Review: Avril Lavigne – Smile

‘It’s been a while.’ Yes, following a four year absence, Canada’s pop sensation has finally returned. But has she returned with a bang? It’s fair to say that this feisty punk rocker doesn’t seem to have made a colossal impact in 2011 despite her fourth album Goodbye Lullaby crawling into the top ten. 

This second single Smile from her latest studio album follows the formula of simple, repetitive electric guitar hooks, syncopated rhythm and upbeat drums but seems to fall short on novelty and lacks the gusto, energy and catchiness that older hits such as Sk8er Boi, Complicated and Girlfriend possessed. Lyrically, this love song adheres to the realms of teenage love, ‘you said hey, what’s your name?’ A chance meeting between a boy and a girl.  ‘Since that day you stole my heart and you are the one to blame.’ ‘You are all I need,’ ‘the reason I smile.’ We’ve all been there, done that.

Avril sings, ‘you know I’m a crazy bitch, I do what I want when I feel like it.’ Being a pop-punk princess, you can indeed do what you want but can you honestly compete with the current queens of pop? With the likes of heavy weights like Rihanna and Beyoncé dominating the music charts these days, Avril hardly stands a chance.  Given the radical change in the pop scene since this Canadian debuted almost a decade ago with 2002’s Let Go, it’s about time she stepped up a gear, reinvented herself, experimented and showed us that she isn’t just a one trick pony and is able to push the boundaries of teenage punk rock. Otherwise, her days of chart domination will surely remain in the past.

Sadly, this new release is mediocre in terms of creativity, lacking freshness and substance. The hordes of teens that followed Lavigne over the years have since grown up and moved on, so no tears please Avril.