Avril Lavigne sold a lot of records with her debut album, Let Go, and it caught more than a bit of attention from hordes of high school teens. With made-for-radio pop “punk,” Lavigne stood insistently on the steps of rock legitimacy and claimed she belonged. But her latest album, Under My Skin, is enough to have security escort her off of the premises.

Influenced strongly by the angry vocals of the early/mid-’90s rock sound, Lavigne does her best to imitate the once-brash Alanis Morisette. While her vocals resonate this dimension of Morisette’s schtick, Lavigne continues to fall short of true emotional depth. The album’s various tracks all feature choruses with convenient, undesirable hooks. The lyrics speak for themselves: “This is where I start to bite my nails / And clean my room when all else fails / I think it’s time for me to bail / This point of view is getting stale.” Lavigne ‘s ninth-grade poetry teacher must be proud as hell.

Lavigne doesn’t even try to deserve recognition for a new effort; angry “sing-alongs” like “Don’t Tell Me” are clichZ and contain a forced angst that only solicits cringes. “Don’t Tell Me” is, in fact, a perfect example in the fact it is the album’s lead single and demonstrates the “pure innocent voice” which is transformed to rage when the electric guitar kicks in. Just like every other Lavigne song.

The utter similarity of the album’s range of themes to Morisette’s breakthrough, Jagged Little Pill, is completely disappointing. While listeners who are unfamiliar to Lavigne’s female predecessors may find this to be new, interesting and possibly even listenable, anyone over the age of eighteen should be able to see this newest release as a simple rehash of the formulas that launched some of rock’s most prominent female vocalists. Just as brash vocals with harsh undertones skyrocketed some careers, Lavigne’s attempt seems to only bring to light how contrived and forced her work is. Perhaps Under My Skin is Lavigne’s tribute album to Morisette’s impressive contribution to music. Or, most likely, Lavigne still hasn’t found an ounce of originality.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.