Two decades ago, Avril Lavigne was in her prime, rising to fame as the signature punk girl in alternative rock and pop. She’s been through thick and thin since then, and that’s the focus of her new record. Avril Lavigne attempts to return to the limelight with Head Above Water, but gets lost in overproduction and fails to really connect on a deeper level.
On the surface, Head Above Water is a generally enjoyable pop rock record. The cheesy, a bit overproduced start to the record, title track ‘Head Above Water‘ brings a lot of energy to the table early on, and by the end it really comes into its sound. The record continues with more swagger in ‘Birdie,’ putting a more modern touch on Lavigne’s classic pop-punk sound, while ‘I Fell In Love With The Devil‘ brings great vocals and a nice drive to keep pushing the record further. Even closing track ‘Warrior‘ ends things off with some energy and an uplifting vibe. As far as Lavigne adding a modern touch to her sound, she definitely nails it there, and keeps things going forward early on in the album nicely.
As the record progresses, however, things begin to lose their charm. A majority of the record feels uninspired or entirely too basic, really dragging things down. Tracks like ‘Tell Me It’s Over‘ and ‘Crush‘ are just basic tracks that are inoffensive but don’t really add anything to the album, or say much at all. There are some tracks that just aren’t written well, like ‘Souvenir‘ (a melancholy track about a summer romance coming to an end filled with cheesy and weird metaphors) and ‘Goddess,’ which just goes a little too far. The biggest regret on the record is ‘Dumb Blonde,’ where Lavigne goes full pop-mode and gets a bit too upfront. Nicki Minaj having a verse on the track is pretty weird as well, and it doesn’t do the song any justice either.
Avril Lavigne doesn’t quite hit the mark in her new record Head Above Water, offering up basic anthems that are nice on the surface but don’t really provide anything deep or unique to herself. The record’s biggest fault is that the majority of it just doesn’t sound intrinsic of Lavigne. Hopefully this is the record to bring her back into relevance, and the next will see a more fitting return to form.
Favorite Track: I Fell In Love With The Devil
Least Favorite Tracks: Dumb Blonde, Souvenir
Rating: 56 / 100
Stream or buy Head Above Water on Apple Music, and follow our 2019 Playlist on Spotify: