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  • Writer's pictureSophie Harkness

Avril Lavigne - Head Above Water Album Review


Hellooo! ​Avril Lavigne's new album has been a long time coming and it was finally released on Friday! Head Above Water is Avril Lavigne's first album since 2013 and I have been looking forward to it for SO long! I loved the album artwork for it and couldn't wait to listen to it! My first impressions of the album after the first listen through was that it was very different to her previous music (though some songs can be compared to her album Goodbye Lullaby) and I didn't really feel like any songs stood out aside from Dumb Blonde, which I'll get onto later! However, after a few more listens the whole album has grown on me and I think it sounds like a grown up Avril Lavigne and suits where she is in her life now!

Head Above Water opens the album and was the first single to be released from the album and I LOVE it! It's such a strong, powerful song that was written when Avril Lavigne was in an awful place with Lyme Disease and you can hear the struggle through the lyrics and the emotion in her vocals. The instrumentation gives the song so much power and I love how the song builds and particularly leading up to the first chorus. It was the perfect song for her big comeback and I love the production behind the song, the music video and everything about it! Birdie and I Fell In Love with the Devil were tracks 2 and 3 on the album and they've both grown on me while listening to Head Above Water. I love the deep harmonies behind the lead vocal line on both tracks and the power in Avril's vocals in the Birdie chorus. Tell Me It's Over was the second single to be released from the album and I loved the vintage feel to it along with the powerful chorus and Avril's amazing vocals!

Track number 5 and the third single to be released from the album was Dumb Blonde which might be one of my favourites on the album! It's without a doubt a throwback to The Best Damn Thing era Avril Lavigne and I love it! It's full of attitude and makes you want to go and prove everyone wrong! The physical album version is Just Avril however, the single version features a verse from Nicki Minaj before the final chorus. I love both versions of Dumb Blonde but I think I might be leaning slightly towards the album version. My only problem with the song is that it stands out on the album as it's completely different to every other song on it. Because of this, I think the album could've done with a couple of songs to help Dumb Blonde fit in but I still love it anyway!

It Was In Me tells the story of post-breakup soul searching which initially, is a massive difference to the Dumb Blonde but I think the transition suits the story of the album well. I also really liked the middle eight along with the arrangement and instrumentation of the song. Track number 7 on the album was Souvenir which is fast becoming one of my favourites from the album! The song opens with 'yeah's which take you back to Avril's earlier single I'm With You which I love! I love the arrangement of the song and the power in the chorus and middle eight. My only problem is the processing and editing on the vocals in the chorus. The vocals seem to get drowned out by the backing instruments and you can hear edits on the vocal line which is a real shame! However, once I got past the dodgy vocal production, I grew to LOVE the song and it's definitely a favourite of mine!

Crush was the next song on Head Above Water and has a similar feel to Tell Me It's Over and I love that Avril chose to go for a softer approach on the chorus in this song. The next track on the album was Goddess which I liked but felt that it could have built more towards the end of the song as it remains in an acoustic arrangement from start to finish. However, I like that the backing vocals add more texture towards the end of the song and it's definitely a happier version of Avril than earlier songs on the album. Track number 10 on the album was Bigger Wow which is catchy and has grown on me since I first listened to it! Also, the strings in the background remind me of Against The Current's Another You (Another Way) which is a little throwback for me! Love Me Insane brings back the 'Yeah's from I'm With You and I like the style of the song.

Warrior closes the album and reminds me a lot of Head Above Water which is certainly not a bad thing! It suits its slot as the last song on the album and is almost like the next chapter following on from track 1 on the album as Head Above Water shows the struggle Avril Lavigne was in and Warrior shows a stronger version of the singer, ready to take on the world.

Overall, the whole album showcases Avril Lavigne's vocal range and flexibility and I love it! Avril is such an amazing singer and this album definitely does her voice justice and shows just what she is capable of! Although it's a more grown up Avril, there are many songs that link back to previous albums which I like along with new styles such as the vintage feel of Tell Me It's Over and Crush. Lyrically, the album tells the story of leaving an awful relationship before moving on and finding someone new. I like that the album includes the good and bad sides of relationships in creative ways and it feels like a more intimate album than previous releases from Avril. Head Above Water and Warrior open and close the album, showing the personal journey she went on from beginning to end. My current favourites are Dumb Blonde, Souvenir and Warrior however, others are growing on me so I'm sure I'll have some more soon!

Thanks for reading!

Sophie

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