Avril Lavigne returns to music with ‘Head Above Water’


On Feb. 15, Avril Lavigne released her new album, “Head Above Water,” her first studio album since 2013. She took a hiatus from music after being diagnosed with Lyme disease. It took so much out of her that she feared she might die, and thus she took a well-deserved break from the music world.

It’s hard to talk about Avril Lavigne without also talking about “Avril Lavigne.” According to the internet, Lavigne was replaced with a clone named Melissa sometime in the 2000s, but the actual year varies wildly depending on which website you read. The pool of “evidence” contains facial feature comparisons and lyric analyses, where fans claim that Lavigne (or Melissa?) left hints in a variety of songs that explain what happened.

The main pieces of “proof” repeatedly cited are the differences in Lavigne’s nose over the years and lyrics from the song “Slipped Away.” The lyrics read “The day you slipped away / Was the day I found it won’t be the same” and “It wasn’t fake / It happened, you passed by / Now you are gone, now you are gone.”

Is it a nose job and a breakup song, or a full-on clone theory? Who knows. But the conspiracy dates back to 2005. Essentially, fans believe that Lavigne struggled to deal with fame at the beginning of her career and hired a body double to stand in for her. At some point, though, fans believed Lavigne died and Melissa was forced to permanently take over as Lavigne.

But, whether it be Lavigne or some kind of clone of her, she has finally returned to the music world with a new album.

“Head Above Water” takes a step back from the typical punky vibes Lavigne usually writes in. It’s a lot more pop-like, which seems to be a running theme with a lot of the punk and emo artists releasing albums this year. I’m getting some Christina Perri vibes from this album, especially from “Goddess,” “I Fell In Love With The Devil” and “It Was In Me.”

“Dumb Blonde” features Nicki Minaj and harkens back to a lot of Lavigne’s older work. It’s fast-paced and fun, and its high vocals remind me vaguely of Lipps Inc’s “Funkytown.” It’s definitely reminiscent of a lot of 2000s music.

“Bigger Wow” is a very pop-esque song and sounds like what you’d expect to be a hit summer single. With the snapping in the background, the occasional violin and the “Na Na Na”s that move the song along, it’s pretty much an expertly created pop song. Listening to it, you can imagine blasting the song on the radio while driving around with your friends late at night, the windows down and not a care in the world.

My favorite song on the album is “Warrior.” It’s the classic, uplifting, self-inspiring song that ends out a lot of albums nowadays.

“No, I’m not afraid to do whatever it takes / I’ll never bow, I’ll never break,” the lyrics read. “Cause I’m a warrior / I fight for my life like a soldier / All through the night / And I won’t give up, I will survive.”

Lavigne has mentioned on Twitter that the song is about her ongoing battle for her health, which makes it that much deeper and important. It’s one of those songs that you just need to play on repeat when you’re having a rough day and need to be reminded that you’re important and can get through whatever struggles you’re facing.

All and all, “Head Above Water” is a slower-paced album that deals with a lot of heavier subjects regarding the last few years of Lavigne’s lives.

It’s a good album, but some of the slower songs get a little repetitive. I’m incredibly proud of Lavigne and everything she has survived, but I’m a bit disappointed by the album. There weren’t any songs I was particularly blown away by. I was hoping for some new upbeat punky tracks, but I didn’t really get any. Not to mention, the lyrics were a bit shaky at times, with lines like “The more I am a hot mess / The more he goes bananas” (With “bananas” pronounced like “Buh-nah-nahs”).

It’s an alright album, but it’s nothing to go out of your way to listen to unless you’re looking for some new, slow love songs.

Rating: 2/5

Courtney Gavitt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at courtney.gavitt@uconn.edu.

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