Avril Lavigne “Head Above Water”: A Respectably Average Breakup Album

Avril Lavigne. Photo by Stewart Cook/REX/Shutterstock (9638076dd)

Avril Lavigne is back with her first album since forever. Last time we saw her, she was a skater girl with heavy black eyeliner and pink and green hair extensions. While some people might look back at Avril Lavigne’s 2000s style and cringe, this is not the case for us. We look back at those pop-punk days with a sense of nostalgia, fondly remembering the days we thought that clip-in green hair extensions was the coolest thing to have ever existed.

Now, our pre-teen icon is back with a new album and this time around, she is a real woman. Long gone are her tween days, she is a 34-year-old singer who has been through some things and isn’t afraid to admit it.

The album’s opener and titular track opens up about her struggle with Lyme disease which left her bed-ridden for days on age. Here we are 100% rooting for her and we are waiting for the album to break into its full swing. The track is powerful, heartfelt and gives us the queen of pop-punk like we have never seen her before. Unfortunately, this is where the album peaks.

The subsequent track “Birdie” is emotional but cute as is “I Fell In Love With The Devil.” By her collaboration with Nicki Minaj in “Dumb Blonde”, it’s like Avril Lavigne has had a personality change. The punky green and pink haired chick that we loved is shouting out here to everyone that’s ever pre-judged her. You can really hear the consistency between the Avril Lavigne we fell in love with growing up and the new and arguably more talented and vocally improved women singing on this record.

After “Dumb Blonde”, there aren’t any stand-out tracks. “Crush” and “Souvenir” are nothing special and yet we so desperately want to like it so we kind of do. “Goddess” and “Bigger Wow” on the other hand are actively bad. The punky Lavigne is gone and in her place is music which sounds like songs that One Direction rejected. Things pick up ever slightly in ‘Love Me Insane’ but ultimately the second half of the album actively lets down the first.

And so, with heavy hearts we have to accept that Avril Lavigne’s comeback album is little above average. Had she stuck with the tone and creativity of the first half of the album, we would be much more inclined to rate it higher. Unfortunately, the poppy and empty second half actually ruins the first half of the record. It sounds so happy-go-lucky it almost makes us doubt the sincerity of the beginning tracks, even though we know that when writing ‘Head Above Water’, Lavigne was putting her heart and soul into it.