Avril Lavigne
Head Above Water


2.0
poor

Review

by Mason USER (58 Reviews)
February 17th, 2019 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: So "Here's to Never Growing Up" was a lie, what next?

There are plenty of albums worse than Head Above Water that I could easily be discussing right now. There’s probably a huge batch of bad releases that have more dull performances, more annoying stylistic choices, and more out of place tracks that break the flow of the album. The difference between them and Avril’s sixth studio release though is that most of the time, those other albums were doomed to fail from the start. As this is her first album in about six years, she could have gone in any direction. The lead single and title track “Head Above Water” led us to believe that we might finally be getting to see a new side of Avril Lavigne; no longer is she the bratty teenager who wrote “Sk8er Boi” nor is she the mom trying to fit in with her teenage friends who wrote “Rock N Roll” or “Here’s to Never Growing Up”. What the single didn’t tell us, however, is how dull and disappointing the songs to come would be.

To be fair, as cringeworthy and borderline-pandering as 2013’s Avril Lavigne was at times, at least it felt peppy and wasn’t primarily written to lull you to sleep. She had the groundwork for this album laid out with the strength of her lead single, but it seems as if all her cards were bet on that one song and that she didn’t spend nearly enough time refining the rest of the album. The issues come bubbling out immediately after the first track concludes; “Birdie” not only features painfully dull lyricism but a very grating vocal performance courtesy of Lavigne, and “Dumb Blonde” is arguably one of the worst pop songs I’ve heard since “Hello Kitty” polluted the airwaves with its annoying musical premise. “Tell Me It’s Over” and “Souvenir” are alright enough for middling pop fodder, poor lyrics aside, and “Warrior” is as close as this album gets to the same level of quality as its opening track. “I Fell In Love With the Devil” is an attempt at a more complex form of poetry but still ends up sounding like it came from a twelve-year-old girl’s diary, and I don’t even think I need to explain “Goddess”.

I do feel bad for Avril Lavigne though, as it’s clear her struggle with Lyme disease is prevalent within the majority of Head Above Water. Enduring years of constant fatigue and feel as if you’re on death’s edge has to have been rough for her. While tragedy has made room for some of modern music’s most moving moments, it’s clearly not a universal experience. It’s been years since I’ve been this disappointed in a record, and since Avril was coming off one of her most poorly-received releases, I think even she knew that to recover from a blow like that, she’d have to nail it on her follow-up. Her attempts to reinvent herself as a matured figure in contemporary music could have easily been far more than they were on this release. Despite taking six years to release this, it still somehow feels rushed. This is Avril Lavigne’s Hurley; an album which showed some promise on one or two songs but otherwise felt middling and uninteresting. Head Above Water is living proof that tragedy isn’t always the key to success in the music industry.



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user ratings (70)
Chart.
2.2
poor
other reviews of this album
SowingSeason STAFF (2.2)
All my life I've been good, but now......

Brendan Schroer (1)
Avril Lavigne's finally growing up... and maybe she never should have....

nomiddlename (2)
Maybe this should have been an EP....

Elizabeth Hanson (4)
A masterfully crafted collection that warmly recalls the era of album-driven FM rock radio....


Comments:Add a Comment 
AgentDeathbat
February 16th 2019


9947 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Sorry for the rant-y nature of this one, I was disappointed as fuck by this album.

Also, 50th review!

AgentDeathbat
February 16th 2019


9947 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

The album sucks, that's what.

DivergentThinking
February 16th 2019


6227 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Holy shit, it’s an Avril onslaught!

GhostB1rd
February 16th 2019


3001 Comments


While you ingrates are busy shitting on this please go and 5 Let Go kthxbye.

AgentDeathbat
February 16th 2019


9947 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

if under my skin isn't a 5 neither is let go

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
February 16th 2019


8968 Comments


Brief and to the point, well done. Congrats on the 50, looks like each one keeps getting better my man.

AgentDeathbat
February 16th 2019


9947 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Thanks! @MarsKid

LizHanson
February 17th 2019


9 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Maybe someone will write a review for her old stuff, not for the latest album? Y'all saying it's so bad, so make a comparison.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
February 17th 2019


8968 Comments


Comparisons can be made in a review for new material. Reflection does not require an entirely separate piece.

Could this have made more connections? Probably, if you're searching for something more in-depth. But I think the opening paragraph sets the stage pretty easily.

jsaf7
February 17th 2019


388 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The title track led me to believe this would be decent but i was sadly mistaken...

AgentDeathbat
February 17th 2019


9947 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

@jsaf: I mean for real

thezouz
February 24th 2019


70 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yup, this was a snooze fest, but im not bothered enough to review it

AgentDeathbat
February 24th 2019


9947 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

@zouz: I'd just give it a low rating and move on if i were you tbh

DivergentThinking
February 24th 2019


6227 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Not sure how this deserved the negs it got, it's a damn good review

AgentDeathbat
February 24th 2019


9947 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I always get a couple troll negs every now and again, it's not really a big deal. It just fucks with my approval rating.



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