ALBUM REVIEW: Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water

I’m never going to be ashamed to admit that Avril Lavigne’s ‘Let Go’ was the first album I ever purchased. I mean, that record was undeniably brilliant and boasted such honest lyrics and slick production that introduced her as the worlds anti-popstar. From there ‘Under My Skin’ got darker before she switched it all up and went down the pop route for ‘The Best Damn Thing’. After the massive commercial success of that record things went down hill for Lavigne as she dived heavier into piano pop and saw her evolve into a whole new artist. Her rock roots seemed to be forgotten and everything turned into a pop formula which was heavily disappointing. After battling with Lyme disease, the Canadian singer-songwriter has returned to music after a five year hiatus with the ballad heavy record ‘Head Above Water’. The sixth studio album is her safest record yet. She comfortably sits in piano-pop territory throughout the whole duration with only one pop-rock infused track which is a cringe-worthy moment. While the lyrics will make you want to throw your head against a wall, ’Dumb Blonde’ featuring Nicki Minaj is also frustratingly the catchiest track. The production is funky and will have you wanting to dance repeatedly. From there the rest of the album is either snooze central or strong ballads like the cinematic title track. Following in its footsteps is the jazz inspired ‘Tell Me It’s Over’ and the empowering ballad ‘It Was In Me’. Finding her voice to find the answers she constantly seeks, she reflects on her self worth and claims her independence. “Now let me feel high when I’m sober. Let me feel young when I’m older. Let me feel proud when it’s over”. It has a very empowering sentiment that carries through the whole album because the recurring theme surrounds her finding her voice again after her battle with Lymes. But that’s where she loses listeners interests because during the soaring ballads like ‘I Fell In Love With The Devil’, ‘Birdie’, ‘Crush’ and ‘Goddess’ she should’ve captivated you with her strong vocals but instead you’re just focusing on the awkward and forced lyrics. And then she tries to turn up the pop ratio with ‘Bigger Wow’ and ‘Souvenir’, but let’s just pretend they don’t exist. I really wanted to love this comeback album and celebrate her strengths but instead all I want to do is listen to ‘Let Go’ again on repeat and think of the good old days.