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It’s ‘Complicated’: Avril Lavigne releases long awaited album, falls short of fan approval

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It’s ‘Complicated’: Avril Lavigne releases long awaited album, falls short of fan approval

Avril Lavigne' new album departs from her pop-punk days with new sound.

Avril Lavigne' new album departs from her pop-punk days with new sound.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Avril Lavigne' new album departs from her pop-punk days with new sound.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Avril Lavigne' new album departs from her pop-punk days with new sound.

Mason Parcell, Writer

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Avril Lavigne first emerged to fame in the early 00’s with hits like “Complicated,” “Girlfriend” and “My Happy Ending” ruling the pop charts. This past Friday, the Canadian pop sensation released her sixth-studio album “Head Above Water,” the first since her 2013 self-titled album. “Head Above Water” was majorly influenced by her battle with Lyme Disease. The cover depicts Lavigne nude, with just an acoustic guitar covering her body— a strong contrast from the “Sk8ter Boi” singer’s previous image.

The album opens with the title track and lead single, “Head Above Water,” which is arguably the best song on the album. The powerful ballad showcases a side of Lavigne we had never seen before. Gone are the days of her punk-image. We now see a spiritual woman who holds onto faith in order to get through her struggles.

Last September , Lavigne posted a letter on her website detailing her battle with Lyme Disease and announcing the release of the track. “I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed ‘God, please help to keep my head above the water,’” she wrote, which led to the inspiration behind the single.

Next, another standout song on the album, “Birdie,” begins. The song is reminiscent of the singer’s early material, now with an updated sound. The song chronicles a relationship that made Lavigne feel as though she was “locked in a cage.” “I Fell In Love With The Devil” starts out strong, with a beautiful violin beginning to play, and continues through with a chilling piano instrumental. The only problem is its repetition and lack of lyrical excellence the artist has shown her fans in the past.

The following  two tracks are singles “Tell Me It’s Over” and “Dumb Blonde,” the latter featuring rapper Nicki Minaj. “Tell Me It’s Over” is a strong  song that showcases Lavigne’s vocal power and channels soulful influence. “Dumb Blonde,” however, feels like a low quality version of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.” Nicki Minaj’s verse is the only redeeming quality the single has.

The rest of the album unfortunately seems to fall flat in delivery. Many lyrics are cringeworthy, while other tracks seem so similar to past songs that it’s hard to give them a serious review. “It Was In Me” is a beautiful ballad, but with every other song before it besides “Dumb Blonde” also being a ballad, it feels like nothing we haven’t heard before.

Lyrically, “Souvenir” is one of the weaker tracks, while “Crush” sounds so similar to “Tell Me It’s Over” that you may wonder why it was even included on the album.

“Goddess” is a lyrical mess, as Lavigne rhymes “pajamas” with a mispronounced “bananas.”  “Big Wow,” on the other hand, is a standout song. Finally giving her fans another up-tempo tune on the album, Lavigne shines throughout “Warrior” as a great way to end the album. The inspirational lyrics are as uplifting as the title track, giving  listeners the motivation previous songs lacked.

Altogether, “Head Above Water” was not exactly the strongest effort from Avril Lavigne. The first half of the album is strong, but the second half feels lackluster for an album  fans had anticipated for five years. While the strength she has acquired through her suffering is commendable, the delivery of half of the tracks leaves much to be desired. Compared to works like “Let Go” and “Under My Skin,” “Head Above Water” has little replay value.

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It’s ‘Complicated’: Avril Lavigne releases long awaited album, falls short of fan approval