So much for the serious side of Avril Lavigne. Whether it is because she is now in her early twenties and a married woman or because she did like the way her last album resonated with her audience, the brat is back big time in her third album, "The Best Damn Thing." I would be in the camp that thought Avril Lavigne's second album, "Under My Skin," was a significant step up from her debut effort "Let Go." Fans who preferred the first album and thought "He Wasn't" was the best offering the second time around, will find "The Best Dam Thing" a return to her roots as an appealing brat (and proud of it). Those who would point to "My Happy Ending" as the best song on the sophomore effort will find this a mixed bag and contemplate the shift in Avril's songwriting partners from the likes of Chantal Kreviazuk to Lukasz "Doctor Luke" Gottwald (tracks 1-3, 9, 12), Evan Taubenfeld (tracks 7-8, 10-11), and Butch Butch Walker (tracks 4-6). Of course, Walker co-wrote "My Happy Ending" with Lavigne and their "When You're Gone" is the song here that most sounds like it belongs on "Under My Skin," along with "Keep Holding On," which came out last year as part of the "Eragon" soundtrack and seems a bit out of place since the message of its title applies equally well to fighting dragon slayers and enduring teenage heartbreak.
The dialectical tension between the bratty Avril and the serious Avril are captured on the first two tracks. In "Girlfriend" affirms that she is the "motherf___king princess" and is promising that she "can do it better," while on "I Can Do Better" the chorus is all about the angry aftermath as she yells out: "I hate you now, so go away from me/You're gone, so long/I can do better, I can do better." I like the energy of the latter song better, not to mention the rhetorical stance of the chorus. But then I am the father of two daughters and if the sentiments of Lavigne's "Don't Tell Me" could be programmed into the brain of every teenage girl in the country I would feel a lot better. However, I have no doubt those teenage girls are more drawn to such thoughts as "I just wanna scream and lose control/Throw my hands up, and let it go" ("Runaway") and "Waking up I see that everything is ok/The first time in my life and now its so great/Slowing down I look around an i am so amazed/I think about the little things that make life great/I wouldn't change a thing about it/This is the best feeling" ("Innocence").
But more often that not some guy comes along and messes everything up, which is why she ends up singing: "I hate you why are guys so lame/Everything I gave you/I want everything back but you" ("Everything Back But You"). The opening track matches up with the title song, which also mixes it what I want to call her "cheerleader rap," with its bratty declarations (e.g., "I hate it when a guy doesn't get the tab/And I have to pull my money out and that looks bad"). But then we get to the chorus and its infectious pop hook and the other side of her musical appeal. You will also find that the line of attack against certain types of women begun back with "Sk8ter Boi" continues here with not only "Girlfriend" (duh) but also "One Of Those Girls," which reminds us that Avril has drawn not only a vertical but a horizontal axis in the war of sexes. Whether you call it being empowered or being a brat, that overarching attitude is what ultimately connects all of these songs, summed up in the declaration "I'm the one I'm the one who wears the pants" ("I Don't Have to Try"). The bottom line would be that for me "The Best Damn Thing" is not on the same level as "Under My Skin," but I still find it worth listening to and if it takes her an album or two to grow into that serious side she revealed last time then I am willing to wait.
You are probably aware that "The Best Damn Thing" is available in both an explicit and a "clean" version. The four explicit tracks are "Girlfriend" (the aforementioned "mf" princess," "I Can Do Better" ("sick of this s__t"), "Everything Back But You" ("bitch, slut"), and "I Don't Have to Try" ("get ready motherf--ker 'cause I'm on the scene"). On the "clean" version of the album with the first two you basically have the __ parts inserted in the song, the third replaces the derogatory words with "hey, hey!" and the last one has the "get ready" repeated as a replacement, and this is how civilization is saved. The irony is that musically the clean versions end up sounding a bit better, because in terms of rhetorical implications it really strikes me that Avril is drawing a line of demarcation. If you are still on the other side of the great sexual divide and "Don't Tell Me" sums up your life, then you want the clean version. If you have crossed over and been seriously burned in a relationship (which almost always seems to be the case), then increasing the intensity of your vocabulary to describe the male of the species will sound like a good idea. All things considered, Avril's use of profanity indicates her target audience remains the legions of teenager wannabe brats, who will be thrilled by the dirty words even if they are thrown out inartistically. I would still say that on balance the attitude of these songs will outweigh the outbursts of obscenity for those fans.
