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  • Complicated (2002)
  • Sk8er Boi (2002)
  • I'm With You (2003)
  • Mobile (Radio Single) (2003)
  • Losing Grip (2003)
  • Don't Tell Me (2004)
  • My Happy Ending (2004)
  • Nobody's Home (2004)
  • He Wasn't (2005)
  • Fall To Pieces (Radio Single) (2005)
  • Keep Holding On (Radio Single) (2006)
  • Girlfriend (2007)
  • When You're Gone (2007)
  • Hot (2007)
  • The Best Damn Thing (2008)

The Albums:


Let Go
Arista Records, 2002

Track Listing:
1.  Losing Grip
2.  Complicated
3.  Sk8er Boi
4.  I'm With You
5.  Mobile
6.  Unwanted
7.  Tomorrow
8.  Anything But Ordinary
9.  Things I'll Never Say
10. My World
11. Nobody's Fool
12. Too Much To Ask
13. Naked


For anyone who's already screaming "Enough!" whenever Avril Lavigne's supernaturally catchy single "Complicated" comes on the radio, the news is all bad. Let Go, the debut album from Ontario's tiny terror, comes fully loaded with another dozen infectious hymns of Total Request angst. Although it's the only track with a definable style other than "pop rock," "Sk8er Boi" is seventeen-year-old Lavigne's signature moment. Over a rush of nouveau-punk guitar chords, she narrates a funny story line (preppy ho disses young scofflaw, who then becomes MTV star and -- psych! -- Avril's boyfriend!), but none of it would matter if Lavigne didn't have a voice, equal parts baby girl and husky siren, that seems capable of setting off car alarms several city blocks away. "Mobile" should be her next completely inescapable hit: As Lavigne wails over crashing waves of acoustic and electric guitars, her big voice occasionally turns sideways in a drawl, a casual hint that she may actually be, of all things, a fine country singer in the making. Truth be told, Lavigne has a great voice, a good shtick and a qualified staff of hitmakers. We should all just learn to get along with her, because she's gonna be with us for a little while. - Pat Blashill


Under My Skin
Arista Records, 2004

Track Listing:
1.  Take Me Away
2.  Together
3.  Don't Tell Me
4.  He Wasn't
5.  How Does It Feel
6.  My Happy Ending
7.  Nobody's Home
8.  Forgotten
9.  Who Knows
10. Fall To Pieces
11. Freak Out
12. Slipped Away


Avril Lavigne conquered the pop charts by refusing to get dirty. No skimpy clothes, no suggestive dancing, no tabloid adventures, no hip-hop collaborations, no provocative lyrics. She was both more defiant and more clean-cut than her peers: Her just-say-no message intrigued millions of kids while reassuring their parents.

But Avril Lavigne might also be the most inscrutable teen-pop star of all time. For the past couple of years, her army of Avrilites has been staring at her, eagerly and hungrily, and she has stared right back, betraying nothing. Even now, after the years-long media blitz that followed the extravagant success of her debut, Let Go, Lavigne still seems somehow unsullied by it all: a nineteen-year-old blank slate.

That blankness is what makes her best songs so irresistible. Whether it's a fit of faux punk or a maudlin ballad, she sings it all absolutely straight: You can hear whatever you want to hear. Her music is maddeningly (and admirably) difficult to categorize: The hit "I'm With You" had an almost imperceptible country twang, a vaguely new-metal melody and a chorus that wouldn't be out of place on American Idol, though none of the contestants would have had the good sense to sing it so plainly.

For her new album, Under My Skin, Lavigne split with Matrix, the team that wrote much of Let Go. Working with an unlikely crew of songwriters -- her guitarist Evan Taubenfeld and the Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk -- she put together an album that's both more satisfying and more formulaic. Lavigne doesn't incorporate any new ideas on Skin; instead, she shines up her old ones, often multitracking her voice to make sure you don't miss the mile-wide choruses. The lead single, "Don't Tell Me," might be her most Avril-ish song yet, a petulant kiss-off to a horny boy. As the guitars get revved up behind her, she asks, "Did I not tell you that I'm not like that girl/The one who gives it all away, yeah/Did you think that I was going to give it up to you?" The syntax may be tortured, but the singer sounds just fine: a righteous prude, confidently fending off the creeps.

There's nothing here like "Nobody's Fool," the anomalous hip-hop experiment from Let Go. What hasn't changed is her meticulous delivery: She pronounces every syllable individually, avoiding the slurred consonants and distended vowels that singers often use to convince us that their lyrics mean something. All Lavigne delivers is the words and the tune, and it's often enough.

Some of the ballads are a bit vague, and Lavigne's deadpan approach doesn't help. In "How Does It Feel," she asks, over and over again, "How does it feel to be/Different from me?" You get the feeling she doesn't much care about the answer. Still, no one conjures up bored teenage blankness like Avril Lavigne. The album's best song, a raucous three-minute sprint called "He Wasn't," has a pretty vacant opening line ("There's not much going on today/I'm really bored") and a simple yet ambiguous chorus: "He wouldn't even open up the door/He never made me feel like I was special." The words are full of contempt and self-pity, but she sings them like she doesn't really care. - Kelefa Sanneh


The Best Damn Thing
RCA Records, 2007
Track Listing:
1.  Girlfriend
2.  I Can Do Better
3.  Runaway
4.  The Best Damn Thing
5.  When You're Gone
6.  Everything Back But You
7.  Hot
8.  Innocence
9.  I Don't Have To Try
10. One Of Those Girls
11. Contagious
12. Keep Holding On

You probably already know "Girlfriend," Avril Lavigne's hypercatchy, giant-sounding "Hey Mickey" tribute. Guess what? The rest of her third album does not venture into death metal, industrial house or gypsy swing. Like most everything she's done, The Best Damn Thing is big, big, big, with teen punk and ballads getting shots of pop steroids -- as well as big doses of her usual sass, anger and vulnerability. There are few surprises here, but The Best Damn Thing is totally fearless about targeting pop radio and rather expert in its execution. Most of the slow songs sag, but "Girlfriend," the smitten "Contagious" and a handful of other uptempos are monster pleasures. Lavigne probably can't get away with this sound for another record, but enjoy the sugar rush while it lasts. - Christian Hoard