Goodbye Lullaby (2011) Avril Lavigne — like her breakthrough single from 2002 — is, in a word, complicated. The diminutive Canadian with the gargantuan voice has made a… 2011-03-08 Avril Lavigne Pop RCA
Music Review

Goodbye Lullaby (2011)

Avril Lavigne | POST PUNK Avril Lavigne almost grows up on Goodbye Lullaby
POST PUNK Avril Lavigne almost grows up on Goodbye Lullaby
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Mar 08, 2011; Lead Performance: Avril Lavigne; Genre: Pop; Production: RCA

Avril Lavigne — like her breakthrough single from 2002 — is, in a word, complicated. The diminutive Canadian with the gargantuan voice has made a career sk8ing the line between pop and punk, cannily switching her target from charts to hearts and back again. For a time, it seemed the former had prevailed: 2007's The Best Damn Thing was a candy-coated collection of prefabricated, post-feminist party-starters written with proven hit-makers — and halfheartedly dismissed by Avril as ''just songs'' (burn!). In contrast, Goodbye Lullaby seeks balance: The first half is loaded with glossy confections, while the second consists of quieter reflections clearly inspired by (and, bizarrely, produced by) her ex-husband, Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley.

Surprisingly, it's the early tunes, many concocted in the bunker of Swedish genius Max Martin, that show the most personality: The Farfisa-fueled ''What the Hell'' and the sassy ''Smile,'' with its talk of doctored drinks and blackout tattoos, restore Avril to her rightful place ahead of Katy Perry and Ke$ha in the Sisterhood of the Negligible Pants. But when left alone — on gauzy ballads like ''Everybody Hurts'' (an original that somehow manages to be less deep than the R.E.M. standard) — the recently divorced 26-year-old seems desperate to share an artistic inner self that's far from fully formed. ''Open up your heart...so I can show you who I am,'' she pleads on ''Stop Standing There.'' It's not us, Avril. It's you! B–

Download These:
What the Hell, fruggin' fantastic rave-up, at Last.fm
Not Enough, a raw confessional, at Last.fm

Originally posted Mar 02, 2011 Published in issue #1145 Mar 11, 2011 Order article reprints