Avril Lavigne proved, with her debut LET GO, that she had what it took not only to be a pop star, but to be a real musical artist. Her follow-up, UNDER MY SKIN, had her delving into deeper, darker material, putting her in a more alternative-minded suit.
Apparently, she had enough of that. THE BEST DAMN THING is spunky, perky, happy-go-lucky sing-a-long that, definitely, is catchy as hell, but isn't near as good as what Lavigne can do. "Girlfriend" kicks off the album and sets the mood; several of the tracks sound like knock-offs of this tune (including the title track, on which she boldly declares "I'm the best damn thing that your eyes have ever seen"). Ironically, with a couple exceptions, Lavigne sounds at her best when she's in this spunky mood (the exceptions being the powerful ballads "When You're Gone" and "Keep Holding On").
Basically, this is an immature album from an artist we know is capable of mature material. She hints at it here and there ("Damn that boy can make me cry," she sings in "Contagious;" in the next verse, "Damn that boy can make me smile"). But basically, THE BEST DAMN THING is THE BEST DANCE THING, because that's what it'll make you want to do--dance. Lavigne's got a good voice on her, and she knows how to write a well-crafted song; hopefully, her next album will show her branching out. This album makes her out to be the "pop princess" persona she so adamantly defied earlier in her career.
on April 17, 2007
I purchased The Best Damn Thing explicit/DVD deluxe, and all I have to say is that she has come a long way since Under My Skin three years ago! This album combines the perfect blend of classic punk-rock Avril with enough ballads to keep those satisfied who prefer the slower, emotional side of Lavigne! The best part of this particular edition is that the DVD (almost an hour long) shows all kinds of scenes with Avril recording and writing for this CD. Listen to it again after watching this, and you will get a better understanding of what her songs mean to her! So buy The Best Damn Thing right now, and discover the new, Limoncello drinking Avril Lavigne!!!
on April 17, 2007
"Hey!" - the word of choice on this semi-concept album for Avril. Too many 'reviewers' here on Amazon are poo-pooing "The Best Damn Thing" without, perhaps, seeing the big picture. Avril is doing what a musical artist does and is their prerogative...reflect the times. She looks amazing and is her own person. People who are citing Britney as the epitome of current pop beauty are obviously outdated themselves since Brit's last real pop moment was years ago. I think that Avril let go just a tad bit of the slightly more acoustic/folky aspect of some of her tunes which were definitely prominent on her first album, "Let Go." The song "Sk8er Boi" stood out as a faster driving number on that first album, and I personally wished there were a ton more songs on that album with such speedy energy. Then came "Under My Skin" and she did speed it up again with "He Wasn't" but I still wanted more songs like those two.
Now comes "The Best Damn Thing" and it is nothing if but chock full of speedy tunes. Finally! Yay for me and those who like "Sk8r Boi." Avril herself says right on her liner notes (for those who actually buy CD's or at least download the complete album with the booklet from iTunes) "I hope you play this in your car, sing it in the shower, dance to it with your friends, and rock out to it at my concert." Well put. No problem, will do, Avril. She obviously had fun making this album and perhaps that's the view with which one should listen to it. Have a summer of fun. I plan on blasting this in my mom's convertible every chance I get.
So, if you liked Avril's earlier punky fast songs more than the slower ones, this is an album gift wrapped for you from her. Yeah the theme is a lot of "Hey! Hey!" and boy stuff, but that's what makes you want to chant and sing along at the top of your lungs and jump around like you were electrified. If you preferred her slower, more 'moody' songs, you can always revert to "Let Go" and "Under My Skin." However, if you need a soundtrack to the summer of fun - get this today.
Oh, and the first time you hear her say "I wear the pants!!" you will laugh and go...wow.
Well, the first single, "Girlfriend," should give you a clue. For those of us who thought her last album, 'Under My Skin,' was a great step forward (from a decent debut album, 'Let Go') will lament this major step back. Apparently Avril really wants us to believe that she's punk; unfortunately this means immature cheerleading rants (think Gwen Stefani at her most annoying) with the opening track and repeated in nearly identical fashion in a couple other songs on the album, with obvious borrowings from Toni Basil's eighties hit, "Mickey" ("Hey, Mickey, you're so fine,..."). The rest of the album doesn't fair much better (with a few exceptions, like "Innocent"). Take the lyrics from "Hot" as a case in point:
"You make me so hot
Make me wanna drop
It's so ridiculous
I can barely stop
I can hardly breathe
You make me wanna scream
You're so fabulous
You're so good to me baby, baby"
Sorry, this is crap. The music isn't much more creative. There's a general banality running throughout the album that simply wasn't found on her last album, 'Under My Skin.' And I think it's interesting to note that 'Under My Skin' was co-written with Chantal Kreviazuk, a legitimate singer-songwriter, and co-produced by Chantel's husband, Raine Maida (of the brilliant rock band, Our Lady Peace) among others. The new album, however, was co-produced by Luke Gottwald (aka Dr. Luke) with such credits as Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Sovereign, Missy Elliott, Pink, Mos Def, The Backstreet Boys, Daughtry, and Paris Hilton. Uhhhh, no thanks.
