Lavigne continues to pop out punk with her latest
Punk-girl-turned-pop-tart Avril Lavigne’s new CD still has that radio spark but her style is more imitation than standout
by The Cavalier Daily
Blacksburg, VA (rushprnews) May 2nd,2007-From the beginning, Miss Avril has been a pop-market dream. She embraced pre-existing trends — the skater punk, the emo kid — and, much to the despair of parents, put teenage rebellion in the mainstream. I fully admit to being seduced in earlier, more impressionable years just by watching her make trashing a mall look so damned cool.
Lavigne’s third album, The Best Damn Thing, is no less radio-friendly than before. Her surefire success routine of reworking trends, however, may finally be starting to crack.
Lavigne’s likeability lies heavily on a kickass, lyrical bluntness that’s disarmingly at odds with her petite and pixie-faced persona. Take a sample from an earlier hit “Don’t Tell Me”: “Don’t think that your charm / And the fact that your arm is now around my neck / Will get you in my pants, I’ll have to kick your ass / And make you never forget.”
Emotional sincerity more or less covers up the fact that she’s so often borrowing ideas from other people. This time, though, her neon-pink-and-blonde highlights that bleed off the CD cover make it a wee bit obvious she’s trying to be someone else — the question is, would that be Christina Aguilera or Pink?
Lavigne never quite gets past the usual teenage-hormone anthems. Apparently, being riddled by stereotypes is the only way she can get her point across. As in runaway hit “Sk8er Boi,” Lavigne continues to catfight with snotty/prissy/conniving girls of whom she’s clearly supposed to be the antithesis. The single “Girlfriend” — in which she plays a boyfriend-stealer and attests to being “the motherfucking princess” — is almost as catchy as it is ridiculous. She cautions a guy against gold-digging females in “One of Those Girls,” but it’s anyone’s guess if, in true bitch-fest style, it’s a case of sour grapes because this is one man she couldn’t land.
Then we get pseudo feminism in “I Don’t Have to Try,” where Lavigne goes all out about being “the one who wears the pants,” complete with mock karate yells. This is in sharp contrast with the facetious title track where she whines about finding her “Cinderella story scene” and couldn’t get any more simplistic about gender-based expectations — “I hate it when a guy doesn’t get the tab / And I have to pull my money out and that looks bad.”
It was the final straw for me when she broke into cheerleader yells of “Give me an A (always give me what I want)! / Give me a V (be very, very good to me)” only to, of course, spell out her name.
It’s a little creepy to consider how Lavigne’s now a married woman singing as if she were still an angsty pre-teen. Avril’s no longer the kid at school who was cool because she didn’t try to be — now she’s the lipstick-smeared girl terminally anxious to fit in.
But some tracks do pack pure pop goodness that redeems the CD. There’s something rather sweetly youthful about road-trip anthem “Runaway,” “Hot” and the massively listenable ballad “Keep Holding On” that already rather incongruously graces a place on the Eragon soundtrack.
What can be said about Avril is that she knows precisely where her niche market lies and is very comfortable staying there for now. For better or for worse, she’s one slick pop machine we’re not going to lose sight of any time soon.
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