Avril Lavigne‘s fifth album (but her first self-titled one!) hits retailers today, and the record has generated a lot of buzz — mostly around Idolator headquarters, but elsewhere, too! It’s an impressively spunky album from the Canadian songstress, and it’s not going entirely ignored by critics, who have commended the writing and production on Avril’s new LP, even as the reception seems split between whether sticking with her same old image is a good thing or a tired one.
In my review of the album, I wrote that it’s a mostly excellent listen, albeit with some disappointing spots: “Avril is carrying the torch for youth better than anyone her age or theirs.” Read on to see how the critics came down on Av’s latest.
:: Entertainment Weekly gave the record a lengthy, thoughtful review that highlighted the good and the bad (but mostly the good), mentioning “17″ as a “near-perfect” standout: “The irresistibly zippy, perceptive and, on two (possibly three) occasions, deeply weird Avril Lavigne reminds us that maturity sometimes means doubling down on what’s expected of you—even when that involves rapping about the ‘motherf—ing cops’ on a fleet little song called ‘Bitchin’ Summer.’”
:: USA Today was less kind in their brief but damning review, highlighting “Let Me Go” as a highlight (really, guys?): “At what age does slinging slutty brat-pop turn unseemly? The frisky Canadian pulls it off at 27, barely.”
:: A detailed track-by-track review from Billboard offered a lot of insight, acknowledging how Lavigne has stuck it out over the years: “The thing is, Lavigne has always been highly skilled at this practice — ever since she began spitting the polysyllabic pile-up of the ‘Complicated’ chorus, Lavigne has stayed in her lane, cranked out an album’s worth of enjoyable pop-rock every three years or so, and kept her image and integrity intact. For someone who often focuses on the irresponsibilities of youth, Lavigne has proven herself as one of mainstream music’s most reliable personalities; her commitment to bestowing us with impudent anthems is almost workmanlike.”
:: AllMusic gave the album a favorable shake, writing that it’s a step up from previous releases: “This ultimately winds up as one of Avril‘s livelier and better albums; it’s all about the good times, no matter how temporary or illusionary they may be.”
:: Digital Spy had no problem with the album’s homogeneity, concluding: “For the most part though, Avril seems content staying in the same lane, singing about the same things to pretty much the same tune. She may have self-titled the album because she didn’t know what else to call it, but truth be told, nothing could sum it up better.”
:: Our very own MuuMuse drew similar conclusions, writing that it was one of the year’s best pop releases, even if the lack of fanfare doesn’t agree: “Avril Lavigne isn’t particularly innovative, but it is an immediately more enjoyable listen than most of the underwhelming offerings by pop’s more buzzed-about princesses. The ballads have substantial depth, and the bangers play like a better, Hot Topic-revised edition of Katy Perry‘s Teenage Dream. In fact, it’s one of the strongest pop records of 2013 — not that the general public will know.”
:: If only Canada’s own The Star showed a little more love to their patron saint: “There’s nothing heartfelt about Lavigne’s self-titled fifth album, which is too bad because it really does seem that every time Lavigne tries to make a heartfelt album — as she did with 2011’s ill-received Goodbye Lullaby and once before on 2004’s Under My Skin — it all goes horribly wrong and we’re back to square one again, which is an increasingly untenable position as Lavigne approaches 30.” Yikes.
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