on August 2, 2004
In my review for Avril's first album, I wrote, "This is the best CD I've ever listened to in my life. Avril is *almost* your average 17-year-old punk. The only difference? Her amazing talent." My opinion changed a bit after seeing her live. She only played guitar on 2 or 3 songs, and her voice must've been altered a lot on the CD, because it didn't sound that good in concert.
However, I've bought "Under My Skin" and I have to admit that Avril's done it again--she's convinced me that she's awesome. Unlike with her first album, she wrote or co-wrote all of the songs. They're more angry, and they rock harder than the ones on the first album; those songs are more upbeat and pop-ish. Even though she only plays guitar on one song, whoever's doing it does a pretty good job. Also, Ben Moody, formerly from Evanescence, plays guitar on "Nobody's Home", which I thought was pretty cool.
It's hard for me to pick which songs I like the best, because they are all so good. I think anyone can relate to the lyrics on this one. Most of them are about a break-up with a guy. For the people who are complaining about that, like "Your Doom 'Beware' ", I think writing about a breakup is a good way of taking out bad feelings about it. I don't see why it's so bad that most of her songs are probably about the same guy. It's not boring to me at all. Also, if you don't like her, why did you spend money on the album? The words might be simple because she's still young and hasn't had a lot of experience writing lyrics. It's idiotic how people don't understand that musicians are still human.
Also, she might sound like Michelle Branch, Evanescence, or a female version of Dashboard Confessional, but I don't think any band or artist is going to not sound like another band or artist. Pick any band--I'm sure there's another one that sounds a least a little bit like it.
I think anyone who likes music will like this album, unless they are really against angry or heartfelt songs.
Following up a smash hit debut album is possibly harder than getting that first magical recording contract in the first place - the artist oftentimes feels he/she must outdo himself/herself, and fans oftentimes resist any deviation from what has come before. Many young artists crash and burn, never to be heard from again. Avril Lavigne is not among those, and with this really quite incredible sophomore release she cements her place in the present and future of the music industry. While there are echoes of Let Go to be found here, I found this to be a surprisingly different album from its predecessor - the artist has grown as a person, a musician, and a song writer, and the expanding life experiences of this remarkably talented teenager have infused her music with a palpable sense of something quite real and deep that speaks volumes to the listener.
I have been listening to this album constantly since it came out (and I might mention Avril Lavigne is one of the few artists whose new album I simply had to purchase as soon as it was released), and I can't find a bad song on here. Not only is this a five-star album, it is a collection of twelve five-star songs, in my opinion. I have a sentimental attachment to many of the songs from Let Go, but as a whole this new album is a much more impressive offering. Avril co-wrote each of these songs, and as far as I'm concerned, the doubts some voice about her song-writing abilities are quite misplaced. The first single, Don't Tell Me, is a great song and in some ways it forms a natural bridge from the first album to the second, but it is far from the best song on the album. Take Me Away starts Under My Skin off with a bang; there's no gradual immersion into this new album, as Avril reaches out and yanks you by the collar from the very start. Then comes Together, which I love; teen angst fuels the fire of this song, and the manner in which Avril delivers the chorus of this song really appeals to me. He Wasn't is a fantastic song of independence and self-worth; its up-tempo delivery has a Green Day feel to it, and the song itself is all about not settling for anything less than the best.
How Does It Feel is the only track that didn't win me over immediately, and at first I wasn't sure there was really much to this song; over time, though, I have come to appreciate and love its comparatively simple style and delivery. In this song as well as the album's final track, Avril seems to step away from the bold and brash persona she carries so well to reveal a little bit of her soul. My Happy Ending has hit single written all over it; this song of dreams unfulfilled sweeps a vast panorama of the singer's soul, as she moves back and forth between regret at what has been lost and inspiring defiance at the wrong that has been done. This theme is reinforced by Nobody's Home, the subject of which lacks such inner strength, and Fall to Pieces sort of falls under the same broad theme. I think Forgotten might be my favorite song on the album, as it gives us Avril at her most fiery and determined - when she says she won't be forgotten again, she really means it.
