Avril Lavigne
Goodbye Lullaby


3.5
great

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
March 1st, 2011 | 161 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lavigne's best album is also the one which reveals her glass ceiling.

Avril Lavigne is far more punk now than she ever was back when people were playing air guitar to 'Sk8er Boi', a song which in spite of its knowingly aggressive tone was as inoffensive as pretty much all of Let Go. For real controversy, read 'Girlfriend', a song so bitchy and provocative both in musical tendencies and in lyrical content that some people actually hated it and some people actually loved it. It doesn't matter that there were no skateboards in the video; it was far more daring than 'Complicated' pretended to be.

This suggestion tends to incite vociferous opposition to the assertion that something can be so bad it's good but that's not the point - the point is that people talked about it. The lead single from Goodbye Lullaby, 'What The Hell', sounds like 'Girlfriend's narrator's little sister saw rebellion and wrote a song about it too, but 'What The Hell' is not a suitable benchmark for the album it opens as the first full song; there is very little with that abrasive tone in the other twelve tracks. But it's better to be divisive than bland, right? That's what we said?

Actually, despite being the least insolent album Lavigne's ever recorded, it's also probably the first that lends itself to an extensive number of listens. It's a disarming listen from the very first notes, intro 'Black Star' twinkling in anticipation of its own build, and after 'What The Hell' has bulldozed the shit out of all that subtlety with its handclaps and gang vocals, the surprises just keep on coming. 'Push' has Lavigne doing her best Alanis Morisette impression; 'Wish You Were Here' (far from being a Pink Floyd cover) echoes Taylor Swift's tenderness; 'Everybody Hurts' (far from being an REM cover) sees her for perhaps the first time ever finding understated momentum, at least for the first three minutes.

And the list goes on. None of these differences are revolutionary, but some of them do manage to contribute a lot to slight diversity in texture. A lot of the tracks on this record are acoustic and very few of them are rehashed versions of the same sappy ballad. And this is not even mentioning the beats. 'Stop Standing There' is positively groovy with the strings buried deep beneath its fidgety drums! 'Push' in its mimicry of Alanis even borrows that intelligent, breezy way she has with rhythm and does it with actual style, too.

But man, is it disappointing. All this praise and yet, still, Lavigne finds herself with an end product which feels incomplete, and why? The words. The damn lyrics. Especially on songs as stripped-down as some of these, it becomes important to have something to say and a way to say it. Stepping out from behind the pretense of the rebellious costume and the bitchy costume, where does Avril, presumably a more natural Avril, go? I wish I could answer that question, because a majority of these songs fall into the void between meaningful and meaningless, that awkward hole between wanting to inspire emotion and being able to do it. 'I Love You', in particular, is a trite and excessively hackneyed and simple love song, but there are other tracks which meander or clunk in a similar fashion.

It genuinely saddens me to say it, because Goodbye Lullaby demonstrates such class and potential at certain points, but not only is this the best album Lavigne has ever recorded, it's also arguably the best of which she's capable. Everything else is on top form and it exposes a weakness that before had always been able to hide behind its own arrogance. But all of this is conjecture; what's impossible to doubt is the sweetness of 'Darlin' and the ebb and flow of 'Remember When'. If you're all about heart-rending guitars and beautiful pianos and you can overlook the subpar words coming out of Lavigne's mouth, this is a genuinely excellent record, one which isn't a chore to sit through, and one whose ambition is hidden underneath the initial surprise but very definitely present. It is probably the least punk thing that will be released in the next decade, but that's what makes it such a great pop record. It's just a shame it's not much more.



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user ratings (150)
Chart.
2.8
good
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ZackSh33 (2.5)
In her highly anticipated fourth album, Lavigne shows off her introspective side, with sub-par resul...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
March 1st 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album art will knott work

scissorlocked
March 1st 2011


3511 Comments


is this really that good? I haven't listened anything from here, but I 've lost my faith for her(if there was any) long ago.



Digging: Distance - Outer Limits

Knott-
Emeritus
March 1st 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It is what I say it is in the review!

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2011


16789 Comments


I refuse to believe this is any good

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

pizzamachine
March 1st 2011


12571 Comments


Curiosity killed the cat and will kill me. Pos.

ffs
March 1st 2011


4883 Comments


did avril lavigne tit pics ever happen. shoutbox me fellas.

scissorlocked
March 1st 2011


3511 Comments


she isn't that pretty chick she once was

RiversCuomo
March 1st 2011


439 Comments


I hope this is as good as her Metallica cover

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2011


10545 Comments


where is the stream the fucking rip i have is sort of shitty

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2011


31493 Comments


Artwork done etc

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

Knott-
Emeritus
March 1st 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

what rip i got it from japan today

i flew there specially

edit thanks dev

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2011


10545 Comments


im asking if you have a stream link that sounds better than the piece of shit rip i acquired

or i can just wait

Knott-
Emeritus
March 1st 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

haha and im being facetious instead of just saying no :[

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2011


10545 Comments


british humor, *shakes head*

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2011


31493 Comments


Humour

david8956
March 1st 2011


1 Comments


Loved reading your review, it was very insightful and expertly written, props to you. This album seems more promising than I first thought it would be, I can't wait to hear it soon.

I thought Lavigne's debut album was brilliant but too over produced if you know what I mean, UMS was an amazing follow up which was darker but deeper and musically was very good I thought. Her third album was a let down for me, there was some real immature crap on that album but there were small parts that were really good (Girlfriend for example).

I really am looking forward to hearing Avril stripped down to the core, I hope I really will hear her shine even if it may expose some of her weaknesses. On a side note I don't think her lyrics have ever been that geniously written, they can be very good but I think the reason I love listening to her is because the lyrics are geniously bought to life through her amazing tone and you can feel the emotion so well.

Knott-
Emeritus
March 1st 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I definitely never suggested her lyrics had ever been remotely good, simply that with the
majority of her songs taking on an aggressive tone that masked her incompetence as a lyricist and
she was able to pull out 2 or 3 decent ballads on every record despite the fact they were rarely
anything to write home about.

For what it's worth I largely agree with you about the quality of each of her albums, Under My Skin
being her best record up to this point.

The thing about it is, it's not so much that it's her voice and an acoustic guitar - far from it, in
fact, and although I don't know how much she had to do with some of the arrangements on here, that's
where the real strength lies. But some of these tracks are unrivalled in her back catalogue (I'm
thinking 'Push' and 'Darlin' and perhaps 'Goodbye') when it actually comes to crafting a pop song.

And thanks : )

SatelliteYears
March 1st 2011


190 Comments


She's so fucking hot in that video for "What the Hell". Seriously.

Slum
March 1st 2011


2579 Comments


HE WAS A SKATER BOYYYYY

Irving
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2011


7318 Comments


Great review Knott. Simply well-thought out and utterly effective. And I personally have no doubts as to the truth of your words.

Pos.

Digging: Portishead - Dummy



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