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The Best Damn Thing

Avril Lavigne

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Album Review

Well, that awkward goth phase didn't last long! With all the impatience of an ADD-riddled teen rebel, Avril Lavigne ditched the gloomy façade of her sophomore Under My Skin and dove back into the well-scrubbed mosh pit for her third album, The Best Damn Thing. Frankly, the change in pace comes as a bit of a relief. The serious Avril on Under My Skin never felt genuine — the shift from the exuberance of "Sk8er Boi" to the meandering ruminations of "Don't Tell Me" and "My Happy Ending" seemed sudden and forced, a misguided attempt to prove that Lavigne was a serious songwriter — so as soon as The Best Damn Thing opens with the bright bubblegum blast of "Girlfriend" and its cheerleader chant, everything within Avril's world seems right again. If anything, this third album feels even more adolescent than her aggressively catchy-n-shallow debut, Let Go, perhaps because this is an album where Avril is allowed to run wild. She can curse, spit, and strut to her heart's content, she can taunt her rivals and steal their boyfriends, then bitch out the boy for not understanding her once he belongs to her. She impatiently rushes through the power ballads — there are only three of them, all impeccable melodic anthems designed to keep the crossover adult audience Let Go won, all better than their equivalents on Under My Skin — because she can't wait to get back and raise hell like the spoiled brat that she's thrilled to be. Avril swears like she's just discovered profanity, cheerfully spitting out four-letter words (and their compounds) with glee, but everything she does here she does with unrestrained glee. She truly believes she's the best damn thing you've ever seen, she knows it's all about her — or, as she shouts on "I Don't Have to Try," "I wear the pants!" — and if you don't agree, she knows you're wrong and you can go to hell (actually, she'd probably say something a lot stronger).

This sense of entitlement will surely rankle anybody who's just a little bit older than Avril's 22 years, who will also find that the perennial Lavigne complaint holds: she ain't no punk, she's a brat that any grizzled old punk will want to beat with a baseball bat. (How do you know if you're one of the old guys? If you recognize the chorus of "Girlfriend" as a total lift from the Rubinoos' "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," you're an old guy, even if you're 20.) But The Best Damn Thing wasn't made for them, nor was it made with any sense (or even regard) for the past: it was made to exist totally in the moment, in a time when a moment speeds by faster than light. And, frankly, that's what's good about The Best Damn Thing: it's as exuberant, irreverent, and exciting as any other bubblegum pop, defiantly silly and shallow, but also deliriously hooky. If Lavigne didn't have the hooks — if neither "Girlfriend" nor the title track weren't driven by cheerleader chants, if "Everything Back But You" didn't snarl like prime Green Day, if "I Can Do Better" didn't soar on its chorus — her snotty attitude would be unbearable, but these are terrific, addictive pop songs that are harder and tougher yet feel fresher and lighter than her big hits from Let Go. True, this is far from deep, but Under My Skin proved that a deep Avril is a dull Avril. The Best Damn Thing, in contrast, builds on every one of her bratty strengths, which makes for ridiculously catchy pop — the kind of music that provides a soundtrack for teens and guilty pleasures for everyone else. [The Best Damn Thing is available in a deluxe edition containing a bonus CD. The non-deluxe edition is a clean version of the album without the numerous profanities.]

Customer Reviews

Listen Avril Fans, This is the truth!

I was a bit cautious getting this album after Girlfriend came out and when I saw her SNL performance of I Can Do Better(along with back up dancers/singers) made me wonder more. But after listening to the album via stream/canada radio, its decent. As an Avril fan it falls inbetween the first and second album(or maybe a demo album) as far as lyrics and composition. I think she lost a lot of her personal, emotional and darker side (from her second album) when she left Arista Records. This seems to be Sony BMGs way of making her more bubble gum pop, ala Gwen Stefani and P!nk, making her more of a performer/entertainer vs a song writer. Dr. Luke (main producer) and her hubbie (Deryck Whibley)really killed her punk / skater image and made her into a marketing barbie doll which will kill her band wangon fan base and make her true fans wonder if she signed to Sony for the money vs being herself, like her first two albums. The lost of her original band hurt her and this album as us fans will truely recognize the big difference in originality, cohesiveness and closeness she had with her first band members. If you saw the SNL performance she seemed to be ahead of the band at times and had to slow down so they could catch up, the band did the album song and it looked like Avril wanted to do a live performance ( different tempo, beat; just so she could rock out to it) but the performance seemed stiff and drawn out. Get the album and support her, and it will like it but it probably wont be in your normal iPod playlist.

Fun, Flirty, Fabulous: The Best Damn Thing

Avril's third disc is the singer's largest leap to the punk/pop sound thus far. It is a hard-grinding, vocals-soaring, hooks-so-catchy-it-hurts, kind of an album. She has finally let her hair down in many ways. Her uptempo rockers hit harder and with more abandon while the ballads display even more insight and vulnerability than we have received from her past musical excursions. TBDT acts as a smarter, wiser "Let Go" while taking the edge of "Under My Skin", yet subtracting the depressing angst. Standouts include: "I Can Do Better," "Runaway," "When You're Gone" BEST song?: "Hot" is infectious--and Avril finally exudes the sex appeal that she has always teased. While the new punk-girly chants (i.e. "Girlfriend," "I Don't Have to Try," "I Can Do Better") take an old-school Avril fan off guard, one learns to really love it and enjoy the unabashed joy of it. So stop turning your noses at Avril's youthful, energy charged, disc and just soak it in and have some fun. It could be the best damn thing for you. BTW, pre-order only song "I will be" more than deserved to make the album's final cut.

hillary duff soundtrack anyone?

Wow. Well, I wasn't expecting much since Avril's last album was the epitome of pop fluff that tweens thrive upon, but this proved me wrong. I guess getting married has caused her to sell out not only her original image of punk rocker, but her sound as well. Her lyrics are garbage, and the songs off this new album will most likely appear in the next available PG movie starring one of the uberly sweet pop princesses (a la hillary duff). But then again her new single sounds like something produced by the Mickey Mouse club having lyrics that are not only taunting but are most likely to get stuck in your head. "Hey, hey, Deryck, Deryck, I don't like your girlfriend".


Born: September 27, 1984 in Belleville, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Avril Lavigne first appeared in summer 2002, touting an addictive debut single (the spunky pop/rock gem "Complicated") and a skatepunk image that purposely clashed with the polished glamour of mainstream pop. Lavigne, who was 17 at the time, quickly rose to teen idol status, selling several million copies of her debut album, Let Go (the best-selling album by a female artist in 2002), while inspiring a genuine fashion craze with her penchant for tank tops and neckties. As the decade progressed, so...
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The Best Damn Thing, Avril Lavigne
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