Showing posts with label avril lavigne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label avril lavigne. Show all posts

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 6, 2018 (VIDEO)

So this came together pretty damn quick... nice stuff.

Next up... you know, this Logic album is so damn long, I need to knock out an episode of the Trailing Edge soon, so we'll see what comes first!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 6, 2018

Okay yes, I'm very relieved it's a cooldown week... but look, in the era of the album bomb and with Logic and Lil Wayne set to do stupid numbers for next week, it's really not that much consolation that I get a breather here, especially if it comes at the expense of any analysis or predictions beyond 'well, Lil Wayne has a shot for a few top 10 debuts and maybe a shot at #1'.

Monday, February 19, 2018

the top ten best hit songs of 2004 (VIDEO)

Well, this was long in coming... and overall, a pretty solid list. Not sure it's my wittiest list, but for those of you who remember the era, I think it works.

Next up, Black Panther and Wade Bowen, so stay tuned!

the top ten best hit songs of 2004

So this is the third big top ten outside of the current year that I've put together, and I think it's conducive to describe how this year differed in trends and sounds in comparison with those I discussed before. 2010 was at the height of club boom overexposure, and everything that charted, good or bad, was either informed by it and painfully dated, or ignoring it and sliding rapidly towards novelty. 1967... well, that was a year heralded by many as overstuffed with classic songs, but you could make a credible argument it was an 'off' year for many established greats, more transitional than anything else.

2004, meanwhile, has some elements of both. On the one hand, the charts were very much in the throes of the crunk explosion, but by proxy it was heralding hip-hop's utter dominance of the Hot 100. Yes, in 2004 indie rock was blowing up like you wouldn't see again for nearly a decade - most of which would hit the charts a year later - but 2004 hit the sweet spot where the kinks of southern hip-hop were getting ironed out and allowing for more diversity beyond New York and L.A.. And that was only a good thing, as 2004 was a huge breakthrough year for a number of acts that are now touted today with a ton of critical acclaim, either for landmark debuts or critical highpoints they'd seldom if ever reach again. And when you tack on the fact that pop rock was beginning its own rise, country hadn't started sliding to vapidity, and R&B was holding its own. The only genre that seriously suffered was mainstream pop, but that's more because hip-hop crossovers were doing it so much better, and when you consider that it really didn't have the stark lowpoints of, say, 2007, you can make a very credible argument that 2004 was one of the best years of the 2000s, at least for the Hot 100. And I can't even really say it was colored hugely by my nostalgia - yeah, I know and like a ton of this Hot 100, but it's hard to deny in a year flush with the debuts of Kanye West and Maroon 5, Usher's best album, Alicia Keys' best album, plus high points for Avril Lavigne and OutKast that we got something really special in 2004. And if you think that spoiled a lot of my list... well, maybe a bit, but you haven't seen nothing yet, so let's get this started!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

video review: 'avril lavigne' by avril lavigne

Ah, that video turned out nicely -

Okay, fine, I'll delay the Celine Dion review to cover The Marshall Mathers LP 2, are you happy now? Goddamnit, kids these days...

album review: 'avril lavigne' by avril lavigne

Okay, time for another confession: I used to be a huge fan of Avril Lavigne.

I'm serious. Her first album Let Go in 2002 is a great album and one that I really enjoy. In the past, I've made the comparison of my enjoyment of Avril Lavigne with everyone else's enjoyment of Taylor Swift: it's shallow music with some real songwriting talent behind it on occasion, but even when it's not, it can still kind of work for you. It definitely helped matters that Avril Lavigne had one big strength in her favour when it came to be a pop rock singer: she actually could convey more than one emotion. Sure, she could be bratty and obnoxious, but she also was expressive and could sound lovestruck or vulnerable or desperate and that gave her a ton of humanity that made her preferable to some real 'riot grrls'. And like with Taylor Swift, you could buy into the fact that her songs were written by someone her age. Was she ever the kind of feminist icon or a girl with a real punk edge? Well, no, but she wasn't trying to be.

But then again, I wasn't surprised when she went in a darker direction with 2004's Under My Skin. It was darker, it was rougher, it was angrier... and it wasn't as good. Don't get me wrong, I still really like the album and 'My Happy Ending' and 'Complicated' are better songs than they have any right to be, but objectively it's not great. What it led to was a change in label and...

Yeah, here's where the Avril Lavigne story takes a controversial turn because, well, she sold out. Now calm down, selling out isn't always a bad thing - you can still make good music after selling out and The Best Damn Thing had a few great songs on it. However, like with Taylor Swift's Red from earlier last year, there was a distinctive loss of personality and a definite shift towards the mainstream that didn't always favour her best elements. In particular, it was a distinctly less 'mature' album, as you could tell Avril was trying to play to a teen pop-punk audience who was, well, my age. But even at seventeen, I soured on 'Girlfriend' almost immediately because it cranked up the bratty obnoxiousness to eleven and had nothing in the instrumentation or lyrics to back it up.

