Sound — 9
After a long hiatus, 26-year-old Avril Lavigne is back with her impressive fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby. This is not a Let Go 2.0, neither Under My Skin 2.0, nor The Best Damn Thing 2.0. What was created in late 2008, Lavigne decided to shed her snarly punk princess persona from her third effort, and return back to her roots from the 2002 Grammy nominated record, Let Go and the 2004 rocker, Under My Skin. The album was done to be released on June 2010, but Lavigne's record label, RCA, wanted her to balance out the album with some radio friendly material. On August she starts working on songs with the producer Alex Da Kid, and said some songs would have a mix of hip-hop and rock music. However Lavigne had to fight with her label, because she wanted to an acoustic album, with a focus in her voice, instead of upbeat's mainstream songs. Well she did! Almost all of her song are acoustic-rock oriented, influenced by indie-rock/indie-pop and soft-rock music, but some of the songS sound really difference from her older work, although it seems like an album where Let Go meets Under My Skin a l Alanis Morissette/Dolores O'Riordan. 01. Black Star: this is an intro, it's a lullaby, sounds like some Coldplay song 02. What The Hell: a crappy power pop-punk that doesn't reflect her whole album, it's the most pop track of the album, and less personal of Avril. It was just a mainstream song that the label wanted. 03. Push: it sounds like any Alanis Morissette song (see 'All I Really Want''), good vocals. 04. Wish You Where Here: it reminds me of a mix of Let Go and more of Under My Skin. It is kind of mediocre, but the vocal's climax it's so orgasmic 05. Smile: catchy-upbeat rock song 06. Stop Standing There: it's bouncy, it's different, it's catchy. Her vocals have a desperate urgency to them which really adds to the song's atmosphere. 07. I Love You: very interesting beat to it. The lyrics are a bit cheesy, but when the chorus kicks in, such a catchy song! 08. Everybody Hurts: I thought it would be depressing. It turns a negative into a positive. Sounds kinda Blink-182's ''I miss You'' but with and indie vibe. 09. Not Enough: wow a good acoustic intro broke into a rock chorus. Sounds similar to ''With Me'' by Sum41. The musical style it's oriented like those 90s grunge ballads 10. 4 Real: the verses are a bit boring, but the chorus gets better. It's a good ballad. But it's such a cool and deep song, with indie music vibe. Sounds pretty similar to some Dolores O'Riordan songs 11. Darlin: the simplicity of the instrumental means that Avril's voice really comes through and drives the song, which is what she said she'd wanted to achieve. This song is certainly not single-worthy but it is a nice listen 12. Remember When: it leaves a bittersweet taste, tugging at your heart throughout. Like ''Not Enough'', this song have those '90 grunge-ballad oriented sound 13. Goodbye Lullaby: I love the piano and the strings. It's beautiful yet really sad. It's Lavigne's most personal song on the album, and where she named it.
Lyrics — 7
The explicit attitudinal cheery number, Smile, reflects Lavigne's rebel-like vibe with the bratty lyrics, You know that I'm a crazy bitch / I do what I want / When I feel like it. The pre-chorus is a sure fired up hit maker in the making with a cheery chorus that follows, You're the reason why I smile. The song, clearly directed at current boyfriend Brody Jenner chants, I woke up with a new tattoo / Your name was on me / And my name was on you. (Both Lavigne and Jenner have tattoos of each other's names.) In I Love You, Max Martin helped deliver is highly reminiscent of Jen Leckman's, Your Arms Around Me, while Lavigne sings, La, la, la, along with the melody and is almost shortly identical to that of Alanis Morissette's hit, Thank U, during the bridge's, oh, oh. Though the tune holds its own and could easily be a radio hit, Lavigne makes a slight hint towards ex-husband Deryck Whibley with the bridges lyrics, Even though we didn't make it through / I am always here for you. Push, written by Lavigne and best friend Evan Taubenfeld (whom coincidentally duets on the track), starts out with an acoustic vibe with jumbled fast paced lyrics. Though the chorus comes across screechy, the lyrics are very reminiscent of the rebel Lavigne with the lyrics, I'm capable of taking care of myself / So if you f--k this up / Than go take a hike. The tough love track was produced by Lavigne's ex-husband, Deryck Whibley, front man of Sum 41. Also produced by Whibley was the clap-finger snap-cutesy track Stop Standing There, self-penned by Lavigne which starts off with a frustrated Avril wondering what's going on in her significant others head. You're just standing by / You're just wasting time / Why don't you just tell me the truth / About me and you? The probing Lavigne sings in the bridge, Stop standing there / Stop acting like you don't care / Stop being scared, and ends the number with, Please tell me who you are / So I can show you who I am. Black Star, a twinkling star-like melody is only a 1:40 intro into the record, the track was self-written for Lavigne's first fragrance commercials jingle. Lavigne's soft and enchanting voice sings to her fans with the simple words, Forever you will be a shining star. The eleven-year-old in the making track written before Lavigne ever signed a record deal, Darlin' is a cute uplifting acoustic number about wanting better for someone she cares for. Pretty please / I know it's a drag / wipe your eyes and put up your head / I wish you could be happy instead / There's nothing else I can do but love you the best I can, she sings. Everybody Hurts, one of the earliest tracks written for the record starts out with an acoustic melody sure to win over lingered off fans with the first listen. With lost and confusion, Lavigne sings, Don't know if I can do this on my own it seems I'm losing something deep inside of me. With hopelessness, she sings, It feels like nothing really matters anymore, but uplifts the listeners with the chorus, It's okay to be afraid everybody feels this way / and it's okay. It's a reassuring and pleasant listen throughout. The 90s grunge ballads, Not Enough, and Remember When that pop up on the record are ear grabbers from the start. Both reflect Lavigne's recent divorce situation with Deryck Whibley whom coincidently produced both songs. I'm sorry if this hurts you, Lavigne vulnerably warns in the beginning of Not Enough. 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, Lavigne sings in the self-penned number Remember When, chorus. The self written tracks on the record, 4 Real, and Goodbye were produced solely by Lavigne, something of which she admits never saw herself doing. But with an impressive first timer producing credentials, Lavigne sings 4 Real's catchy ethereal bridge with the words, Hold me down / Hold me now / I'm safe / I'm sound / When you're around. Goodbye, starts with a piano and cello as Lavigne sings goodbye to her ex-husband as a sense of closure. Always know / That I love you so / Goodbye brown eyes / Goodbye for now / Goodbye sunshine. The lullaby ballad rings, La-lullaby / Help me sleep tonight.
Overall Impression — 9
Even the fact that its probably the most emotional, and most personal record, makes it her best. Her voice, her honesty and vulnerability overshadow anything I can possibly try finding wrong with these tracks. People who enjoys the music of Alternative/Indie/Pop-Rock singers-songwriters like Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, Dolores O'Riordan, Liz Phair, Joan Osbourne... will love and enjoy the album. It's a master piece!