Monday, 14 March 2011

Plz Xplain... Avril Lavigne

Avril: matching the confused looks on all of your faces.

Avril Lavigne, the former 'Sk8er Boi' who doesn't like your 'Girlfriend' debuted at #1 in Australia this week with her fourth album, Goobye Lullaby. While everyone's ranting about how she sold out with 'What the Hell?' and has essentially become a prostitute for the Sony corporation, I say, "shut it, haters!" Mostly because if we're going to say a pop artist 'sold out,' we can at least say she sold out when she released 'Girlfriend.' And partly because I have a secret love for Avril Lavigne... and that ain't so secret anymore since I'm sharing it with the world, ey? Did you like that 'ey?' I'm sure Avril did, you know, because she's Canadian.

Now, this could turn into an 'In Defence of' post, much like the 'Plz Xplain' I did many months ago on Ke$h-dog (that's a term of endearment). However, I'm not going to try to convince you that there's more to Avril Lavigne than the catchy, trash-pop songs she releases to preview a new album. If you don't like the woman, you're not going to listen to the tracks on Goodbye Lullaby that deal with issues like her recent divorce or explore the mind of a young woman reassessing her place in the world. I will however take this moment to explain (or 'Xplain') why I believe she releases those trash-pop singles that go against the nature of the young wannabe rocker we met when she debuted 'Complicated.'

When Lavigne's sophomore album, Under My Skin, seemingly failed commercially in comparison to debut and major success, Let Go, she found a method that worked for many of her contemporaries to keep her name in bright lights... dumb it down and slut it up. She did both of these things in spades with 'Girlfriend.' Well, she tried to slut it up. Unfortunately her inability to dance prevented her from reaching super skank levels (a blessing in disguise). 'Girlfriend' would become her first US #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 and see her come out of the sophomore slump in a big way. She then released her most mature track, 'When You're Gone,' a song that was the polar opposite of 'Girlfriend.' Thoughtful, depressing and based on a vocal line that was more than three notes. Did it do well on the charts? No. Was it better than 'Girlfriend?' Yes.

Since I'm moving further and further away from the point I was trying to make (that I'm pretty sure I've forgotten)... we'll just say that releasing a trashy song as the first single from an album works for Avril. It gets her a ton of attention and enough money to make another album with 11 other tracks that are nothing like that one trashy song. I'm not trying to say that Goodbye Lullaby is a good album and you should rush out and buy it. But maybe you should look at who Avril Lavigne was when she started and who you think she is now and realise that she's might just be better than 'Girlfriend' and 'What the Hell' and there's more to her than meets the eye. No, I'm not implying that she's a Transformer. Or am I? At the very least, respect that she plays piano, guitar and writes her own songs. That makes her better than Ke$ha! Analysis of Avril Lavigne... this is what happens when there's no countdown going on.

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