came out. She’s my idol. I pre-ordered the expanded edition. Its amazing.

  • wow. disagree! this song is one of the deepest albums she has done. you obviously only listened to tracks 1-6 and no where past that where it ACTUALLY gets deep. your basing her off The Best Damn Thing, which was an RCA vision and not true Avril. This is one of the best albums of 2011 so far since its actually NOT autotune and has HER REAL vocals.

  • Everyone has their very own opinion and perspectives. when i frist listened to the whole album, I found that Avril has “lost her sound”. But after listening gor the second and third time, and looking at the lyrics while listening, i found that this album is her best when it is the lyrics we are talking about. The songs may not as pop as in TBDT but the tracks Wish u were here, everybody hurts, remember when, goodbye, and alice are all great. Yes the album is forgettable but people will tend to remember it sometimes and will listen to it again then only they’ll find out that the album’s value

  • Are you crazy? in “goodbye lullaby” avril is completely naked emotionally and you treat her like shit?
    oh CHRIS DELINE you like the “crap gaga music”

  • I’m a fan since 2002, sadly, I agree to the review. It doesn’t mean that I’m a fake fan or else, but that’s only my opinion. Avril is a good person as a whole. Goodbye Lullaby is not bad though but it’s not as powerful as her 3 album. Her only alas this time is how she perform these songs live and how she connect to her fans.

  • On this album Avril singing best so far. Great vocals, emotions, lyrics, but some song are a little boring. Anyway, is still as good as its competition.

  • Sadly, I also agree with the review. I’ve been a fan since the beginning but wow… The first time I heard it I couldn’t believe it was her new album. Yes, it is a good thing that she has made the album more personal, but she has sacrificed the music in the process. Even though some things did remind me of Let Go (i.e 4 Real), let’s be honest. Was there anything in this album as good as I’m With You, Nobody’s Home or When You’re Gone? Nahh… It was like an album filled with songs like “Who Knows”. In one word? Disappointed.

  • osummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ,,,,,,,,avril rocks as always,,,,,,,,dont compare taylor swift with avril……taylor is nothing in front of avril,,,,,,,,,

  • wish you wre here ,,is outstanding,,,,,,,,,,,

  • I disagree! She has always DARED TO BE DIFFERENT from everyone else (not ‘different’ in Lady Gaga’s way, that’s plain creepy). I loved Let Go and Under My Skin and although The Best Damn Thing did let me down a little, I liked it too. She is nothing like Taylor Swift! The songs on Goodbye Lullaby draws the spotlight to her awesome vocals and I personally feel that it is her best album yet. It is an album that people can really feel and relate to, which I think is what good music is all about. I am sooo buying the album!

  • The writer is a bitch. Dont compare her to that Asian blonde. Cmoooon. ILOVE LAVIGNE.

  • Well i think that everybody want a lady gaga o taylor swifft whatever
    i ‘am disagree with the review because this album is not same to nothing in the all music carrer of avril it different but anyone with his opinion
    taylor swifft is a britney but “good” she is like a barby and avril not
    so what the hell with the review i happy with this album however avril doesn’t writte song abut gay lesbian or sex like britney and gaga this is the reason because the song are not impact

  • This review is right on. I like Avril, I think she has a unique and gorgeous voice, and I think she really tried to put who she was inside on this album, which is brave. And what I heard was a grown woman my own age (26) with the vocabulary and emotional spectrum of a child–largely uneducated, shallow and immature. She’s sincere, yes, and it’s sad. She uses a songwriting vocabulary of 100 words or less. It’s like she’s writing with refrigerator magnets If you’re still using “4″ instead of “FOR” and you’re not a jr.high student texting someone, perhaps you should pause and re-evaluate. Avril, read some books. Develop your vocabulary. Read real poetry. Take a college class. Develop yourself from a kid to a woman.

    To put it in perspective Alanis Morrisette wrote the brilliant “Jagged Little Pill” at age 24, two years YOUNGER than Avril now. The album was strikingly funny, witty, subtle, and filled with complicated emotions. Yet on “Goodbye Lullaby” Avril sounds stunted at the 5th grade level. If she were in fact 12 or 13, this would be a moving and impressive debut. She’s not. She’s four years away from 30. Avril is still gorgeous, and a vocal talent, but I think it’s possible fame seriously stalled her personal and emotional growth. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt; I bet she’d be amazing if she took the time to find herself.

  • I agree with the review, and it’s not that people are trying to compare her to Taylor or Lady Gaga it’s that as of this album you can’t even compare her to Avril. With the combination of this album and ‘Best damn thing” I feel as though Avril’s become exactly the girl she mocked in her first two albums.

  • Great album! It’s so obvious that this reviewer is just another Avril – hater.

  • I am 53 years olf and I absolutely love Avril!!!!!!!!!! I wish I was half as talented as her. I lovew 4 Real and Everbody Hurts. They are amazing! Don’t you people that cut her down have anything better to do??? I would like to see you sing and write and play instruments like Avril does. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. I can’t say I love every single song but I didn’t love every single song on the other albums either.I can’t wait to see her in concert! I love you Avril Lavigne!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Goodbye Lullaby is different but I really like it. Songs are very deep and emotional, especially “Everybody hurts” and “Goodbye”. I like Avril in her new album a lot more than in “Best Damn Thing” becouse she is just herself, she don’t need to pretend anything. Grettings from Poland and sorry for my english ;)

  • Im not even going to read the review, just reading these comments…..this person is a hater………haters are only good for one thing. Whine, whine……..get over yourself…jess. Anyways I started to listen to the record when it was realsed (spell) in Japan, lucky there’s youtube. I love this record, every song I love, who care if doesn’t sound like Let Go or Under My Skin. Musician need grow, and Avril isn’t a young girl anymore she is grown woman with lots of talent. Also do not compare her to Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift.

