Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water (Album Review)

Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water (Album Review)

Fighting for your life can be an immeasurable terror to go through, much less to do in front of the entire world. Established as a teenage punk rocker and referred to as the Punk Rock Queen, Avril Lavigne is making the comeback of her life. Lavigne’s new and sixth record, Head Above Water, sheds a different light on who she is today and will be available February 15th via BMP Records.

The Canadian Pop star debuted with Let Go in 2002 and grabbed the attention of millions. Since then, the eight time Grammy nominated artist has sold a total of 40-million records over the course of 17 years. However, during her last tour in 2014, it wasn’t all glitz and glam: Lavigne’s health deteriorated, and after many tests and doctors the mystery was solved. She was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which would be the start of the battle for her life. Over the course of two years, Lavigne’s fight kept her bedridden, focusing her attention on what she knows best – telling her story.

The 12 tracks on Head Above Water showcase a different yet refreshing side to Lavigne. The edgy Punk princess is still lurking in the shadows and makes appearances on tracks like “Dumb Blonde” – an aggressive, flamboyant banger along the lines of “Girlfriend” and “What The Hell” – where the marching drum line and witty lyrics give off strong girl power vibes, creating an anthem for 2019.

Most of her tracks take on the softer side of Lavigne with a collective of ballads containing strings, keys, and the beloved acoustic guitar. Occasional horns pop up and add some life, such as on break-up track “Tell Me It’s Over.” The sassy tune still carries a traditional swaying swoon, which gives off the feel of Kelly Clarkson’s latest record/sound, however, large horns and a chorus in the background add volume and density. Meanwhile, Demi Lovato-esque and R&B infused Pop track “Birdie” begins with heavy piano which transforms into the steady beat of deep drums as Lavigne sings about wanting to break free. The sincerity in her voice bleeds through as she sings, “You can’t pull me down… No more bruises and battle scars.

Though mostly given away by the title, the next track “I Fell In Love With The Devil” carries the same previous feelings and tone as the track before. This song has a quick draw of deeper strings thumping along as higher toned strings tear away at the atmosphere, filling the track with elegance despite its title. Not soon after, the strings are followed by somber piano as Lavigne confesses that she is pleased to be saved from “this hell.” Though the longest track on the record, it may not be her strongest but her vocals still shine bright.

Instead, it’s tracks like “It Was In Me” that really take the limelight. Lavigne paints a picture of all the places she’s searched for herself, and boldly declares “All I needed was a little faith in my life / All I needed was to find the  truth in my heart.” The genuine search to find that strength blends well with the strings and guitar, and the listener can truly believe in the process of trusting herself. Another standout track is “Goddess,” which shed light on Lavigne finding a pure gentleman in even the darkest of times. The track contains gentle acoustic guitar plucking away and sucking the listener in, while her pure vocals share an adorably sweet insight of being treated like a goddess.

Hints of older tracks are left like Easter eggs to find. “Souvenir” sort of recycles the “ee-yeah-yeah” from “I’m With You.” Acoustic guitars pull the listener in, sharing “Mobile” sing-along similarities about wanting to hold onto the moments and feelings with nostalgia and the summer breeze atmosphere. Final song “Warrior” musically shares similarities to The Best Damn Thing‘s “Innocence” as a bold and confident ending to the new record, where Lavigne reclaims her resilience and her strength.

They say less is more and this holds mostly true for this album: Lavigne takes a step back musically and uses her voice as the driving force. Head Above Water shows fans Lavigne won’t ever let anything stop her, and she’s ready to take on the world even stronger. Though there are moments that lyrically seem odd or out of place, it’s believed those quirks will grow on the listener over time. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Head Above Water 4 out of 5 stars.

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Tara Shea
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13 Comments
  • Avatar
    Corey Groves
    Posted at 17:38h, 18 April Reply

    I just wanted to say that Avril Lavigne’s, “Head above Water” album sounds like pure pop, just like all of her previous albums do. She doesn’t have any musical talent at all when it comes to playing the drums, the guitar, the piano, or singing. She needs to stop making music while she is still in her 30’s because she is embarrassing herself. She can never be a, “Rock chick” or a, “Skater punk” who skateboards, and sings and writes rock music no matter what all of her fans out there says or thinks. She is a pop music artist who sings and writes pop music. Her song, “Dumb Blonde” featuring the pop singer, Nicki Minaj proves that it is a true pop song and it is about herself. As far as her Lyme Disease goes, I don’t feel sorry for her when she had it because she was so rude to the paparazzi by spitting at them and flipping the bird at them when she was drunk. I’m so glad that they have finally stopped selling her, “Abbey Dawn” clothing line because all of the clothes and the accessories that she designed looked so ugly. She also needs to stop acting and dressing like a wild teenager because she is not a wild teenager like she was when she came into the music industry back in 2002. She is a grown woman, and she needs to learn how to act and dress like it. I still don’t find her physically attractive at all because she tries to look so hardcore with all of those tattoos that she has on her body. I would never buy Avril’s new album because I don’t like her personality, and I don’t like listening to her music at all. End of story.

