By Alexa Dirks and Andrina Turenne, of Chic Gamine.
The four things we know about Avril Lavigne-Kroeger right now are:
1. She was inducted into Canadian rock royalty this year when she wed His Majesty, Sir Nickelbrain.
2. She’s put out some music videos. We recently watched one on Youtube but neither of us can remember what it was called. What we do remember is that there was lots of dramatic crying.
3. I (Alexa) actually used to really connect to her music (see: the “Complicated” era). The connection involved a Friday night, her music, 8th grade me and the shedding of my silent tears whilst staring at boys names in my junior high school phonebook.
4. One of her early records was top 40 the one and only holiday season I (Andrina) worked at HMV. We had to keep the record in rotation during store hours, along with Shania Twain and the other top sellers. I sold many of those records during those few months, and when I was offered continued post-holiday employment, I respectfully declined.
All that being said, we’re really looking forward to reviewing Avril’s new album titled… “Avril”.
1.) Rock N Roll
Alexa: Woah. There is a lot of swearing in this. WE GET IT AVRIL. Wait, did i just hear her say “I’ve got a bad attitude, dude”…this is next level shit.
Andrina: I thought the same thing about the swearing. The whole “Avril is a badass who’s breaking all the rules” is back, but not stronger than ever. It’s a bit tired now. The way this song is dialed in is a bit too much for me.
2.) Here’s to Never Growing Up!
Alexa: I added the exclamation point to the title myself because i felt like it was missing. She’s talking about “Radiohead” and “falling in love” as a teenager and it’s making feel like she’s trying to copy a Katy Perry song that i heard when i recently watched the Katy Perry documentary (yup, sure did). Also it’s the second song and she’s telling someone to kiss her ass again.
Andrina: The auto tune is really intense. This sounds like it wants to be an anthem, like they for sure thought this was going to be passionately sung on a sweaty top 40 club dancefloor by people. “Running down the street saying kiss my ass … here’s to never growing up”. What???? How old is she now? I don’t understand. Is it cool to “not grow up” and be an asshole to people?
Alexa: So many NUMBERS! Taylor Swift talks about “feeling 22”, Adele has an album called “21” and Avril is all “17” and talking about stealing beers out of a trailer park. WAY TO MAKE ME FEEL OLD. I don’t even have to listen to this song to know how i’m going to feel when i hear it. I feel old listening to this music.
Andrina: First line : he was working at the record shop. Boy, I think I get it now. The album is self-titled because Avril is sharing her life with us, and reminiscing her whole “wild and free” days. A candid look at the rough and tumble life of young rebel turned mature rock queen, looking back but still able to still LET LOOSE (see: Never Growing Up).
4.) Bitchin’ Summer
Alexa: Okay these titles are really starting to get to me. If i were to rename this album based on the song titles alone i would call it “Hits for Kids: 2013”. Oh shit, now she’s rapping and using the FWORD while talking about “the cops”…“My cell phone’s dying but there’s no turning back”…now that’s a YOLO i can get behind.
Andrina: What is happening? No really though. It’s going to be a bitchin’ summer?! It sounds like a teen record but she’s talking about throwing empties into fires and getting chased by the cops. I can’t help but think about what it’s like in the studio while they’re making this. A lot of high fives, air guitars and chest bumps.
5.) Let Me Go (feat. Chad Kroeger)
Alexa: Woah. Just the title alone caused us to both feel a certain electricity that cannot be explained. AH, he’s singing. Well, they sound like they like each other which I guess is cute. It’s the easiest one to listen to so far.
They compliment each other. Now the question remains…is that a compliment? IT MIGHT BE!
Andrina: Oh my gosh. You had me at the title Alexa. Let’s hear this magic. I think they’re both giving their personal best on this track. It’s definitely the tenderest we’ve hear Avril thus far. So much autotune! Chad is really putting his heart into it. Two hearts coming together, like the Meatloaf version of Faith and Tim, with more eyeliner. And that falsetto at the end!
6.) Give You What You Like
Alexa: This better not be some song about their sex life or I’ll barf.
Okay so far it doesn’t sound like it is…but one can’t be 100% sure. Did she just say “around” with an English accent? Woah. Woah. I think she just said “want” with an English accent. Is this just me here?
