The Best Damn Thing

Canadian punk-poppet Avril Lavigne, 22, is a married woman but her concerns are very much of the lip-curled adolescent if this, her third album, is anything to go by.

Canadian punk-poppet Avril Lavigne, 22, is a married woman but her concerns are very much of the lip-curled adolescent if this, her third album, is anything to go by. Employing a phalanx of backroom staff for that impeccably glossy guitar rawk sheen, The Best Damn Thing, is a boisterous and bratty collection of hook-swamped shout-alongs – notwithstanding the calculated pauses for ‘lighters-in-the-air’ moments of lachrymose balladry. However, for all this fizzing energy, it still can’t mask its lyrical fallibility and corporatised sense of rebellion.

Not that the targeted demographic, teenage girls, will give an iota of thought to such matters. They’ll happily shriek the chorus of the infectious punk-pop earworm, ‘Girlfriend’, en masse and bounce around their bedrooms. The cheerleader chant – pilfered from Toni Basil’s ‘Mickey’ – is used with equal effect on the title-track; another juiced-up, faultless three minute wonder.

‘80s power-rock gets the Lavigne makeover treatment on the soaring choruses of ‘Runaway’ and ‘Hot’, both blinding examples of studio alchemy courtesy of the savvy production team.

The record drags when her confected petulance becomes too exhausting. There’s a whiff of focus-group approval from some of her pubescent lyrical taunting – “Hey hey psycho babe/I hate you/Why are guys so lame?”, is a typical snatch of her girlfriend/boyfriend baiting patter. The music regains a potent if synthetic pop-rock swagger, but the record’s vapid teenage sentiment will soon grate for anyone outside Lavigne’s sizeable fanbase. Soon enough she’s going to have to start acting her age.

 

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