Avril Lavigne's latest album is the type that makes a music reviewer want to tear their hair out. The album includes a small set of fantastic tracks, but they are surrounded by inferior songs that pull the whole set down. When Lavigne combines her fiery, no-nonsense persona with jet-fueled rock or emotes on a well-written ballad, she is one of the top performers in pop music today. However, too often here she just comes off as an angry, bratty child looking to settle scores.
When Avril Lavigne Shines, She Really Shines
To get to the meat of The Best Damn Thing, skip the first two lackluster Dr. Luke helmed songs and head straight for Avril's work with buddy Butch Walker. Nearly daring men to venture into her world, the title song is a tear through female self-confidence. On the big ballad "When You're Gone," the emotional impact builds with swelling strings only to give way to the snarling rocker "Everything Back But You." Hearing Avril spit out "Hey hey psycho babe, I hate you, why are guys so lame" is a wonder to behold.
A Necessity for Fans...But Beware the Weaknesses
The Best Damn Thing feels bloated with too many minor screeds against a girlfriend who's "so whatever," a guy who's a "waste of time," and gloating about "not having to try" in a relationship. The only quality track here from Lavigne's collaborations with Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald is the hit single "Keep Holding On" that manages to stir up true emotion in its musical sweep.
Serious fans of Avril Lavigne will definitely want this collection. The good songs are frequently great such as the emotional pause in life described in the ballad "Innocence," produced by Green Day producer Rob Cavallo. However, those who have found it difficult to warm up to Lavigne will find little here to change their mind.
Top Tracks on The Best Damn Thing
- The Best Damn Thing
- When You're Gone
- Everything Back But You
- Keep Holding On
Next Step...Growing Up
Eventually, as an artist, Avril Lavigne will have to grow up and become an adult. The Best Damn Thing often sounds like she's still a teenager, and a wickedly bratty one at that. Later this year Lavigne will turn 23, and the teen act will only go so far. Her next album may be one of the most interesting of her career. For now, tune into the hottest songs here and imagine what she and Butch Walker could do together filling an entire album.