The Most Damn Predictable Thing - Avril Lavigne returns to the scene.

Jan 19, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:The ballads show off her vocal talent.

Cons:The faux-punk, bratty image is getting tired-- she's not a moody teenage anymore.

The Bottom Line: --

Keep holding on
Because you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just stay strong

Because you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you

There’s a lot of things that I could say about Avril Lavigne, but the best damn word I could to describe this chick is “bratty”, and at her age, that’s not a good thing. The woman is married, and she’s an established “rockstar”, but she is still pandering to the tween market of angry girls who think that pink skulls and “anarchy” are soooooo cool. And with the follow up to Under My Skin, Avril Lavigne once again confirms that she just cannot musically mature, though she does occasion stumble upon a pretty genius pop hook. The Best Damn Thing was mediocre when it first came out, and it’s still mediocre now—but where it really loses points is in how Avril has made next to no progression as a musician, sticking to the belief that she is the greatest thing since sliced bread and the tougher than James Dean. Her bad attitude was always rancid, but now it’s just embarrassing because she should not still be singing songs to the crowd behind the local mall, and that’s what these songs were created for. This time around, the guitar-playing punk-wannabe finds herself singing in a much more patronizing fashion. Oh, yeah, she still wants you to know that she’s a hardcore crazy psycho (yeah, right), but she also wants to remind you that you are ridiculous in just about any reason. With a repetitive and ridiculous cheerleader theme, the most Lavigne has grown up from her debut has been the awkward transition from 8th grade to high school, and she’s in her best damn twenties…

The brief moments of age appropriate music on this record is like a breath of fresh air, but the very cohesive production reminds me of the context all too easily, meaning that even though When You’re Gone is a very capable ballad, it goes off as angst-riddled because it sits next to some absolute crap like Everything Back But You, which is the most immature track this young girl has ever released. With lyrics based upon gratuitous swearing that just isn’t effective, this particular song reads like a fourteen-year-old girl’s diary. You know that girl who scribbles into her Nightmare Before Christmas notebook about how much everybody in her life “sux because they just dont understand me becuse evreryone is such a fucking BITCH”? Yeah, that’s Avril Lavigne, particularly on this song. On the plus side, this chick is going balls to the wall on this record. While it’s a poopy record filled with really cheesy wannabe-Green Day songs, she does perform it remarkably well. She rarely uses her voice to its fullest potential very often, but when she does, she blows me away. Her vocal range is more impressive that I think people would expect from her, but once listen of Innocence (which is clearly Alanis Morissette-inspired) or the perfect Keep Holding On will instantly change their minds. In fact, the latter track is probably one of the best she’s ever released, with earnest lyrics and very expensive, grand production. It’s a far cry from the faux-“badass” tracks lumped together in the middle. Whereas many of her market is essentially hating themselves and everybody around them, this song has a beautiful message of strength and hope, and that's what Avril should be feeding these kids, not crappy songs about how absolutely awesome she is. Because she's not.

Avril is more of a pop act with a punk-flare to her, but her equation seems to be that if she turns up the guitars and then shouts, that will make her a genuine act. Alas, she is not even close in that regard. I Don’t Have to Try is a prime example of this incredibly flawed musical philosophy, which has some awkward moments where she tries waaaay too hard to be Courtney Love. Unlike the powerful creativity of her inspirations (or her producer’s inspirations), Avril Lavigne sounds a lot more like a corporate puppet. I hope to God that Avril does not act this way at her age, because there are flickers of an actual woman on this record, particularly Hot, a song that, though very much in her own plastic style, is far more mature than something like One of Those Girls or Contagious. With rock melodies soaked in the past, this record is a true product of its time, and in about five minutes, it will begin to start entirely dated. Oh, wait, no. It already sounds dated! Contagious starts out with a melody that’s essentially Blink-182’s What’s My Age Again? and All the Small Things, while Girlfriend is a rockier rip-off of Toni Basil’s Mickey, and don’t think that other people haven’t noticed. The derivative Avril Lavigne officially ran out of steam on this album, and her fake angst isn’t appealing to me anymore.

01.    Girlfriend [2 Stars]
02.    I Can Do Better [2 Stars]
03.    Runaway [2.5 Stars]
04.    The Best Damn Thing [2.5 Stars]
05.    When You’re Gone [3 Stars]
06.    Everything Back But You [0 Stars]
07.    Hot [5 Stars]
08.    Innocence [4 Stars]
09.    I Don’t Have to Try [1 Star]
10.    One of Those Girls [2 Stars]
11.    Contagious [3 Stars]
12.    Keep Holding On [5 Stars]

BEST: Keep Holding On
WORST: Everything Back But You
SCORE: 3 STARS (2.6)

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