Single Review: Avril Lavigne – ‘Smile’

“Like a quick spin on the swings and roundabouts at the nearest children’s play-park”

2 STARS

Digital Release: June 5, 2011

Physical Release: June 26, 2011

Self-proclaimed Canadian rock-chick Avril Lavigne has presented herself to her audience with many versions of the same original concept since her raucous début on the music scene. It’s worth noting that little progression of sound has been made, despite her claims that it’s something quite a bit more than it is. From tomboy to rebel to bratty teenaged schoolgirl and back to rebel again, there’s every reason she should proclaim being a musician who likes to re-invent, but in the most acute sense, Avril needs to be made to realise her ‘adventurous’ progression across her four albums, ‘exploring’ the sub-genres of rock, pop/rock, soft rock was more like a quick spin on the swings and roundabouts at the nearest children’s play-park, and particularly her fourth album – from which ‘Smile’ is taken – bears only faints nods to the maturity she aimed to imprint upon it’s songs.

After the catchy bubble-gum rock of ‘What The Hell?’, Avril’s comeback wasn’t exactly the most head-turning nor eye-catching one, and that may have been due to ‘What The Hell?’ being very similar in style to her 2007 #1 hit ‘Girlfriend’ in that, the majority of audiences saw it as nothing new and simply moved on, leaving Avril to throw tantrums at an overbearing other half and go joy-riding in a deserted town.

‘Smile’ follows suit. As in, it doesn’t suggest any of the maturity or progression of sound she promised. In fact, it’s as certifiably retrograde as the majority of the contents of ‘The Best Damn Thing’, only there were glimmers of hope amongst the jungle of attitude that comprised her third album, but ‘Smile’s overall feel is best summed up by the first lyric – “You know that I’m a crazy bitch/I do what I want, when I feel like it”, and the rest of the song remains as equally paper thin in it’s attempts to convey maturity or even a sense that she’s thought of a new way of conveying unknown depths of her personality. 

Except for the chorus, that is. The chorus, whilst ashamedly overproduced (as is most of the song) manages to leave a half-decent impression on the mind. But in the same breath, there are still issues that, if ironed out, would’ve saved ‘Smile’ from teetering too closely to the showy bravado Avril was trying to distance herself from. First off, in that one chorus you get the feeling there was intent and to showcase hidden talents, and whilst the sugary pop confectionary of the finished product gives little more than a bad toothache, it’s indicated on more than one occasion that these unnecessary theatricalities are standing in the way of something far greater.

 

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