The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Goodbye Lullaby’ doesn’t disappoint

Claire Stephens | Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Preceded by the release of the now top 100 Billboard single “What The Hell,” Avril Lavigne’s new album “Goodbye Lullaby,” released March 8, is her first album since the 2007 release of “The Best Damn Thing.”

The album starts with “Black Star,” (produced by Lavigne’s ex-husband Deryck Whibley), a simplistic piano piece. Poignant and inspirational, the song revolves around piano, pure and almost childlike vocals and pleasant harmonies.

Immediately following this moving piece is the fun and fast-paced “What The Hell.” An upbeat and very summery song, it takes on almost a bubblegum-pop rock sound. Cheerful and catchy, the song can easily get stuck in your head and has gained popularity on the radio. Much like “Girlfriend,” it is a very singable, roll-your-car-windows-down song with fairly good vocals on Lavigne’s part. Different from much of her other hits and the rest of the songs on the album, “What the Hell” utilizes a bubbly techno background.

Though more pop than rock, “What The Hell” is definitely the most popular single of the album. Characteristic of Lavigne’s attitude, the lyrics talk about disregard for serious emotions, carefree partying and messing around; a song for both the high school and college crowd.

“What The Hell” is the only song of its kind on the album, though. The rest of the album takes a mellower, acoustic-sounding style with simple, airy vocals and more love-themed lyrics. “Push” continues in a somewhat upbeat, fighting-for-love type of song making good use of chorus. “Smile” sounds more like Lavigne’s characteristically aggressive attitude with a smattering of cursing and in-your-face vocals. The song becomes more of a happy, acoustic love song by the chorus however, matching the themes of most of the rest of the album.

Lavigne’s musical style varies throughout the album. “Stop Standing There” uses a chipper set of snap/clap beats, though the vocals are less impressive, and “Not Enough” has a noticeably acoustic focus with dramatic piano and background beats. “Wish You Were Here” and “I Love You” are both slower-paced, the latter with gentler sounds, airy harmonies and a swelling refrain.

The second half of the album consists of many songs the Canadian singer/songwriter wrote on her own (in contrast with the co-written tracks at the beginning of the album). “Everybody Hurts” resembles “Black Star” in its more universal message, while “4 Real” and “Darlin'” are more bittersweet, emotional soft rock. “Remember When” comes third from the end, and is, both vocally and musically, the most impressive of the love songs. Much like the other songs it has a piano and acoustic focus with a refrain that becomes dramatic, emotional and more rock-like, with a vocal climax.

Seemingly the ending song of the album, “Goodbye” sounds very appropriate for a stirring album closer: repetitive airy vocals and symphonic instrumentals. It is pleasant and simple over all, and is appropriately named. There is an entire minute of silence at the end of the track before the extended edition of “Alice” begins.

For some reason, one of the best songs of the album is the hidden track at the end. “Alice” begins dramatically, with haunting heavy beats. The song establishes a fantasy, wonderland theme. It shows Lavigne’s most powerful and varying vocals on the album, and is an empowering “can’t stop me now” track.

“Goodbye Lullaby” contains simple, pure, clean and childlike vocals from Lavigne. The style is generally consistent: acoustic-based pop and medium-to-calm paced love songs with some rocker chick attitude mixed in. Mellower and more quietly emotional than some of her other hits, “Goodbye Lullaby” resembles “Keep Holding On” more than “Sk8r Boi” and shows the controversial, tattooed Lavigne’s more dramatic side.