Avril Lavigne’s 2013 self-titled release was an ode to youthful recklessness. To its own contradiction, the former pop-punk princess finds herself in a completely different predicament on her follow-up, Head Above Water. After a public divorce with Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and undergoing a life-threatening battle with Lyme Disease, Lavigne wasn’t even sure if she’d be doing music again. But nonetheless, here she is, with a brand new album.
Following her Lyme Disease battle, “Head Above Water” and “Warrior” were the first pieces Lavigne wrote. The former even turned into an uplifting anthem that crossed over to No. 2 on Billboard’s Christian Songs chart. Head Above Water, as a whole, suggests that same message: “my life is worth fighting for,” she exclaims on the poignant title track.
On “Birdie,” Lavigne compares herself to a bird locked in a cage; “It Was In Me” is a big, booming pop ballad; “Goddess” is somewhat bland with an empty pop hook; “Souvenir” catapults the album into full-pop territory, reviving her “yeah-yeah” moments; the anti-ballad “Crush” is a weaker note on the record. Head Above Water‘s one upbeat moment comes in the form of Nicki Minaj collab “Dumb Blonde,” which shifts lanes slightly to parallel “Girlfriend.”
Even in its weaker moments, the album is impressive. It isn’t anything like her older tracks on Let Go or The Best Damn Thing. Head Above Water isn’t even full of upbeat tracks like we’re used to on a Lavigne release, but it’s an album full of independence and maturity. It’s Avril Lavigne’s most grown-up album to date, and back in 2013, I wasn’t even sure that she’d be able to pull this off.
- Head Above Water
- I Fell In Love With the Devil
- Tell Me It’s Over
- Dumb Blonde
- It Was In Me
- Bigger Wow
- Love Me Insane