The Best Damn Thing
As the 'rock' answer to the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne has become a record company's dream, scoring chart-topping success since bursting onto the scene in 2002. With angst-ridden pop anthems appealing to both 'emo' kids and the mainstream, her third album has been eagerly anticipated.
Having recently married Sum 41's Deryck Whibley, it would seem fair to assume that the unhappiness apparent in Lavigne's previous material would no longer be as relevant. Anyone who has heard lead singer and record opener "Girlfriend" can testify to this, an infectious if annoying slice of pure pop with cheerleader tones to it. This is also apparent on title track "The Best Damn Thing", which is nearly as embarrassing as "I Don't Have To Try". On both songs Lavigne attempts to rap, with about as much success as Robbie Williams' cringe-worthy efforts. The enlisting of Travis Barker for drumming duties on "I Can Do Better" and "Runaway" does at least provide a touch of class, the latter featuring a decent chorus which should go down well at live shows.
Lavigne has said of this album that she wanted more upbeat tracks, as those were the ones she enjoyed playing more on tour. While this may be the case, it is actually two ballads that prove to be the stand-out moments. "When You're Gone" begins with a gentle acoustic-piano combination before unleashing a big chorus with a very sincere vocal performance. While the grand string section makes it seem very formulaic, at least it makes for good listening. Taking a more soulful direction, "Innocence" is solely piano-led and finds Lavinge in a very positive mood, but this couplet are far from enough to save what is a mediocre record. While you cannot begrudge her happiness, it has unfortunately had a detrimental effect on her music.