If you're looking for strong shades of Let Go, I think you'll want to direct your attention to Who Knows and Freak Out; these are tracks of great energy and pace, speaking ably to Avril's amazing mesh of inner strength, confidence, and vulnerability. Slipped Away closes the album out quite impressively. Dedicated to the memory of Avril's grandfather, Slipped Away is a moving tribute to a loved one who has been lost.
And there you have it: twelve great songs on one very impressive album. Let no one doubt that Avril Lavigne will be a forceful and innovative force in music for some time to come.
When we picked up "Under My Skin" it was one of several albums that went into the CD player in the car and when I did a milk run and was first listening to "Forgotten" I thought I was listening to the new Alanis Morissette album. But after "Let Go" this second album by Avril Lavigne is certainly a step in a better, arguably more mature, direction. On "Let Go" Lavigne worked with producer/songwriters Clif Magness and the Matrix, who polished up her melodic, edgy sound. Her singles "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" both went top 10 and we figured we had Lavigne pegged as another female teenager singer-songwriter with pop sensibilities and shallow lyrics.
But for "Under My Skin" there are two key changes. The producer is now Don Gilmore (engineer on Pearl Jam's "Ten" and producer of several Linkin Park albums) and fellow Canadian Chantal Kreviazuk (who I recognize from "Time" on the "Uptown Girl" soundtrack) has a hand in writing half of the dozen tracks and does piano, keyboards, and string arrangements as well. Do Gilmore and Kreviazuk get the credit for making "Under My Skin" a better album or does Lavigne actually get most of the credit? Damned if I call tell, but somebody did some serious upgrading of the lyrics.
Lavigne is writing songs about the down side of teenage boys, which is an expansive subject matter to contemplate. After all, teenage boys are the modern equivalent of the giant dinosaurs of the past that needed a second brain at the other end to help them along. When dealing with them the fundamental rule is to remember that whenever the other brain is engaged, do not believe anything that is being said. As she points out in "Forgotten," it is not like they are listening to you:
Have you forgotten
Everything that I wanted
Do you forget it now
You never got It
Do you get it now
If there is an obvious anthem on this album it would have to be "Don't Tell Me," where she finds these boys wanting because of what they want and have the gall to expect:
Guess it wasn't enough to take up some of my love
Guys are so hard to trust
Did I not tell you that I'm not like that girl?
The one who gives it all away
Did you think that I was gonna give it up to you, this time?
Did you think that it was somethin I was gonna do and cry?
Don't try to tell me what to do,
Dont try to tell me what to say,
Your better off that way
The consistent perspective in these songs is rather retrospective, as the charm and illusions on the teenage infatuation that passes for love is dispelled by the harsh realities of being a teenage girl. It is not surprising then that "My Happy Ending" is about anything but:
You were everything, everything that I wanted
We were meant to be, supposed to be, but we lost it
And all the memories, so close to me, just fade away
All this time you were pretending
So much for my happy ending
The theme is rather pessimistic from the start as we see in first track, "Take Me Away," which establishes the idea that teenage love is pretty confusing:
All the pain I thought I knew
All the thoughts lead back to you
Back to what was never said
Back and forth inside my head
I can't handle this confusion
I'm unable; come and take me away
But since I keep thinking that this perspective smacks more of realism than pessimism, it seems to me that in the final analysis Lavigne is not only comforting young women but giving their male counterparts broad hints on what they are doing wrong. Teenage boys can just listen to "He Wasn't" and then do the opposite:
Sit on the bed alone, staring at the phone.
He wasn't what I wanted, what I thought, no.
He wouldn't even open up the door.
He never made me feel like I was special.
He isn't really what I'm looking for.
This is when I start to bite my nails.
And clean my room when all else fails.
I think it's time for me to bail.
This point of view is getting stale.
If teenage boys listen to the lyrics of "Under My Skin" then they should know how to do better. But they better not try to fake it because Lavigne's target audience is going to be singing along with these songs and the words are going to get through. I have been listening to this album repeatedly for about two weeks as you can tell even I started paying attention to the lyrics when I was singing along. I have two teenage daughters and I certainly made sure that they got hooked on these songs as well.
on August 27, 2004
With the music industry the way it is, people are often more concerned about the artist's appearance than the actual music they produce. I always despised Avril Lavigne's "punk" or "bad ass" public persona. But I try not to let the image of the artist sway me in any way, because it should be about the music first and foremost, not what image they portray. So I gave her first CD a chance. The funny thing was, her first CD "Let Go" couldn't have been further away from the punk image she was trying to project. In fact, it mostly was calm, light hearted pop, and although it was catchy, it lacked any sort of depth or soul. Ironic product of the "punk princess" who was so anti-pop....
