To say that singer/songwriter
Lavigne is growing up fast would be an understatement. Barely 19 and with
her second major-label release, Under My Skin, Lavigne is beginning to
separate herself from the child she was a mere two years ago and morphing into
what she is now: a chick who flat out rocks. With pop divas like Britney Spears,
Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson having dominated radio and video the last
few years, it’s refreshing to see an artist like Lavigne who more parallels
Canadian peer Alanis Morrisette.
The first two tracks, “Take Me Away” and “Together,” start out innocently but
launch into choruses complete with gang vocals and power chords. Rock god Butch
Walker produced the first single, “Don’t Tell Me,” as well as other standout
tracks such as “My Happy Ending” and “Freak Out.” If ever there was someone that
could infuse a pop star with more rock edge, it’s Walker. Moody ballads like
“How Does it Feel” and “Slipped Away” maintain an edge ala Morrisette, but with
an elegance akin to Sarah McLachlan. And with no disrespect to Mr. Walker, the
best track on here is “Nobody’s Home.”
Avril was a cute kid a few years ago, and while she definitely has maintained
that image to some degree, she’s going to keep gaining the respect she deserves.
That’s because, though technically still a skater chick, she writes
radio-friendly rock/pop that has more hooks than a tackle box. Being teamed with
the right producers and, apparently, the right label hasn’t hurt either. Avril
Lavigne has found her niche; now she just has to maintain the level of her
latest effort. Rock on, kid.