It’s been four years since Canadian punk-princess Avril Lavigne last released an album and fans have been patiently awaiting new music. Well, the wait is over as of the release of her fourth album ‘Goodbye Lullaby,’ but was it worth the wait? The album starts off with the ethereal lullaby ‘Black Star’ which was originally composed as a jingle for Lavigne’s fragrance of the same name back in 2009. Most fans upon hearing that ‘Black Star’ had made the final cut of ‘Lullaby’ had probably fleshed the tune out in their heads to be a beautiful piece that would surely be the shining star of the album. The fans, however, will most likely be disappointed due to the unfortunately short length of the song (1:34). The tune does still retain its wonder, though, and most will still find it to be a favorite off the album. Next on the track list is the albums lead single ‘What The Hell’ which Lavigne calls the album’s least personal and most pop-oriented track which is no lie.
If you bought the album solely for more fun bouncy tracks like the single then you will be most sorely disappointed because after ‘WTH’ is where the real album begins.
During the album’s conception Lavigne went through a much publicized divorced from Sum 41 rocker Deryck Whibley (whom incidentally produced a few of the album cuts), and it shows in the album. Whether it’s heartwarmingly sincere tracks like ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘I Love You’ that show the brighter side of the relationship or cuts like ‘Remember When’ that clearly ring with echoes of the breakup. Past relationships aside, though, all these tracks add up to a different and admittedly more mature side of Lavigne we haven’t seen before. In the past Lavigne has always played the part of the play-punk girl from the moment her debut CD dropped to the angst ridden punk chick in ‘Under My Skin’ and most recently as the play-punk princess on ‘The Best Damn Thing.’ It seems we’re finally seeing the loss of the old Avril and yet in an odd way a return to it as well.
Since her beginnings each of Avril’s records has sounded exactly as they should. ‘Let Go’ sounds exactly like you’d expect an out of the ordinary sixteen year old’s debut album would; she sings about things she knows and is relatable. Her sophomore effort sounds exactly like you’d expect a seventeen year old with something to prove would; a little angry, a little angsty, and a bit gritty. And ‘The Best Damn Thing’ is exactly what you would expect a newly twenty-one year old in love; light-hearted for the most part with a few tender moments. The years changed and like any other person Avril changed with them and as such her music did as well; however the result of some of this change was the loss of connection that was so easily formed in her freshman effort. This is what ‘Lullaby’ brings back to the Avril fans that no doubt sorely missed it. This being said; however, the success of this album is doubtful.
RCA records, Lavigne’s label, reportedly held back the album for a year fighting over its release with Lavigne. Lavigne held fast and was obviously able to get her work through but it might have benefitted her to listen to her label. RCA has a record of artists rebelling due to squashed creativity, see Kelly Clarkson ‘My December’, but on the same token look again at ‘My December’. Clarkson’s third effort yielded one charting single, which admittedly did rather well, and then faded out of the public eye. A similar event will sadly most likely occur with ‘Goodbye Lullaby’ whose peak in fame probably already occurred with ‘What The Hell’. The most likely contender to try and drive the album at this point is the melancholy ‘Everybody Hurts’ even then it is a long shot. It is by no means a bad album, but in a music world ruled by synths and auto tune there is no place for sweet piano driven tracks like ‘Goodbye’. Still, like Clarkson’s ‘December’, ‘Goodbye Lullaby’ is likely to become a fan favorite by Lavigne’s more devoted fans, and in the end aren’t the fans all that should matter?