Released: 16th April 2007.
Well, you can feel it from the title, can’t you? Avril is back in power, she’s self-assured, she’s obviously happy and she’s relatively grown up. “Girlfriend” stormed the chart with its undeniable and inescapable catchiness, and it stands as her most upbeat single ever. Big question was, is she going to keep this new found level?
The album proved that this wasn’t just a one off success as it sparkles with energy she never possessed before. Gone are sad love stories and unfaithful boyfriends, now she’s leading the parade and she can kick any ass on her way. Luke Gottwald and Butch Walker have helped in writing 5 of the songs on the album, both experts in writing catchy, straightforward and self-assured songs. In these 5 songs she’s truly unstoppable.
What weigh the album down are 4 songs co-written by Avril’s guitarist Evan Taubenfeld. While both Luke and Butch felt the change in Avril, Evan only tried to recreate the more typical sound, and while he succeeds in it, these songs feel awfully out of place. They’re all put in the second half of the album, making the album start to feel forced close to the end. This feeling is highlighted by the unnecessary inclusion of “Keep Holding On” (from “Eragon”), the ballad that is so formulaic you feel you can guess every line that’s about to come. It succeeds in ruining the mood of most of the album. Of course, there’s another obligatory ballad (and an obvious 2nd single), “When You’re Gone” which is only saved by being in the context of the album.
The album has it flaws, but still is consistent and has enough fun to make it likeable. Avril is clearly working on herself, you can easily see improvements in her singing, and from modern girl-power pop a la Lindsay Lohan she got closer to the mixture of Shampoo and No Doubt in their better days. However, still, no matter how good and catchy her songs are, there’s always a feeling that they would suit more talented or just more professional singer. Her voice is neither strong nor deep enough to carry songs with such amounts of screaming in them.
With all that’s said this is still one of the best pop albums of 2007 and a significant improvement for Avril Lavigne.