However, Avril's new CD "Under my Skin" demonstrated her growth and maturity as both a musician and a person. Firstly, she has calmed her rough persona down quite a bit. She is no longer sticking up her middle finger and sticking out her tongue at every camera she passes by. So she is no longer trying to be something she isn't. Great. But what really matters is... how is the music? Well, I give the girl props for writing her own stuff. In this era of studio produced pop, it's a nice breath of fresh air. The album definitely has a more rock sound to it. The sound is defiantly less pop-ish and you can tell she is starting come into her own. Her very unique voice is showcased very well throughout the album, which allows the listeners to see how talented she truly is. Her lyrics are significantly more real than on her previous album, which is a big step up. They definitely reflect the trials of a growing young woman, and deal with some big issues. Her single "Don't tell me", for example, deals with the pressures of sex, and standing up for what you believe in. Kudos to her for the positive message of abstinence in that song too! Songs like "Slipped Away", and "Take me Away" just have a real soul and honesty about them, that she lacked before. One of the deepest and most soulful songs on the CD is definitely "Nobody's Home" which I am completely convinced must be autobiographical... but who knows?
So, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear this album, and while there are still some remnants of her light, almost bubble gum pop past, the CD was overall had a wonderful sound and demonstrated a maturing Avril. I think as she grows into early adulthood, she will mature into an extremely talented musician, and I'm interested to watch to see what is in store for her.
on October 10, 2005
I love this album as much as her first one. Avril Lavigne is a talented musician and a great songwriter. My absolute favorite song on the album is "My happy ending" she really hits the nail on the head with bad breakups and dumping a guy too chicken s*** to stand up to his friends. "I also have the habit of hitting the repeat button for "Don't tell me" "He wasn't" and "Nobody's home" The rest of her songs send strong messages about not giving into the pressure to have sex, not having to be perfect and getting the courage to stick up for yourself. If I ever had a daughter, I would be happy if she listened and dressed like Avril. Rather her than certain artists out there. This CD is a breath of fresh air from the nauseating unoriginal songs on the radio (see my scathing review on Britney n Jessica)
I was thrilled to see her music videos on the 2nd Cd. They were done really well n the whole reason I bought this dualdisc. I haven't really gotten to take a look at all the extras but when I do, I'll be back to give an update!
Conclusion: Both CD's: addicting
Britney backlash as a result of this album's popularity: priceless!
on May 6, 2005
This hybrid disc is certainly amazing in terms of flexibility. However, it is prone to scractches on both sides of the disc. The audio segment of the DVD is actually PCM. This quality does not equate to dolby digital and/or DTS surround sound. The CD layer sounds just like any other CD. Nevertheless, if you don't care about the technical specifications then I highly recommended such a wonderful album. This kind of format may become obsolete in the future anyway as they are always coming up with new,improved, and innovative ways such as a HD-DVD using blue laser. Despite all of this however, those factors do not distort the power and intensity of Avril lavigne's voice. One who enjoys her music should get this one as it contains many bonus features including popular music videos I found very intrigued. Very energized album that is highly appealing. If you have bought the original album, only get this one if you really want the videos and other extra features.
on June 10, 2005
All dual disc problems aside, might I say that I love Avril Lavigne's music. She is a great and fresh addition to today's music realm. I was at first skeptical about her first album, "Let Go," but it captured my attention and devotion, and now, "Under My Skin" has strengthened my loyalty.
Anyway, the Dual Disc was a pricey investment. The original copy of the album came out in June of 2004. I had already purchased it the day it arrived in stores. Of course, now in 2005, the Dual Disc formatted version comes out and I'm left to pay for a second copy of the exact same album. This was only because I was interested in the music videos and behind-the-scenes footage. As for the "high quality" sound, you can't tell the difference. I suppose you would be able to if it was say, an acoustic or opera performance. I thought that the original version was already produced in enhanced stereo anyway... I only wish that Dual Disc had been available last year. Nevertheless, it IS nice to have a back-up copy of the original. I also noticed some differences between the two versions. On the original, the album cover art is a clear, black/gray/white and a clear image. On the Dual Disc version, the album cover art is a more sepia/old-photograph style with a soft, blurred image. I'm not sure if this is coincidental, but maybe it will lead to something in the future.
All in all, the bonus videos and behind-the-scenes footage is a nice addition to an Avril fan's collection. It is well worth the extra $14.00 if you already have the original copy.
Always keep rockin' on...
on June 4, 2004
Yah right, what are you people listening too? She doesn't have anything in common with Aerosmith, so stop comparing already. I'm Canadian, & I've never heard of Rush, so no comment. This album is a hundred times better then Let Go. Let Go is an embarrassement to this. Much improvement Avril has made, she writes a lot her songs with hardly any help, she's playing guitar live now, which is awesome, before she only played for like 3 songs(Tomorrow, Naked & Things I'll Never Say). Now, she's playing guitar live for almost all her songs, if not all. I saw her perform at Much last Friday, on TV that is, every new song she performed, 8 songs it was, she played guitar for except Forgotten & Slipping Away she played piano. She's far more talented now, & I don't know how anyone can not like this album unless you absolutely despised Avril in the 1st place, but then what's the point of listening to this then if you know you're already going to hate it. Well, here's a quick review:
Take Me Away: 5/5 This song is awesome, the chorus rocks, & verses are amazing.
Together: 4.5/5 If you actually listen to it, the lyrics are very meaningful, the pre-chorus is my favourite part. I'm using this song for my Poetry Project in English, which is kinda cool!!
Don't Tell Me: 4.5/5 Who can't love her first single? Unless you hear it so often you get sick of it. Well, I was close, until I decided to stop listening to it for a while, & hey, that works. I still really love it!! Fun song
He Wasn't: 5/5 Speaking of fun songs, this is definitely one of them. I love the guitar, the chorus, everything about it!!
How Does It Feel: 5/5 An cool slow song, which you don't get too often. I love this song, it's so innovative & emotional. I didn't cry or anything, but it's sad & cool.
My Happy Ending: 4.5/5 Fun, fun, fun!~!
Nobody's Home: 5/5 Very thoughtful song, this is the one I was going to use for my Poetry assignment but changed my mind at the last second, I love this song! Terrific.
Forgotten: 5/5 Now this is punk!! Simply fantastic.
Who Knows: 4.5/5 Outstanding!! I love it. Tells you to be happy about life & don't be afraid to take chances, something alot of people need as a confidence booster.
Fall to Pieces: 4/5 I like this song, it's catchy, & meaningful, only a little too personal for my likings but awesome just the same, great!!
Freak Out: 5/5 NOw this is the Avril we all know & love, it's time to just rock out!!
Slipping Away: 5/5 But not too this song, slowest song on the album, but it is pretty!!
Note: She wrote Fall to Pieces with Raine Maida(Our Lady Peace) & Together/He Wasn't/How Does It Feel/Forgotten/Who Knows/Slipped Away with Chantal Kreviazuk. Also includes a free mini poster with 2 sides, ones the cover, & ones just another picture of her. Very pretty!!
Overall, terrific album, I look forward to hearing more of her. Somethings telling me this girl is sticking around for a while!!
on August 21, 2004
I liked the album, it's different from "Let go". Great Lyrics, great sound.
Take me away: Good, it's depressing but it's true! "Is there inside all I do is hide..." I think She talks about herself, it's deeper and meaningful. Great rock elements on the chorus. 10/10
Together: It's a great song. I feel so identified with it. The best part is: "My thoughts are choking on you my dear". I liked the guitar. 10/10
Don't tell me: It's a popish song, but I liked. Good Message: Don't give it to the boys who only wants your sex. hehe.