I know this has been a harsh review, but I do this in hopes that the next album will be much improved. Avril is still young with a long career ahead of her.
on April 17, 2007
Yo, what it is, my righteous punkerz? I just finished, like, totally watching TRL today and I found out about the new album by the best punk rock artist ever, Avril Lavigne! It's called The Best Damn Thing because, like, having the work "damn" in your title is, like, so PUNK RAWK!!!!! It's good to see her fighting the good fight with other anti-authority anarchists like Simple Plan, Plain White T's, Fall Out Boy and Good Charlotte to keep hardcore alive! The punk rock nation flips the bird and spits in the face of "The Man" anywhere and everywhere, because we're PUNK RAWK!!!!! We're rebellious and extreme because we knock over counters at grocery stores and push old people around because it's fun! I hope they continue to kick sand in the faces of these moronic faux-punk bands like Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, The Exploited, UK Subs, TSOL and Bad Religion - TRL doesn't play them because they're nothing but a bunch of dumb boy bands!
I really love the song "Girlfriend" because everything about the song makes me want to kick the person next to me in the face and mosh all day and night! I love lyrics like "She's like 'so whatever' / And you can do so much better / I think we should get together now / And that's what everyone's talkin' about" because they're so deep and profound and, like, speak to my inner soul and stuff. My mother loves the song "Keep Holding On" which is awesome - I never knew my mom was punk rock ... even more punk rock is that she stole the chorus from a 30 Seconds To Mars song, because stealing is like so uber-punk rock! All the other songs are about Avril loving and hating boys, which we all know have been the primary components of punk rock since 1984, when Avril was born. That's right, punks and punkettes - Avril Lavigne invented punk rock as soon as she came into this world! She put on a striped tie and Chuck Taylors and the first word out of her mouth was "Punk" - thus it was born! How cool is that? Long live Avril Lavigne and REAL punk rock forever!
Ah, who am I kidding? Not only was typing like that difficult, but I think I lost a few brain cells in the process. Avril Lavigne's "hardcore punk muzik" will have the same effect on any willing listener. I pretty much mentioned everything wrong with it in the guise of high praise in the last paragraph - overproduced pop music masquerading as punk, bad singing, irritating hooks, and lyrics so bad and juvenile they make "My Humps" look like a work of genius. If that sounds like a ringing endorsement to you, feel free to jump in, but don't say I didn't warn you. I know that both Avril Lavigne's previous albums are Multi-Platinum so it appears that people actually enjoy shallow fluff - I guess ignorance really is bliss.
Congratulations, America - thanks to you, Avril Lavigne and her husband, Deryck Whibley of bubblegum pseudo-punk band Sum 41, have just moved into a $9 million mansion. Meanwhile, there are millions of people homeless and starving around the world. It's good to see that we are supporting people that have their priorities straight - forget about those who are less fortunate, it's more important to live it up, drink champagne and eat caviar instead! Because we all know just how "punk rock" it is to put material possessions over everything else in life. Right on, Avril and Deryck - rock on with your bad selves!
In summary: Just when you think Avril Lavigne's music had hit rock bottom, she puts out The Best Damn Thing and surprises us once again with her utter ineptitude. You people who still think that you're listening to punk rock should take a look at the "I'm so cute" cover photo, the lyrics of the songs (listen everybody - she's "precious" AND a "princess"!) and the choreographed dancing in the video - then you should realize that she's no different from Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Ashley Tisdale and all the other pop tarts. I highly recommend looking away from the Top 40, MTV and other outlets controlled by huge media conglomerates - they're just looking to push what they can sell to the lowest common denominator. I'm struggling to find even one good thing to say about this album, but I just can't. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, check out anything else instead - maybe Joan Jett & The Blackhearts or the new Nine Inch Nails album for starters.
