If you went by the sound of the album’s first single, the up-tempo “What the Hell,” to determine the feeling of the album you would be very surprised. This is one of only two numbers that have a harder rock edge, the other being “Smile,” and of the two this is certainly the more poppy number. Don’t get me wrong though. It is an excellent song showing off the classic Lavigne attempt at punk rock that will end up being a stand out in her catalogue along with the likes of “Sk8ter Boi” and “Girlfriend.” It’s fun and it’s a full on jam, but if that’s what you’re looking for in “Goodbye Lullaby,” you’re going to be disappointed.
However, I in no way find “Goodbye Lullaby” a disappointment. In fact, I actually have found myself to enjoy the album even more than 2007’s “The Best Damn Thing.” This is probably surprising to anyone who knows that I am traditionally more entertained by an up-tempo album than an acoustic guitar/piano driven one like this. After hearing the track “Push,” which follows “What the Hell,” I was hooked. “Push” is like those classic Avril songs from her early albums that never became singles but everyone still knew such as “Mobile” and “Fall to Pieces.” They’re not pop-rock up-tempo jams and they’re not hard rock ballads either which she usually goes for. They’re in a league of their own and Lavigne not only succeeds in creating one of these with “Push,” but also the rest of the songs on the album.
Besides “Smile,” Lavigne continues this type of music for the rest of the album. Each song has its own distinctive melody and feel. With most albums that go for this type of tone, the songs can all start to blend together and pretty soon you can’t tell one from the other and you lose the quality of the album. For the most part, this problem doesn’t occur with “Goodbye Lullaby.” Unfortunately toward the end of the CD, around the point of “Not Enough,” the songs start to lose their edge a little and the similarities start to become glaring. However this only lasts for about three songs before Lavigne changes things up and goes for more piano driven songs like “Remember When” and “Goodbye,” the latter of which being one of the most beautiful ballads in Lavigne’s career. The album closes with an extended mix of her 2010 single “Alice” from the “Alice in Wonderland” 3D movie. The extended version only serves to make the original version better.
Overall this is Lavigne’s most impressive album artistically. While a few more up-tempo numbers wouldn’t hurt to break up this mid-tempo album, it is still an impressive set and definitely one of her best. I give “Goodbye Lullaby” a solid eight pop-tarts.
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