Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Avril Lavigne "Goodbye Lullaby" Deluxe Edition Album Review

It has been four years since Avril Lavigne's last record, The Best Damn Thing, so the release of this new album, "Goodbye Lullaby" was extremely highly anticipated. About a year or two ago, it was announced that the album was complete, but was delayed from November 2009 to April 2010 and again to November 2010, only to be told that the album would be postponed yet again!

It is finally here, but you can check out my preview of the album to read more about that. I will be reviewing the deluxe expanded edition of the album which is exclusive to Avril Lavigne's official website.

The deluxe edition of the album has a purple background opposed to the conventional green- the vine like graphics on top also has a slight variation, with the picture of Avril Lavigne slightly larger and cropped on the normal version.

This is definitely the best album cover Avril Lavigne has ever had- the element of mystery and fairytale is carried forward, with photos inside the booklet having some dark elements (perhaps inspired by the movie "Alice in Wonderland" in which she contributed with her single "Alice").

Bonuses that come with the expanded edition include a guitar pick, extra exclusive photos and a handwritten note by Avril Lavigne.

1) Black Star 4/5
This was written for Avril's first fragrance, Black Star, released in 2009. The 20 second or so piano intro found in the advert was so mesmerising I listened to it on Youtube several dozen times- and was SO pleased it would be featured on this album. Whilst it isn't a full length track, it acts as a perfect [chronological] bridging point between her last album and this one.

The piano intro is truly enchanting and so addictive (tunes like this make you wanna learn how to play it)- I like that there is limited vocals and that the focus is on the piano. I've been wondering how they were gonna end it and they did it quite well with a sudden stop, though I would've liked a follow through of a few single notes like how it started to just round it off slightly better.

2) What The Hell 4/5
Lead single "What the Hell" reminds us all why we loved Avril Lavigne- the sheer pop sound that makes you want to jump about and go crazy is present in this song, especially the chorus- I like to call this "Girlfriend 2.0" as it is just as catchy and just as bad-ass if not more. I can really relate to these lyrics and this album really possesses some great writing by Lavigne.


3) Push 4.5/5
"Push" is one of those songs which exhibit some great lyrics like "And you know when push comes to shove,
It’s gonna take the both of us, Baby, this is love". I'm not entirely sure about the whole arrangement, I feel like it could be far stronger, deeper and more dynamic to match the lyrics, but it suffices.

4) Wish You Were Here 4/5
The verse is quite raw and I liked the stripped back backing which leads to a strong chorus which is also catchy with the repeated "Damns" and "Heres". I'm not too fond of the bridge near the end with the spoken/whispered parts, but it leads to a great layered chorus which ends the song with great emotion- one of Lavigne's most emotional vocals to date.


5) Smile 5/5
Smile is one of the few upbeat tracks on this album and from the first play I knew I'd love it. With lyrics such as "You know I'm a crazy bitch" and "All I wanna do is lose control", it's a long shot from the rather innocent title. Despite being told "What the Hell" would be the only really pop track on the record, that is completely false as "Smile" is extremely catchy and excels as it reaches the chorus with an insane backing beat- this is one of my favourite tracks!


6) Stop Standing There 4/5
A playful tone resonates throughout the song through the stripped back verses and chorus with an upbeat backing which is fun and different from anything we've heard from Avril before, again exhibiting some good lyrics "Don't waste another day, don't waste another minute, I can't wait to see your face" and "Open up your heart, help me understand, please tell me who you are so I can show you who I am".

7) I Love You 5/5
This song gets top marks from me as it is sublime both lyrically and musically. From the first line "I like your smile, I like your vibe, I like your style, but that's not why I love you" this song exuberates meaning, all through simple short lyrics in the chorus: "The reason I love you is you, being you, just you". There is a strong beat, intricate and melodic backing and a stunning bridge that takes this track to new heights and Avril Lavigne to a whole new level.

8) Everybody Hurts 3.5/5
Whilst I first thought the catchy guitar intro was the only thing to come back from the "Let Go" era, there is a "Let Go" vibe from the whole song that pops up every now and then in an unexplainable way. The best thing about this song is the bridge which elevates the song from its rather repetitive structure. Not the best track on the album, but it redeems itself for the lyrics and the fact that the tone matches the song well.

9) Not Enough 4.5/5
This song is super dynamic and all the different layers used to create this fast paced track makes it so engaging and captivating, again with super lyrics "It’s not enough, it’s not enough to get me, everything I need
and I, I wish it was, I think it’s time, to give this up". The soft bridge offers a slight break which then throws us full throttle into the action for one final explosive chorus. Another fav!