Andrina: I hear a weird accent too. Is it an English accent? I think the accent changes as it goes on. Two softer songs back to back. It must be the middle of the record.
7.) Bad Girl (Feat. Marilyn Manson)
Alexa: Woah. This song actually makes me feel so uncomfortable and so scared. Like, I’m easily startled and I think I will have nightmares about this. This sounds like a halloween song. All instruments/Manson vocal gargles point to Halloween. Halloween just ended so I’m offended I even have to listen to this.
Andrina: This song sounds like a car show at first. It sounds like she’s trying to bring a different attitude but the topic is a recurring one in that she’ll let anyone do anything to her. There are creepy voices doing some call and answers, I’m not sure about that. I feel weird about this song.
8.) Hello Kitty
[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHxw_MetzF4″ width=”300″ height=”200″]
Alexa: Let it be known that the last song is still making me feel gross.
Because Kawaii Crepe opened in Osborne Village a few years ago I found out what “Kawaii” meant and I think it means “cute” in Japanese. That really helped me figure out the first 2 seconds of this song when she yelled “Kawaii!” That’s about all I understand about this song…be it in english or not. I feel like there’s a strobe light being burnt into my face. Which might be fun…this isn’t fun. Like honestly, what the eff is going on?
Andrina: It’s just too much. I can’t do this much longer. There’s an Asian influence to this song which is a strange decision combined with an “Arrigato” intro and sexy-ish “Hello Kitty” refrain. I can’t even put into words how bizarre this song is.
9.)You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
Alexa: An ode to our nation’s own R. Bachman. She’s cultured. She’s speaking in an English accent again. I wonder if she decided that this song and that other song were going to be her “British” songs and the song before this one was going to be her “Japanese” song. Okay if i had to rename this album i would rename it “Hits for International Kids: 2013”.
Is this song still going? There are like 14 choruses at the end.
Andrina: I’m out of things to say. How many songs are left?
10.) Sippin’ On Sunshine
Alexa: There was a bass line that happened twice that i kind of liked. The british accent is selectively back on this one.
Andrina: I wish we had the liner notes. I want to know if Chadril cowrote all these hits. Lyrical magic. Man. She at least sounds a little less “trying to sound angry” on this one. The English accent is back.
11.) Hello Heartache
Alexa: This one starts out with a baby choir singing a “la la la” bit that I’m sure will be a recurring part of the song. Her voice has changed again…but i can’t quite detect the accent. It’s gotten thinner and a bit higher…and when she sustains the note at the end of the words “stay” and “hurts” she sounds like a mixture of a mini goat and Celine Dion…which is actually relatively amusing to listen to! You know what…this might be my favorite song so far. I kind of like the baby choir part.
Andrina: She’s kind of sounding like Alanis on this track.
12.) Falling Fast
Alexa: This one is taking it to “Acoustic Emotion Town” and you know what, i’m into it. Okay, maybe this one is my new favorite. Why couldn’t everything be along these lines? LIke calm the aggression down Avril. This is the only song on the album that i think could make it onto “Woman and Songs Volume 14”…and THAT is a compliment coming from me.
Andrina: This is the first time I hear her not pushing her voice aggresively. Acoustic guitar and brushes on the drums. The drums sound a bit like “water run dry” by Boys II Men, I liked that track. This is so far the most enjoyable track on the record. It sounds like a normal song.
13.) Hush Hush
Alexa: Aptly titled last track. Time to be quiet and really pay attention.
Andrina: The final track. Autotune. I guess we’re in the era of robotsounding voices but it’s all I hear. Sing us out Avril!
Andrina: I realize I’ve been harsh on this record. I really tried to draw out things I might appreciate but this kind of songcrafting is just not my bag. People might love this record and that’s great. Different strokes for different folks
Alexa: Wow, it’s over. Now all we are left with is silence and suddenly it feels like I haven’t heard silence in 5 million years. This has been a very involved listening session and I actually BOUGHT this album on iTunes…so now I have it forever. So that’s a thing. Chad produced it. Also a thing. Technically it’s their first baby together and I’m a firm believer that every baby in the world is cute, even the ugly ones that look like bald aliens. So i guess what I’m saying is they may have made a bald alien, but it’s still cute.
Chic Gamine play the Union Sound Hall Saturday, November 23rd.