The Bottom Line
In predictable fashion, Avril Lavigne follows an uptempo hit with a big power ballad. However, the tone here is different from "Keep Holding On," her moderate hit early in the year from the soundtrack to Eragon. Here the words are classic yearning love song instead of the more general inspirational tone of the earlier hit. Producer Butch Walker puts together a classic pop arrangement that gives the words maximum emotional impact.
Watch the "When You're Gone" video
- Big ballad sound
- Heartfelt, classic love song lyrics
- Strong melody
- Somewhat weak vocals
- Barely avoiding cliche
- Classic power ballad arrangement centered on keyboards and strummed guitar
- Singalong chorus
- Words of emotionally painful separation
Guide Review - Avril Lavigne - When You're Gone
Avril Lavigne's biggest hit singles are anything but subtle. "When You're Gone" is a big, yearning pop ballad pulling out all the stops on its words of the pain of separation from a loved one. A moody synth chord drops into a keyboard figure followed by downbeat strummed guitar accompanying Avril's opening vocals. The musical scene is set for an emotionally cathartic singalong.
Butch Walker is the co-songwriter and producer of "When You're Gone." His creative relationship with Avril Lavigne is an increasingly symbiotic one. She seems to tone down some of his tendencies toward glam theatricality while he brings a rich knowledge of pop and rock convention that often gives their work together the feel of an instant classic. Walker also produced Lavigne's recent contribution of a version of "Imagine" to the John Lennon tribute Instant Karma.
Avril Lavigne's vocals are a bit of an acquired taste. Some listeners could consider "When You're Gone" a bit thin and, as in the words of Simon Cowell, shrieky. However, she turns the weakness into a strength because it provides a connection with her core fan base of teenage girls. Even though she is 23, her vocals still contain a teenage resonance.
Don't miss the accompanying video for "When You're Gone." With 3 stories told, there is bound to be one that touches you.