REVIEW: Avril Lavigne – Under My Skin (2004 w/ bonus track)

Yesterday, you read all about why I own this (and many others).  Will I still like it today?  Let’s find out.

AVRIL LAVIGNE – Under My Skin (2004 Arista)

Let’s get on with it.  The version of Under My Skin that I have comprises 13 songs, so let’s put the headphones on.   “Take Me Away” opens strongly with sparse, polished guitars and keyboards.  It sounds like Evanescence, actually.  It was written by Avril and her guitarist Evan Taubenfeld.  At this point, Avril wasn’t singing with any annoying contrivances in her voice.  She was just blasting away (most likely in autotune).  Given that this song is very produced and plasticized, it’s still a good song.  So far we’re 1/1.

AVRIL_0004“Together” is a bit too melodramatic for Mike 2014, but damn, I still love that fucking chorus. I’m singing along with my fist in the air.  Shit!  2/2.

One of several hit singles was the ballady “Don’t Tell Me”.  This one makes me want to vomit in my mouth a little bit.  I’m uncomfortable with this kind of teenybop rock now.  But that fucking chorus hits and…ahh fuck!  Still, the chorus can’t save the song, it’s shite.  2/3.

Avril returns to her so-called punk roots with “He Wasn’t”.  Phil X on guitar here, but he doesn’t get to solo (a damn shame).  As much as I want to hate the song, I can’t.  It seems pretty sincere, and it ain’t bad.  It’s snarky but not annoyingly so.  3/4 now.  “How Does It Feel” is a ballad, not a bad one either.  The instrumental production on this one (by Raine Maida) is excellent, although the vocals still sound autotuned.  Phil X again on guitar.  The score is now 4/5.

I’m a total sucker for the single “My Happy Ending”.  Butch Walker wrote a pretty cool song, and the chorus is one of those Avril bellows that she is known for.  The lyrics, like most of ’em, are about some dude.  I can’t really sing along to “He was everything, everything that I wanted,” sincerely, you know?  Still, the score is now 5/6.  And it’s going to go up to 6/7, because I remember liking the song “Nobody’s Home” a lot.  I’m not sure what the lyrics are exactly about, but Avril sounds like she’s trying to get serious, so that’s better than words about some dude.  Ben Moody from Evanescence itself co-wrote this one, so you can guess who it naturally reminds me of.  Still, I’ll maintain that 6/7 because the chorus is still great.

“Forgotten” starts out crap.  You sure can tell this one was written by Chantal Kreviazuk as that is who it sounds like.  The track doesn’t improve on the chorus.  Pass.  The board reads 6/8.   A good song called “Who Knows” is up next, and even though it wasn’t one of the single, I think it’s one of the best songs.  This one kind of sounds like a pop metal anthem, you could imagine a band like Warrant having a song like this.  It has mellow acoustic verses with a shout-y fun singalong chorus.  7/9 now!  “Fall To Pieces”, written with Raine Maida sounds like an Our Lady Peace outtake.    A pretty good outtake, with a great bridge.  Good enough for 8/10.

I have always liked “Freak Out”.  It’s just fun.  This one too sounds like a Raine Maida construction, but it is not.  It’s written by Butch Walker and Avril’s drummer Matt Brann.  It’s easier to listen to than most Our Lady Pea(ee-yai-ee-aye-ee)ce, so the score is now 9/11.  As my buddy Craig might say, it’s looking like it’s time to hand in my Man Card.

Maybe not!  “Slipped Away” is utter shite that I cannot listen to.  It sounds like Chantal…guess who wrote it?  The chorus is not too bad, but this song is crap.  Can’t take it.  If I could deduct 2 points, I would.  9/12.  It’s down to the “bonus track” now.  “I Always Get What I Want” originally came from a UK edition, but I bought this CD from my nearest Walmart.  There’s something on the fine print about Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd, so maybe that’s something to do with it.  “I Always Get What I Want” is another “punky” Avril, but like “Slipped Away”, it too is crap.  Sounds like Avril’s trying to be her heroes, Green Day.  No thank you.

The final score for Avril Lavigne’s Under My Skin is 9/13.  Did I like it as much now as I did in 2004?  Not quite.  It might have been that I liked a couple more of those sappy songs.  However, I’ve already said far too much here.  I’m going to cut my losses and get out now.

3.5/5 stars

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19 comments

  1. I love the idea behind these two posts. I can’t say I was ever a fan of Avril but I didn’t hate a lot of her early work. Of course, she finally fully gave into her pop instincts in the end.

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  2. Interesting about Don’t Tell Me – at the time I thought that was a step forward for her (teen ballad yes but at least putting the ‘bratty’ character aside). Then when ‘hey-hey-you-you girlfriend’ came out a few years later, it felt like she was pulling a weezer and starting to age in reverse!
    I don’t recognize a lot of these track names but I bet I know most of the songs if I heard them.

    Nice start to the post-RST series!

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    1. Geoff, well put on that Weezer comment. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but you’re dead on. Although comparing her to Weezer’s better moments might be a bit generous.

      But I do agree, I hated that song. Like I said I played the album — ONCE.

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  3. I’d love to see a video review of you singing along and pumping your fist in the air. Actually, I’d pay for that!
    I have a really difficult time identifying autotune. I did think about using it on the Bastard Friendly EP because our producer let us hear how it sounded and it was awful. I really like the idea of using autotune to make a vocal track sound hideous. I think that’s more of a punk idea than Avril ever had.

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    1. Don’t feel obligated to by any means :)

      I dunno man, this could be what they call “nostalgia”. I think there are some good tunes here still today, and nostalgia may be the only explanation. Who knows!

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  4. Oh god, Avril! She was the shit when I was a lot younger and full of angst, and then I grew up to realize her music was kind of lame. But to make matters even worse, she divorced the lead singer of Sum 41 for Chad Kroeger. The dude from Nickleback! What the hell!

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  5. I really like Butch Walker – the stuff he brought out under his own name has always had some great tracks dotted here and there ‘bethamphetamine’ and ‘Summer of 89’ anyone?

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    1. I remember Butch from his hair-metal days in Southgang. And then I bought the album from the band that evolved out of them, called Marvelous3. They had a great little pop rock tune called Freak of the Week.

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