  • Avril is a great artist!
    That’s the first thing I have to say. Now let’s start. First, this album might not be as good as the first two albums, it’s definitely not that bad. This songs are very close to her and very personal. If this beautiful woman feels sad, she writes about it, but also happy times (Smile) are written down by her. Every single song on this album has a meaning, she always does, but the critics and haters can’t always see that (Yes, even ‘Girlfriend’ had a meaning). No that her songs are more acoustic, I think it’s a brilliant choice from Miss. Lavigne. This songs remind me of ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘I’m With You’, these were pure and great songs. Almost classic.
    But talking about stuff like ‘she’s a fake’ I mean, COME ON! This is one pure fantastic woman! So what that she changed her style, isn’t every woman in this world changing during her teenage years and the few years after that? Are you that autistic that you’re stuck in your own teenage years and still thinking that she is a sk8erboi for always? Why is everybody saying that it’s bad because you write songs for teenagers and about teenage problems? NO REASON TO BE!
    Shitting about her vocabulary? Why? Because she used a number instead of a normal word? BIG DEAL! Let her do what she wants, she gives the finger to you.
    This album deserves a 4 out of 5.

  • i like the album a lot but wouldnt say i loved it. i think the avril fans who have been waiting for ‘let go’ part two really enjoy the album because it sounds more like the person she used to be. But shes not the same person, and to be honest i kind of get what people are saying, hoping that she would have matured as a songwriter. i suppose at 26 lyrically it should be more sophisticated but perhaps she wanted to play it safe and not eliminate her ever faithful fanbase. i still love what avril stand for. i think shes got more balls for not being afraid to show her feminine side and still think she is being true to herself :)

  • I think this album is the best thing ever and people who dont like it simply have a hearing problem or just dont like the kind of music she sings. I honestly do not understand why people are giving it bad ratings, I dont know what else critics want in an album. This album is introspective and really personal to her, so people should accept it for what it is. The most important thing is that she has satisfied most of her fans and everyone thinks the album was definitely worth the wait of four years. <3 Avril Forever.

  • I have to disagree entirely with this review, I personally prefer Avril when she is being introspective and writing beautiful melodies with honesty.

    “The best damn thing” was far too poppy for me, although I still loved “Innocence” and of course, the rest of the album. I am as happy as can be with this album and given that it’s been so long since Avril released anything, I really recommend this album. It’s is at least 4/5 stars and her vocals are strong as ever.

    I also am <3 Avril Forever.

  • I too disagree with the reviewer too. This is the closest Avril has got to the master piece that was Let Go. Full of catchy hook hungry pop songs. Sometimes the lyrical phrasing falls a little flat but her vocals and soaring choruses make up for any lyrical flakeness. After all, its the melodies and hooks that catch us, and this Album is full of them.

    I didn’t like the Best Damn Thing but this Album puts Avril back on the playlist.

  • I think when you put if as “Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye my love” it may sound a bit simplistic, but have you actually heard the song? Her voice is truly amazing and it really brings you to tears, and you can hear the passion in her voice. Goodbye is one of my favorite songs in the record, but each individual song has it’s own unique message that in my case, truly hooks me to her music. I love every song in the record, Smile, What The Hell, I love You, Push, Wish You Were Here, Everybody Hurts…and so on. And this album is anything but forgettable, I think it is the complete opposite of that.

  • From all her albuns Goodbye Lullaby is on the top of my list.
    I hated “What the Hell” when i first listened. Hated. Simply hated (allthought now I actually like it).
    Because it was very pop and with a shallow lyrics.

    You’re saying that not making pop material songs is a bad thing.
    I’m glad she’s is more sentimental! And getting more close to ColdPlay or Alannis Morisette, or even Taylor Swift (which I don’t like).
    But at least Taylor Swift is honest about the concept of her musics. She doesn’t happen to be around the music industry with a pretty face, laying there sitting pretty, waiting for producers and songwriters to do music for her.

    Avril is just the same. I’m a fan of Avril for several things, but what makes me most like her is that she’s the main writer of her songs.

    You know what I love about music?
    Is how much I can relate to….
    Is like when you fell goosebumps while listening to the radio and you can see flashs from your memory, things that happen to you. And you start to cry, or smile or laugh…
    but you know what is really amazing? Is when you realise that someone else is crying or smiling with you. That person that’s singing.

    This is how I see music… So it’s just stupid to me, when I hear those songs and I can see that the singer didn’t wrote it, didn’t even took a part of the music creation. Want examples? RIhanna, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez… want me to continue?

    So hell yeah, I hope she continues like this…

    When you’re gifted you can choose between two ways.
    You can use your gift to get money, or popularity and fame.
    Or you can do your thing, what makes you fell accomplished and happy.

    And I pray she keeps doing it, because I recently realised how much I loved those songs.
    Is intersting to see, what is behind that soft appearence, you can see there’s much more!
    There were songs on this album I didn’t like first, but then I heard it, again and again. I could see the emotion…

    And now I like it more than I ever liked a pop song.

    Think trought things,
    Peace and Love,
    David

  • fuck these assholes, this album made me even more addicted to lavigne.

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