10) 4 Real 4/5
I don't like that it is called 4 Real... why can't it just be called "FOR Real"? I can't NOT give this song 4 stars now can I? Apart from this annoyance, this track does offer some upbeat and catchy tunes. I particularly like the chorus with the meaningful lyrics "When you look me in the eyes like you did last night, I can’t stand to hear you say goodbye" and "So don’t let me go, cause you have my soul". There is again this "fun" tone to the song previously found in "Stop standing there".
11) Darlin 3.5/5
The chorus sounds a lot like "I Love You" especially the line "I'll love you the best I can". Personally, this song doesn't stand out to me as we near the end of the album. It is a good song, catchy, but doesn't offer anything better than any of the tracks we have heard before... perhaps if it was placed earlier on it would have a stronger impact.

12) Remember When 5/5
A song with full piano backing reminds me of "Innocence" but this has so much more to offer as it brings in a slight rock sound. The variation and dynamics of the song is phenomenal especially the more shouty second verse and the explosive bridge and final chorus. This is Avril Lavigne at her best. And I won't forget to mention the beautiful lyrics here such as "I remember when it was together ‘til the end, now I’m alone again".

13) Goodbye 4/5
A lullaby-like track which carries that same "airy" euphoria feel as "Black Star" and makes a superb finish to the album, not only as it is titled "Goodbye" but because this has a stripped back backing, showing off Lavigne's vocals; the song itself ends with a slow and subdued violin finish. Perfect end.


14) Alice (Extended) 4.5/5
It took me a while to grow to like the normal lengthened version of "Alice". The extended version is about a minute and a half longer and features an additional verse and a far longer ending. I love this version soo much more as it is so explosive and enchanting- love the change in the second verse.
4 Bonus Tracks:
15) What The Hell (Acoustic) 4/5
The acoustic version of "What the Hell" really isn't as stripped down as I'd like it to be. Her performance of it on T4 (watch below) and on her promo tours is SOO much better than this!! I do like the piano backing here, but fails to reach the potential of her live performances.

16) Push (Acoustic) 4/5
This acoustic version is far more stripped down which is great and it really does focus on Avril's vocals, especially the genuine emotion that is expressed. The harmony in the second verse is more pronounced which I like and the chorus sounds less strained. Overall, it is one of her better acoustic versions on the album.

17) Wish You Were Here (Acoustic) 5/5
"Wish You were here" acoustic is backed by the piano which sounds really good, much better than the normal version in my opinion. I have always loved Avril's piano heavy songs such as "Innocence" and "When you're gone".

18) Bad Reputation 3/5
This is a cover of Joan Jett. It is catchy pop track but does not fit into this record at all given the messages and themes Avril is trying to put across. Personally, these extra tracks really should've been demos she's recorded such as "Won't Let You Go" opposed to this cover.

SONGS TO LOVE: Smile, Push, I Love You, Not Enough, Remember When, Alice (Extended), I Wish you were here (Acoustic)
SONGS TO SKIP: Bad Reputation

This bonus DVD footage is just under 30 minutes and includes album photo shoot, commentary on the songs (not comprehensive) and acoustic rehearsel session- those were the most interesting. I felt she repeated herself quite a bit, and didn't get to the point quick enough in the interviews. I liked that it was raw and hopefully honest, but it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be. Also, a lot of this content had already been posted online prior to this album being released, so I felt slightly cheated.

Avril Lavigne's fourth studio album brings us music at a whole different level to all of Lavigne's previous stuff. A great development from "The Best Damn Thing", Goodbye Lullaby could be classed as a break-up album, expressing a mellow tone with meaningful and deep lyrics (the best lyrics she has ever written in my opinion) which many can relate to.

For those who love Avril's pop rock tracks, this album offers "What the Hell" and "Smile" which I'd honestly want more of, but all in all, most tracks have a different sound to what we have heard before, taking a darker tone which is  equally addictive. My favourite tracks include "Push", "Remember When" and "I Love You".

The deluxe bonus tracks could've been so much better, given she has spent years making this record with reportedly two albums worth of content- maybe give us some of that (Won't Let You Go especially)- I NEED this song)!

As a product, this is extremely successful, visually stunning and very economical. For under £20, the fan can receive a beautifully produced hardback album with exclusive photographs and extras- a fabulous collectible to be treasured. Thanks Avril for being so kind to your fans!

Watch the OFFICIAL track by track preview below:

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