He wasn't: I liked! It reminds me a little about "Sk8er Boi", the music. It's not great lyrically, but aceptable. It's quite funny, is about the guy that you like doesn't give you a call. "He never make me feel Like I was special, cuz I was special, cuz I'm special..." Bit weird! But I liked! 8/10
How Does it feel: I liked the lyrics, but I don't like much the song, just because I'm not lover of ballads. But it's good. 7/10
My Happy Ending: I understand perfectly why Avril could write a song like this. I really like it, it's a good song, quite sad but good. 9/10
Nobody's Home: Quite soft, but one of my favorites. Great chorus, great lyrics!!! Next single, good choice as a single. She talks about her, she's human... she shows how ie really her inside.
Forgotten: My favorite song of the album. Strong, sad, dark and angry. That's what I like!!! 11/10. The piano it's great, the voice of Avril with her "ah, ah" it's amazing, cool!
Who Knows: I don't like it much. But I like the lyrics. 7/10
Fall To pieces: Interesting, it shows an Avril who is in love with a guy. "I just wanna cry in front of you", I feel identified. whoa! I really liked!! Great Ballad. 10/10
Freak Out: It's a funny song, about being crazy for a while. Optimistic! I like the guitars and the bass! 9/10
Slipped Away: Good song, but quite sad and slow. I liked but is not my favorite. 8/10
I always get what I want: It's sounds weird, like recorded in a garage. Explosive, fast, great guitars, her voice sounds weird, but I like it! 8/10
Well, this album is much better than "Let go" because it's different in so many ways. I recommend this album.
By the way...All the Avril haters can kiss my a**!!!!!
on October 23, 2004
Avril Lavigne has changed a lot, in my opinion, since "Let Go". But I think those changes were made for the better. Not only do her songs have less cheesy lines in them, but you can tell just by looking at her that she is more mature. I found this album to be a little depressing because there aren't too many cheerful, upbeat songs like there were on Let Go, but still a cool pop/rock album! Here are my ratings for each song:
1. Take Me Away-5/5. This song has a hard rock beat, and is somewhat like "Losing Grip", the song that started off Let Go. It is about just wanting to get away from all the pain and suffering being felt inside.
2. Together-4/5. Avril's vocals in the chorus have a rather annoingly high pitch, but this song is still a good one. In this song, Avril talks about not feeling "together" with her boyfriend.
3. Don't Tell Me-5/5. One of my favorite songs on this album. It has a rather mature subject, and is not exactly the most appropriate for younger kids.
4. He Wasn't-3/5. The "Sk8r Boi" of Under My Skin, "He Wasn't" is really upbeat, and the lyrics are kind of cheesy in some parts. In this song, Avril sings about the boy she likes turning out to be someone completely different from what she thought he would be.
5. How Does It Feel-3/5. This song is slow, but Avril's vocals sound pretty good in it. That's why I gave it 3 stars instead of 2. It is about wondering how other people view the world.
6. My Happy Ending-5/5. Another of my favorites on this album. It has a great beat, and catchy lyrics. It is about an "UN-Happy Ending" with a boy. Note that there is a kind of big cussword in the part after the first chorus.
7. Nobody's Home-4/5. I guess this is the song I should be talking about the most, since Amazon won't let you listen to a clip of it on this album. It is a kind of sad song about a girl who's been misguided, and who is alone and depressed. The beat is good, and Avril's voice sounds nice.
8. Forgotten-5/5. This song starts out in an eerie sort of way, then turns into hard rock and loud vocals. This is yet another of my favorite songs. It is about, of course, being forgotten and left behind.
9. Who Knows-3/5. This song has a good beat, and is about making your dreams come true.
10. Fall To Pieces-3/5. This song is slightly better then "Who Knows", in my opinion, although it sounds rather similar to it. It is a love song, and Avril's vocals sound pretty good in it.
11. Freak Out-5/5. This song sounds like one that would end a really good movie, or be the favorite on the movie soundtrack. It has a good beat, and catchy lyrics. I used to not like it, but yes, it is now ANOTHER of my favorite songs on this album. It is about letting loose.
12. Slipped Away-5/5. This is a sad song Avril wrote about when her grandpa died. The beat is nice, though slow, the lyrics are good, and Avril's vocals sound great. If you're easily depressed/disturbed then you might not like this song, though.
By averaging, I got the overall rating of 4 stars for this album, which is better then the overall rating I got for Let Go. I would suggest listening to clips of the songs here on Amazon before purchasing, though.