on April 17, 2007
I have her 2 previous releases, and I like them both very much. Her 3rd album is one of those "same but different" type of deals. I say this in a very positive way. If you enjoy her music in the past, I think you'll be pleased with this. I read a review and saw someone state Target and walmart only carry the edited version. This is not true in Targets case. I think one of the reasons I enjoy Avril's tunes are the use of the electric guitar , especially in the chorus of many tunes. Puts me in mind a little of Joan Jett. A few of the tracks made me think of Blink 182. And there was one track (sorry, typing from memory and don't remember name), where I swear I picked up a slight guitar sound from an 80's track. I always enjoyed the more rocker type female artists of the 80's (I'm 33, I know, kind of weird), and Avril kind of takes me back, her stuff is catchy, it rocks pretty good, and for the most part light listening. I haven't watched the dvd yet, but the cd is great. I've listened to it str8 through twice, and it's all good. There is one line that is laugh out loud bad though. She says at the end of a verse "I'm the one that wears the pants", then again loudly "I"M THE ONE THAT WEARS THE PANTS!", the way she emphasizes pants is hysterical. Too bad I doubt she intended it that way. I think any Avril fan should go snag a copy, and I think this album will also create new fans. Thanks for taking the time to read my review. P.S. I hate to be the 1st one not to give it 5 stars, but the "Pants" line has to drop it down one, lol. Recording that in the studio, she should've known that was WAY corny!
on April 20, 2007
Avril Lavigne's back and better then ever. One has to keep in mind that she has a very independent but distinct and original pop rock sound. Her lyrics are still based around a lot of relationship and dating issues, but she delivers her words like no other rock star out there. Teaming up with the guitarist and drummer from Sum 41 was the best thing Lavigne could have done to aide in her evolution. Their take on rock and pop made this record what it is; an in your face pop rocker album that gets one moving to the beat. Avril's musicality is still fairly simple in the means of progressions, harmonies, and melodies. But her delivery and simplicity is what makes the record so catchy. She knows how to use accidentals and dynamics masterfully for the style she has stuck with over the years, and this album shows it. All that's really missing are killer guitar solos and licks, but I'm sure Avril will get there someday. The record's first single "Keep Holding On" not only shows her potential in that regard, but it was also the soundtrack theme for the 2006 fantasy film: Eragon. Avril you rock!
Stand Out Tracks:
"I Can Do Better"
"I Don't Have To Try"
"Keep Holding On"
Making of the album
on May 28, 2007
After the rather well- done album Under my Skin, I was hoping what I would continue to hear a more older and experienced Avril. Then I heard the terribly immature and overall lame single Girlfriend and just could not believe it. Where did her mind go- back to high school? I expect every artist to mature as time goes on and yet it seems although she goes on and on about how she has 'grown up' this album makes her sounds like she is 16; it's like she has seriously taken a step back age- wise.
What is there to really say about it? It is nothing but a loud mess of an album with really lousy or just cliche kind of lyrics you expect on a debut album possibly but not on the third damn album. The only thing this album proves is that Avril refuses to grow up. I can't find one real good song on here I can actually listen to all the way through without cringing or getting so annoyed with.
Avril will probably pick up plenty more young teens sure with this album since it does appeal to that age group- and her old fans nonetheless will buy it due to years of love for her past, and much better, albums- so this album will bring success for her sure. But the older fans who listen to the album, and actually claim that this one surpasses the first two albums, I'm sure will be in the minority. Some like I even will find it complete trash, wondering what the hell happened to Avril's direction between this album and Under My Skin, an album that showed some promise of further growth.
I am very disappointed overall the way Avril went with her music and I just hate this album. I am just so glad I decided to borrow this album from a friend before even considering buying it.
on December 7, 2007
Finally released after months of anticipation, this awesome special edition of Avril Lavigne's The Best Damn Thing is notable for the following:
- The CD/DVD jewel case is enclosed in a cardboard package measuring 10.25" x 10.25" and includes a 20" x 30" folded poster.
- The main 12 tracks are from the censored album version.
- The beautiful ballad "I Will Be" is finally on CD, along with the other incredible single "Alone". These two fantastic songs should have been on the original album version from day one!
- "I Can Do Better" (acoustic bonus track) is the only applicable audio track that is _not_ censored.
- The bonus NTSC DVD includes the four song Orange Lounge performance from summer 2007, in gorgeous 16 x 9 widescreen compatible format. "Girlfriend" is _not_ censored.
- The four music videos are not 16 x 9 widescreen compatible, although "When You're Gone" and "Girlfriend" with Lil Mama should have been. The original "Girlfriend" and "Hot" were not shot (or released) in 16 x 9, so that doesn't apply for those two.
All in all, this is a terrific collector's item for any Avril fan!!!