Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Best Damn Thing - Avril Lavigne

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If there is one track from any artist that has polarised long-term fans of the singer in question this year then it's Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend. It's hard to know who to believe either. I myself was of the opinion that it's distinctly pop edge was commercially driven by the record label but Lavigne insists that the song, and the album at large was the kind of record that she'd always wanted to make.

At first I was pretty underwhelmed by Girlfriend. It seemed like someone's idea of a joke...and not a very good one at that. And anyway, Lavigne's recent interview on Popworld seemed to confirm that she's not got a sense of humour. Still there was no denying as I heard it a few more times that it was a catchy, fun tune and by the time it actually hit the shops I was quite the fan of it.

All this talk about the single is pertinent though; your opinion on the single is pretty much going to signpost your opinion on the album because The Best Damn Thing is pretty much 9 times the single plus 3 slower songs that seem like hold-over's from Under My Skin.

Personally I like it. It may even be the ultimate in throwaway disposable pop. I doubt there's much that I will be holding dear in my heart this time next year but you can't help enjoying the experience whilst you listen to it. And there's more than enough to keep her in top 10 singles for the rest of the year and beyond. (Although at this point, I have to mention forthcoming single When You're Gone which seems to indicate that they're keen to ensure that Lavigne's appeal stretches as far as possible considering it's one of the slower tracks).

It's an interesting exercise as well. The normal trajectory for a career would be to release something like this as a "debut" and then get serious. That Lavigne has done it the other way around is both a little astounding and a very good thing. Having proved her musical chops previously she's free to do what she wants here and the end result is something catchy, likeable and very good indeed.

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