So earlier this week (Monday to be precise) Avril Lavigne released her fourth studio album, “Goodbye Lullaby”, four years after her last release, “The Best Damn Thing” back in 2007. Generally speaking, I would say I am a fan of Avril Lavigne; clearly, as I do have her first three albums in addition to this latest one. However, with the exception of a few stand-out tracks (“Girlfriend”, “Sk8r Boi”, “Anything But Ordinary” and the stellar “Keeping Holding On”) I would have always said she’s an artist I like a lot, but don’t necessarily love; in other words she probably wouldn’t be in my top 10 artists. Having said all this, with this latest release I am having to rethink that list. Good job I didn’t get it laminated.
The album opens with a brief intro, the twinkling “Black Star”, which has an angelic lullaby feel to it. This leads in to the first single to be cut from the album, “What the Hell”, though it is not particularly representative of the general sound of the album. It’s a great, upbeat track with undertones of her single “Girlfriend” and certainly was an ideal (perhaps obvious) choice for the first single. It also has a slightly retro feel through its use of a Wurlitzer-style keyboard playing along in the background. After this comes a run of stunning songs, that are rich in melody but with a more grown-up sound, particularly after the teenage punk stylings of her previous album, “The Best Damn Thing”.
To my mind, the stand-out song on the album is track number 4: a heartfelt ballad called “Wish You Were Here”; it is this album’s “Keep Holding On”, with a fantastic, emotional vocal by Avril. She certainly seems to be getting quite adept at penning beautiful ballads with each new album.
With the exception of a cover of Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” (only available on the deluxe version), Avril has writing credits for the entire album once again, with around half of them written solely by her. Also included in the deluxe version of “Goodbye Lullaby” are acoustic versions of “What the Hell”, “Push” and “Wish You Were Here”, which are perhaps an indication of the subsequent singles that we can expect her to release? The acoustic versions of all three songs work well, indeed “Wish You Were Here” arguably works even better stripped down further from its original version.
Finally, the album ends with a remix of “What the Hell” that takes it in a more dance-floor-friendly direction, hinting at a David Guetta influence. If, like me, you buy it on iTunes, there is a standard edition of the album, though purchasing the deluxe edition for those extra two pounds you do get 5 further tracks, a 30 minute “Making of” video, as well as the album coming as an interactive iTunes EP, so in my opinion it is worth the minor additional cost.
All in all, I have been thoroughly impressed with this album and would wholly recommend it, especially if you are an existing fan with similar favourite Avril songs to me. I would definitely say it’s a little more grown up, and is perhaps a more similar sound to her first two albums, “Let Go” and “Under My Skin”, than “The Best Damn Thing”. Another thing I felt was noticeable on this album, more so than her previous efforts, was the harmonising and overall quality of Avril’s vocals across the album. I hope this “Goodbye Lullaby” does well for her, because I can’t wait to hear her next album.
To end with, here is the video to her first single from this album, “What the Hell”: