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Avril Lavigne, 'Head Above Water' Album Review

Vocally Effortless, Yet Still Not Sure with Her Sound

By Luigi K.D.CruzPublished 5 years ago 3 min read
Credit: Avril Lavigne 

Avril has been one of the prominent examples of a pop star over a decade. Her ground-breaking debut album Let Go has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, becoming her highest selling album to date. The sophomore album Under My Skin shows much more maturity from her both vocally and lyrically. Sadly, the pop-rock queen (sometimes punk) started to deliver something more generic and sloppy projects. The Best Damn Thing wasn’t tragic at all. It was just the beginning of confusion. You know, when you go through puberty and you’re so confused and don’t know what to do with your emotions? The album was "it." She was getting old and singing those provocative lyrics. "Goodbye Lullaby" was absolutely a step … No a few steps back from what she has achieved in the past which I wasn’t expecting from her. She tried too hard with her self-titled album where she clearly struggles to establish her sound whether to go fully pop or pop-rock. "Hello Kitty" is a 3 minute of torture and slightly culturally inappropriate.

After six years of interval, she came back with an emotional and spiritual single "Head Above Water" which is the title of the album where she sings her struggle and near-death experience of battling with Lyme disease. This emotional piano-ballad really sets the tone of the album. "Birdie" is an effortless piano ballad with well-written lyrics and Avril’s vocal is the best part of the track. One of the best parts of the album is probably her vocals. Fans won’t be disappointed by that, albeit album’s direction quickly leads to the grey zone where you start to get slightly confused.

"I Fell in Love with the Devil" is a decent effort to maintain the audience’s attention, but the theme is no longer following her story of struggles. It’s about love. Fair enough, if she wants to mix things up with more familiar material but that’s one of the issues with this album. There is no cohesion when it comes to the theme. It’s like riding on a dodgy roller-coaster. "Dumb Blonde" featuring everyone’s favourite Nicki Minaj, is a joke on this album. The high school cheer leading-like music doesn’t really fit in when you start the album very strong. Although, she attempts to send an empowering message but it’s helpless. The 60s inspired track, "Tell Me It's Over" is an interesting track where she adds a little bit of texture to the album.

"It Was in Me" is really one of the highlights in the entire album where she searches for her happiness by realising that "happiness" is actually inside her. The track sounds one of her singles "I’m With You" which could work for old fans like me but again, there’s nothing new about the production.

The second half of the album is more generic and unexciting. She really tries to save the album with a cute 60s inspired ballad "Crush" but it’s almost too late as the rest of the album is as flat as a flat tire. "Goddess" is an acoustic guitar driven song where she sings “He thinks I'm sexy in my pajamas/The more I am a hot mess, the more he goes bananas/He treats me like I'm a goddess.” At this point you’ll be left with so many thoughts not the good ones, but the bad ones. Even the emotional album closure "Warrior" sounds uninspiring by the time you reach it.

The sixth album by a Canadian pop star comes back with a carefully crafted pop tunes, but she struggles to put them all together. Most of the songs also sound that they could have been written by any other pop songwriters. I don’t blame Avril for this as there was a lot of pressure from her label. Again, her vocals have never sounded this confident and at the same time so authentic, yet songwriting not so much.

RATING:2out of 5

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About the Creator

Luigi K.D.Cruz

Hiya! I am a music composer, singer-songwriter. Just like anybody who is in love music, I listen to tons of music. I love travelling too! So I will be sharing my stories of music and reviews!

Instagram: luigi.kdc

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