  • Avatar
    Matthew Corley
    Posted at 20:27h, 18 April Reply

    Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album debuted at number 13 and has sold 28,000 copies on the first week that it was released over here in the United States.

  • Avatar
    Christian Scorpio
    Posted at 14:46h, 19 April Reply

    Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album has now sold only 45,000 copies over here in the United States. That is ashame that it only sold that much because Avril used to make good music, but not anymore because in my personal opinion, I think that this album sucks.

  • Avatar
    Robert Carnes
    Posted at 16:13h, 19 April Reply

    I’m not surprised that Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album had only sold 45,000 copies over here in the United States because in my personal opinion, I think that it is one of the worst albums that was released in 2019.

  • Avatar
    Sherry Hassler
    Posted at 16:20h, 19 April Reply

    The only songs that I like on this album are, “Head Above Water” and, “Warrior”. All of the other songs.

  • Avatar
    Alcides Calero
    Posted at 16:37h, 19 April Reply

    I just wanted to say that I’m not surprised that Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album had debuted at number 13 and had only sold 45,000 copies over here in the United States because in my personal opinion, I think that all of the songs on the album sound so bland.

  • Avatar
    Lydia Carrigan
    Posted at 16:55h, 19 April Reply

    Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album has debuted at number 13 and has now sold only sold 45,000 copies over here in the United States. I didn’t buy the album because I have already outgrown listening to her music.

  • Avatar
    Christian Scorpio
    Posted at 17:34h, 19 April Reply

    Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album was released on February 15, 2019. It has debuted at number 13, and has now sold 45,000 copies over here in the United States. I didn’t buy the album because I have already outgrown listening to her music.

  • Avatar
    Megan Alderman
    Posted at 05:27h, 23 April Reply

    I have been listening to Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album on YouTube and I didn’t buy it because when it was released because in my personal opinion, I think that all of the songs on the album sounds so boring. I give the album 1 out of 5 stars. Avril used to be one of my most favorite female pop music artists in the industry, but not anymore because I saw a video of her on YouTube spitting at the Paparazzi when she was drunk. I threw away all of her previous albums that I bought in the trash., and I also donated all of the clothes from her, “Abbey Down” clothing line that I have worn to the Salvation Army. I can’t believe that I used to be one of her most biggest fans, and I regret spending all of my hard earned money on all of her merchandise.

  • Avatar
    Taylor Gilluly
    Posted at 03:08h, 26 April Reply

    Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album sounds like an Adult Contemporary album. She said in one of her interviews that she has to evolve musically when it comes to making this album because she has grown up, and wants the album to sound very mature compared to all of her previous albums. I didn’t buy the album because in my personal opinion, I think that it sounds so boring. It’s like eating a can of Pringles potato crips.

  • Avatar
    Patrick Cosentino
    Posted at 04:45h, 25 May Reply

    Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album sounds like an Adult Contemporary album because it has more of a piano oriented sound to it. I didn’t buy the album because in my personal opinion, I think that it is one of the worst albums of 2019. The album flopped because it debuted at number 13 and it only sold 45,000 copies over here in the United States of America on the first week that it was released. I was never a fan of her music to begin with because I don’t listen to Pop music at all.

  • Avatar
    Reagan Viator
    Posted at 16:33h, 25 May Reply

    I just got done listening to Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album earlier today on YouTube, and I’m not impressed with it at all because it sounds so boring. I’m just glad that I didn’t buy it, and I wasn’t planning on buying it anyway because I didn’t think that the album was worth buying. It sounds a lot like an Adult Contemporary album, and it has more of a piano sound to it. I used to be a huge fan of Avril’s music, but I stopped listening to her music after she released, “The Best Damn Thing” album back in 2007.

  • Avatar
    Joanne Young Tuchscherer
    Posted at 18:11h, 15 October Reply

    Avril Lavigne’s, “Head Above Water” album sounds a lot more like an adult contemporary album then it sounds like a pop/rock album because it has an adult sound to it. I didn’t buy it because I’m not a fan of Avril Lavigne or her music at all. Her music defines who she really is as a person, and it really shows what kind of a music artist she really is. I didn’t buy any of her previous albums either. The message that she is sending through her music is mostly about her having a bad hair day, and that is most likely about teenage girls whining about guys dumping them. I’m fully aware that the album had only sold 28,000 copies on the first week that it was released over here in the United States, and I don’t care that the album has flopped because it deserves to flop.

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