Did Avril Lavigne inadvertently create an “Edsel” when she set out to write the songs on her third album?
By: Vanessa Uy
The title of this blog would have been “Ten Questions About Avril Lavigne That the Press and Her Fans Were Afraid to Ask”. Those “ten questions” could still crop up as we go along, but first lets take an in-depth view of Avril Lavigne’s third album.
“The Best Damn Thing” (RCA88697 03174-2) is Avril Lavigne’s third and latest release. Also RCA records released her two previous albums – “Let Go” and “Under My Skin” – which I paid full price (I also own a number of rare 7” vinyl of Avril Lavigne’s singles). Luckily I acquired “Best Damn Thing” for free since I won the CD from a local FM radio contest.
Compared to her two previous albums, me – and anyone I knew whose musical tastes more or less mirrors my own – were disappointed by Avril Lavigne’s “Best Damn Thing”. Was it the headline single “Girlfriend”? The answer is a big juicy yes for the reasons not just from the song being overplayed by the local FM stations or the local mall’s P.A. system. To us – especially me – “Girlfriend” has the hallmarks of being a mere “product”, no more or less inspired than a half-decent NBA or NFL halftime show or Britney Spears showing her privates. After the second to third time I heard the song “Girlfriend”, I had a “Road to Damascus Epiphany” on the true meaning of the term bubblegum-pop. Despite the happy “disposition, the “apparently” catchy hooks and lively beats fails to save “Girlfriend” from having the holistic integrity of Avril Lavigne’s “sadder” songs.
All of this made me wonder if the artistic quality / merit of Avril Lavigne’s performance demos being sent to RCA back in 2001 or 2002 sounds like her “Best Damn Thing” album. The A & R executives (talent scouts) of RCA would seriously reconsider about signing Avril Lavigne up – to the point of not signing her up.
The saving grace of this album is the torch song (?) “Pieces of My Heart”. But still I wonder if this song’s beauty is the result of Avril Lavigne’s excellent songcraft or the song’s music video - which is in heavy MTV rotation this past few months since the American “Credit Crunch.”
The way I see it, Avril Lavigne – for reasons that still elude me – has sacrificed her artistic integrity in exchange for more money. I mean she’s quite busy since Memorial Day pandering to the Anglo-Saxon Protestant / Evangelical community of America by implying that she’s a viable, kid-safe replacement for Michael Jackson. The way she talks about “God” in her MTV interviews could “Anglo-Saxonify” Jesus Christ to the point of looking like Conan O’Brien.
I mean if Avril Lavigne was around during that crucial period in 1988–1989. Where the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), which was headed by Tipper Gore - wife of Al “An Inconvenient Truth” Gore. Was then reaching out to the teens of America at that time to help them fulfil their core mission of making the REAGANISM of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority a way of life to a whole generation of American teenagers. To me back then, Avril Lavigne would have no choice other than to become a herald of Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority’s “Imperial Ambitions” because her “musical” competitions in the pop charts circa 1989 are very weak, which primarily makes Avril very rich. The mediocrity of Milli Vanilli alone would make Avril Lavigne a wholesome, child friendly substitute to Axl Rose. Avril Lavigne would single handedly save PMRC -if only this hypothetical situation can be made real. Except that 99% of her fans don’t even know what PMRC is or if they even care about the time when the game show host Howie Mandel of “Deal or No Deal” was still in “St. Elsewhere”. This makes a good book / novel don’t you think?
But in Avril Lavigne’s defense, living in the “Stepford Wives-ville” that we call Anglo-Saxon America (Sen. John Edward’s “Other America”) had probably made her extremely unhappy. Empty materialism can be such a drag. The way I see it, Avril probably needs the millions of dollars that her “talent” provides, just to achieve the same levels of happiness experienced by pastoral folk like the Kalahari “Bushmen” of Sub-Saharan Africa. If Avril Lavigne does something similar to what The Beatles did with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi back in 1967 maybe by incorporating Sufi or Druse mysticism into her lifestyle. Will this do wonders to her “creative process” without sacrificing the millions of dollars that she earns? I think –at the present Bush / Neo Conservative administration - its way too risky to her preferred charity organization: War Child. Will Avril Lavigne’s artistic appeal be lost amidst the millions of dollars in royalties? Praise Goddess for my way overplayed Paramore “promotional” DVD.