Top critical review
on November 29, 2012
My biggest issue with Avril is that she has basically become lazy. I don't know if she's running out of ideas or talent or both, but with each release she seems to regurgitate songs she's already made big and she isn't expanding any of her horizons. `Goodbye Lullaby' is practically `Under My Skin' with marginally different lyrics. She has some really good tracks here, and then she has a slew of mediocre tracks that take of large segments of the album.
I basically listen to tracks 1-4 and then skip to track 12.
`What the Hell' is fun, but nothing new. `Push' is hushed and moderately edgy. `Wish You Were Here' is one of the best tracks on the album with the perfect use of a catchy chorus in a thoughtful ballad, but the truth of the matter is that this song sounds like a hybrid of `Tomorrow' or any of her other ballads; the same generic rhythm. Still, I love the song. My favorite track is probably `Stop Standing There'. It balances the ballad aspects with the pop overtones with a fresh effect.
Then the album falls off a bit.
`Smile' is flirty but conceptually dumb and lazy. It became apparent at this track that this album was going to blur into itself after a while. There really is no definition in these songs. They are just marginally differing variations of the track that came before it (or two songs before it). Still, the chorus is catchy (aren't they all?) but that verse structure is unfortunate. `I Love You' is just stupid. This is the definition of lazy. The lyrics are ridiculous, that chorus, so skeletal and pre-teenish. `Everybody Hurts' carries the torch into yet another uninspired `boo-hoo my life is so hard' song that has no relevance because it doesn't say anything at all. It also suffers from sounding like an early 90's track that was rejected off a Four Non Blondes album or something.
A little redemption is found in `Not Enough' that has some dramatics in the right places to give it something special.
It's short lived, since the next song is `4 Real', which is just bland for bland's sake. It goes nowhere and does nothing with nothing. The hate that `I'm for real' line, which is so dated. `Darlin' is stripped down, which should have been a nice change of pace, but it comes across boring. There just isn't anything special about half of this album. Like I said, they sound like the song that came before it. No effort was made to make these songs unique or worth listening to even.
I really love `Remember When', which is emotional and heartfelt and the chorus is spectacularly constructed. Like I said, I skip to track 12 (with a brief stop at track 9).
`Goodbye' tries something a little different actually, giving it a fairytale like quality and it somewhat works. Not entirely (her vocals come off strained in parts) but the intention was right and I respect her finally trying something different (it doesn't sound like anything else on the album). It was a nice way to end the album, even if I only find it marginally effective. The album doesn't really end there though; for some versions have the extended cut of `Alice' from Tim Burton's miserable `Alice in Wonderland'. I've always defended Avril, for I feel like she has a great voice, and she demonstrates that here. Sadly, the song is a forced piece of screaming that never ends. So, while she shows off her vocal range, she doesn't show any restraint and by the end I wanted to shove a sock in her mouth.
So, sadly, this album is a mess. It just doesn't work. There was a time when I really loved Avril, but it is apparent that she is losing touch with what makes you a relevant artist; change. If you want to be considered a true artist you have to find that balance of `being yourself' and `adapting to the change in the times'. Avril is still stuck in late 90's/early 00's view of alternative punk and she hasn't figured out how to make her sound more modern.
Better luck next time.