And really, those problems extended to her next album Goodbye Lullaby, and despite the fact that Avril wrote the majority of the material on that album, it definitely had a shift in focus to sullen, increasingly bland relationship songs that were a pale reflection of the material that she had done before. Avril herself admitted that it was more difficult to write these sorts of introspective songs, and considering most were directed at her ex-husband, I can kind of understand why. Regardless of that, it was also her weakest album and a sign that perhaps Avril Lavigne was running out of ideas.

But now she's back this year with Chad Kroeger as a husband (ugh) and a self-titled album (five into her career... sigh). Could she recapture some of that spark she had from her early days?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

album review: 'red' by taylor swift

Dear Taylor Swift,

You know, I thought about writing this review in other ways, but I quickly realized that I’d lose some of the essence of what I’m trying to say if I don’t make this as approachable as possible. Plus, I want to prevent this from devolving into a rant, so a letter is probably the only way this sort of thing can work.

So let’s deal with introductions. I’m Silens Cursor, a semi-professional music critic and – pay attention, this is important – a former fan of yours. Yes, I liked your music. Your first two albums are pretty damn good pop-country, and you earned a lot of kudos from me by actually having a significant hand in writing your own material. It lent a certain ‘realness’ to your lyrics and simple style that was surprisingly appealing. Granted, I’m fairly certain lurking inside me is the spirit of a teenage girl who listens to Avril Lavigne and Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy and the Backstreet Boys and, well, you and who appreciates all these acts completely without irony. I get that some of your appeal was the ‘cuteness’ of it all, for lack of a better term (I’ll come back to this), but I genuinely think you have some well-written material that has some widespread appeal outside of the target demographic.

And then something happened. I’m not sure where, but I’m fairly certain it started with Speak Now, the first album of yours of which I wasn’t really much of a fan. Don’t get me wrong, I liked ‘Back To December’ a lot, but it was here I was beginning to observe a dichotomy I think it’s important to discuss, because it’s an interesting phenomenon I saw both in your music and that of Avril Lavigne, an artist you really have a lot in common with. I guess that also makes this letter something of a warning, because I don’t want to see you go the way she did, and a lot of the major symptoms are starting to crop up.

You see, Avril Lavigne came from the world of pop-punk with Let Go and Under My Skin, two albums I still hold are pretty damn excellent for an early 2000s female act. She had a certain bratty authenticity in her delivery that didn’t drain her of the very real fragility she could display on her ballads. There’s a reason why ‘I’m With You’ is the best song Avril Lavigne ever wrote – it played to all of her strengths, and really turned her into a captivating performer. You know, sort of like with you and ‘Teardrops On My Guitar’ (for the record, ‘I’m With You’ is better – sorry).

But here’s the dichotomy – you both were treading a very fine line between mainstream pop success and artistic authenticity. I’ll grant that Avril had it easier – she was working with a pop climate that was marginally more mature and ‘real’ in 2002 than yours was in 2008. But make no mistake, your careers have charted similar paths, and it’s an unnerving thing to know that it’s only a matter of time before you hit the tipping point.

You see, it’s a terrible thing, but there tends to be a shelf life for artists who work to preserve ‘authenticity’. That’s why you hear about acts ‘selling out’ – the point where artistic integrity is cast aside in order to produce trend-riding material that might sell well, but lacks a certain individual flavor. And given the alarming trend of acts selling out in the past few years – Maroon 5, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, I could go on – I knew it was just a matter of time before everyone’s favourite country princess might be coerced over to that dynamic. It wasn’t a matter of ‘if’, it was ‘when’. Sorry about the cynicism, but in this day and age, particularly when it comes to pop music, it only makes sense.

Now, I’ll admit that branding an act a ‘sell-out’ is a very serious charge, and not one I would level without very good reason. And it’s also particularly hard with acts that rely on certain definitive qualities that are central to their artistic integrity. You know, how with Pink it was her vindictive, painfully raw feminism, and with Avril Lavigne it was her bratty, shockingly sincere adolescence, and with Maroon 5… well, they always wrote the soundtracks of douchebags, but there was a distinctive loss of personality in their material.

But outside of isolated incidents (the autotune and Wiz Khalifa’s presence on ‘Payphone’), it can be a bit tricky to find the precise elements to truthfully brand an act a sell-out. To me, there are two main elements I can pinpoint: a shift in instrumentation, or a shift in subject matter. And while some elements remain consistent between Red and Speak Now, there are a few things that I can spot that make this album much less tolerable.