Avril Lavigne – Goodbye Lullaby – Album Review

Goodbye Lullaby is Avril Lavigne’s fourth studio album, and the first following her divorce from Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley. Though it’s categorically not a breakup album, alright?

I’m not a big fan of Lavigne’s albums. I’ve tried in the past to listen to a whole one, but found that beyond the singles, it was excruciating. However, Goodbye Lullaby has been on constant repeat in our car for the last few weeks and it’s become a family favourite already.

I do have one major objection though. I hate being ear-raped by advertising. The first track, Black Star, is bizarre a 1:34 long piano-based jingle. And then Lavigne announces via her Facebook page that the track is named after her perfume:

Fan trivia…. Did you know the intro on my album, Goodbye Lullaby is named after my first fragrance, Black Star and it’s also the name of my tour, The Black Star Tour 🙂 xo

Somewhere, a marketing executive is congratulating him/herself on a job well done with the whole 360 promotion thing. Album, single, fragrance, clothing range? Check. All cross-promoted. We’ve got adverts for Abbey Dawn in Avril’s What The Hell video, and now jingles for her perfum invading the album. Product placement just doesn’t scream rock n’ roll at me, know what I mean?

Bottom line? We skip Black Star every time we listen to the album. Every time. Stop it, Avril.

Once the album begins in earnest, with What The Hell, things become a bit more exciting. She breezes through some great, radio-friendly tracks, from the mostly acoustic Push and Wish You Were Here to the attitude-laced Smile

In fact, the majority of Goodbye Lullaby is packed with beautiful, accessible tracks. Lavigne and her co-conspirators display a knack for simple hooks and melodies throughout the 14 track album. Many of the tracks here could be potential singles. If there’s one flaw here, it’s that there are almost too many ballads – by the later tracks, you’re almost begging for another What The Hell.

The one track that I constantly avoid (besides Black Star) is Goodbye. It’s just too slow, mournful and repetitive to waste time on. And it’s followed by the frankly awesome Alice track – Lavigne should try and do more of that dark, dramatic material, because it really stands out against everything else on this album.

Before I wrap up, I want to take aim at the quality of lyrics here. They’re quite childish, not helped by Avril’s sometimes childish way of intoning things. It’s like she’s still playing the teenager, despite being 26 and divorced. I’d love there to be a little more maturity and authenticity to her music. For instance, I rewrote the lyrics to Wish You Were Here with just one changed word:

There’s a girl that gives did a shit
Behind this wall
You just walked through it

Come on, Avril, you were just begging for that! I can’t take that song seriously as a result.

To sum up though, despite the criticisms, Avril’s Goodbye Lullaby is actually a surprisingly good album. Catchy tunes, easy and accessible to listen to (definitely not a challenging album) and some great hooks. It might be a little retro in that it could have been written and released five years ago and nobody would’ve blinked. 

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