The Best Damn Thing
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2007, Volume 14, #9
Written by Matt Parish
A few years ago, Avril Lavigne, at the age of 17, was on the cusp of stardom. Throughout her phenomenal debut Let Go, she demonstrated a level of maturity that was as impressive as her ability to write a song, and she quickly proved that she was more than capable of backing up her "force to be reckoned with" bravado. Fast-forward five years, and suddenly, it seems as if after living amongst us Americans, irreparable damage has been done to both her credibility and her brain. The "dumbed-down" approach that Lavigne exhibits on her latest endeavor The Best Damn Thing is ill-suited to her style, and it’s enough to cause fans to confuse her new album with the works of countless other youthful rockers who also are targeting a teenage audience.
On her current hit Girlfriend, which opens The Best Damn Thing, Lavigne cheerleader-stomps her way through a thinly veiled version of Toni Basil’s Hey Mickey, whilst pouting and shouting about how stupid the object of her affection’s current girlfriend is. On the title track, which appears three songs later, she uses the exact same musical formula, only this time, her pom poms and consciousness are raised as she expounds upon the pitfalls of such radical matters as a boyfriend with no money and — I kid you not — her menstrual moodiness. As if that isn’t enough, she also includes, in her kitchen-sink mix, an obnoxious call-and-response middle-eight of "A-V-R-I-L," which would make even the worst fiends in Al-Qaeda cry "Uncle Sam" and surrender.
For certain, Lavigne can still sing her ass off, and she also remains capable of penning a great song or two, as proven by Innocence, her best ballad to date, and the stellar, cell-phone-swaying, concert-closer Keep Holding On. Unfortunately, two good songs represent an eight-minute visit to i-Tunes rather than a great record. Hopefully, Lavigne has gotten this phase out of her system, just as she did with her sk8ter persona. Perhaps, now, she’ll take her own advice and view The Best Damn Thing from the perspective of one of her songs: I Can Do Better.
The Best Damn Thing is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box